Sensory Play is a term define an activity or play experience that stimulates one or more of a child's senses; sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste. Common sensory play activities include play dough, rainbow rice/pasta/beans, finger painting and sand. It's often messy, and most children love it!
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Maria Montessori (an Early Childhood guru), believed that children learn best through their five senses. Early Childhood professionals advocate the fact that all children learn differently and this is where sensory play can be a powerful learning tool. If your child is a tactile learner, then sensory activities that involve touch and messy play will be beneficial for them. If your child is musically minded then activities that involve sound and the auditory sense will appeal to them. I believe when an activity is labelled as Sensory Play it should engage as many of the senses as possible! For example add a fragrance to your playdough or rainbow rice, make edible finger paint, make discovery bottles that are a delight to both the eyes and ears...
Sensory play is often targeted at the early years, but this post is full of inspiration from around the web for ways to make it cool for bigger kids. First and foremost involve them in the process, buying the ingredients/materials, reading/writing the recipe and making it themselves. Here's just a few activities that came to my mind...
- Water beads
- Make your own glow in the dark slime/flubber (check out some recipes below)
- Make 3D shapes using kinetic sand
- Create beautiful mandalas
- Explore loose parts and tinker trays
- Use oil/water/food colouring in discovery bottles (try the super cool glass Voss bottles because with older kids, you don't need to worry about them breaking)
Now to the awesome list of ideas thanks to the Kid Blogger Network!
- Kids will have fun practising their sight words and spelling words in this Desert Sand Writing Tray from Learn with Play at Home. Debs also shared these cool Paintcicles and a Rainbow Soap Slime recipe.
- Check out Best Toys for Toddlers for Lights & Reflections Sensory Play and a Jelly Brain Sensory Bin.
- Little Bins for Little Hands made great Ocean Summer Slime as well as a Homemade Sand Slime.
- I love these PVA Suncatchers and DIY Sensory Bottles both from Learning and Exploring through Play. PLUS a Giant Bubble Recipe and Frozen Oobleck play ideas.
- Adventures of Adam explains how to make Fybogel Googly Eye Slime and Glow in the Dark Spaghetti.
- The Creative Pair shared these three fantastic ideas; Archaeologist for the Day, Digging Dinosaur Activity + my favourite Emoji Stress Balls.
- Have a look at Go Science Girls for these edible Glowing Ice Cubes.
- Finally Danya Banya has a brilliant recipe for Glowing Slime.
Thank you to the Brilliant bloggers who have contributed to this list. I absolutely LOVE sensory play and I hope that this post encourages parents of older kids (and teachers) to use it in the home or classroom.