Look. Listen. Touch. Smell. Taste. Five fundamental elements of life that we often take for granted. When we talk about the senses, most children over a certain age can list them off without problem. Any and all of these can be incorporated into sensory play. 
It's not just children who have difficulty with sensory integration who can benefit from sensory play. The truth is, all children need help learning how to use their senses. 
 
From the very first day your child is born, they are designed to explore the world via their senses. That's why as babies and toddlers they touch everything and put things in their mouths, and why your child makes funny noises with their mouths and experiments with how the world sounds with their fingers stuck in their ears. It's why your child spins in circles until they're so dizzy, they fall, then get up and do it again. 
 
Examples of Sensory Play: 
 
• Sensory play for your baby – watching bubbles float and feeling them land on their skin, or scrunching coloured paper to hear the noise, feel the texture and see the shapes change. 
 
• Sensory play for your toddler – observing light and shadows created by torch light on objects of different shapes or sizes, or watching the colours mix and the patterns form by finger painting or sponge painting (with child-safe paint). 
 
• Sensory play for your pre-schooler – creating shapes and playing with kinetic sand or playing with musical instruments and listening to the tone and pitch as they strike or blow through instruments softly or forcefully. 
 
The simplest way to help your child engage their senses is by playing outside with nature which is full of colours, movement, textures, sounds and smells, so grab your shoes and head outside! 
 
Benefits of Sensory Play: 
 
• Supports language development, cognitive growth, motor skills, problem solving skills, and social interaction in your child. 
 
• Aids in developing and enhancing memory function. 
 
• Can help calm your child when they are feeling anxious or frustrated. 
 
• Helps your child learn vitally important sensory attributes (hot, cold, sticky, dry, etc) 
The importance of sensory play cannot be denied. By encouraging the use of all of your child’s senses through play, you can support their cognitive growth, language development, gross and fine motor skills and much more! 
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