What exactly is sensory play and why are occupational therapists always encouraging it? Sensory play is a way in which children explore the world through their senses. This can include activities that stimulate their sense of taste, touch, sight, smell, and hearing, as well as thier sense of movement and body awareness. Sensory play is a vital part of neurodevelopment and the integration of the sensory systems. When a child is able to freely play and experience the environment hands-on, they learn to problem solve as they gain an understanding of cause and effect. Sensory-based activities enable kids to further their curiosity while they naturally take on the role of a young scientist.
The ways children can engage in sensory play are endless. It can be messy or it can be clean. It can involve interesting textures and colors or it can involve day-to-day materials. Here are a few ideas that will sure peak the interest of any child:
-Hiding and finding objects inside a rice or bean bin
-Scooping sensory water beads with a spoon
-Drawing or writing in shaving cream
-Filling a large plastic container with water and floating objects to make a water table
-Creating an indoor walking path using materials of different textures (bubble wrap, contact paper, nonslip grip mat, etc.)
-Making a sensory “lava lamp” by filling a plastic bottle with water, oil, glitter, and beads
See the examples below for more sensory play ideas.
However you use the activities in this blog, I hope it brings you some comfort to know you are not alone. We are all in our separate corners of the community, living similar struggles right now. When we can share resources, even virtually, we can stay connected and support each other through this tough time.
Please email us at [email protected] to learn more about individual sessions for yourself, as parents struggling to re-invent the daily life of our family in your many roles OR to inquire about 1:1 virtual OT or SLP visits for your child, typically covered by your health plan at no cost to you. Find us on Facebook at @BostonSensorySolutions or online at www.BostonSensorySolutions.com