You see the hashtags on Instagram :
#sensoryplay #diysensoryplay #sensoryactivites #sensoryintegration #sensoryexperiences #sensorylearning #sensoryplayideas #sensoryprocessing #sensoryplaytime …. the list goes on and on, but what exactly is “sensory play” and why can it be beneficial to my child’s learning ?
The purpose of Sensory Play, is for your child to be able to safely explore different textures, substances, ingredients and props in which come together to create an overall awareness and stimulation of the core senses. (Look, Listen, Touch, Smell &Taste)
Everything from playdough, water/sand play, sensory bags, finger painting, interaction with animals, music, or light, and many more.
1. Sensory play builds nerve connections within the developing brain’s neural pathways, which trigger a child’s inclination for and ability in competing more complex learning tasks
2. Sensory play supports language development, cognitive growth, motor skills, problem solving skills, and social interaction
3. Sensory play aids in developing and enhancing memory functioning
4. Sensory play is great for calming an anxious or frustrated child
5. Sensory play helps children learn vitally important sensory attributes (hot, cold, sticky, dry, etc)
As an educator for over the last ten years, I’ve been able to witness first hand the benefits that sensory stimulation has on developing these other cognitive skills in children.
The best thing about implementing Sensory Play is that its extremely easy, can be effortless and very cost effective to do so.
My goal is to be able to give you ideas on how you can easily implement sensory exploration with your children of all different ages.
On todays post I’ve put together 5 different DIY Sensory Activities that you can do with your children for St. Patrick’s Day.
*** Disclaimer the supplies used in this DIY are not edible, and if digested would be poisonous. Never leave your children unattended while playing with ANY sensory activity! ***
With older children, it can be really fun and length the amount of time played with the DIY sensory items you make if they participate in making these with you!
- St. Patrick’s Day Sensory Bag
Supplies needed: (all purchased from the Dollarama)
-Hand Sanitizer ( or hair gel )
-Glitter Glue, green and gold
-St. Patty’s Day accessories, I used rainbow erasers, green coins, and cut up pieces of these necklaces.
Make sure most if not all of the air is out of the bag before sealing.
Use the duct tape to tape down all the edges of the bag, I use three layers of tape on the opening of the Ziploc, and then cut off the excess tape on the sides.
Another reason this type of sensory play is beneficial for infants is that it helps strengthen their fingers and hands, which in turn with help with their different types of grips.
After a little while of exploring the sensory bag in his highchair Amadeo was becoming a little restless. When you see these signs from your children change it up or stop the activity, they are telling you that they are finished and or bored and if you try to push it they will just become frustrated and the learning experience is no longer happening or doing what is intended. We moved to the mat to see if he still wanted to explore and taped the sides again to the ground so he couldn’t lift the bag.
The last type of exploration I had Amadeo try with the sensory bag was to take the tape off the sides and let him hold and move around bag from a different perspective.
He enjoyed this one the most!
2. St. Patrick’s themed look and find sensory bag
Supplies needed: ( most purchased from the Dollarama, the rice from Walmart)
-Dyed Rainbow Rice
-St. Patrick’s Day Accessories, I used half of the cut up ones that I used for the Sensory Bag above
The EASIEST way ever to dye rice to separate the rice into Ziploc bags, adding some paint, sealing the bag and rubbing all the paint into the rice. Then you lay it into flat pans and let dry. THATS IT! Depending on how much paint in on the rice is how long it will take to dry but if there isn’t that much it should take around 30 minutes for the paint to dry.
For infants its simply another sensory bag, with different colours, textures and weight to it. For older children when they move around the rainbow rice they will uncover and discover all the St. Patrick’s Day treasure that’s hidden in the sensory bag. You can also take this opportunity to incorporate colour recognition and different shapes and letters into the bag.
3. St. Patrick’s sensory bottle ( or calming/quiet time bottle)
Supplies Needed: ( all purchased from the Dollarama and the Dollar Tree)
-Hand Sanitizer (or hair gel)
-Foam balls or other little light weight items that would be able to move around in the bottle
You need to add 3 parts hand sanitizer, 1 part water, then all the glitter and foam pieces. Seal the plastic bottle with the lid and duct tape the lid to the bottle to help prevent any leaks.
This was a HUGE hit with Amadeo, he played with it FOREVER. He was so interested in the movement of the glitter and foam balls inside the bottle, the colour and well as the shape and light weight of the bottle made it really fun for him to move around and try to grasp and hold.
4. Rainbow Rice Sensory Bin
Supplies needed: Are all of these supplies in the 1st & 2nd sensory activity plus a bin of any size colour or shape. Instructions on how to make the Rainbow rice is listed above.
I love creating Sensory
bins with loose parts (themed parts are always so fun as well!) have so many play possibilities and your children will end up showing you on their own what the purpose of this play will be depending on their mood and imagination!
Honestly my advice for these types of sensory bin set ups is to just go for it and set them up however you please, my reasoning for the is because within less then half a second it this bin would no longer look like this picture when played with by a child, and that’s PERFECTLY not only okay, but really good for their brain development, creativity and imagination.
5. St. Patrick’s Day different textured sensory bin
This is another example about how creative you can get with your childrens sensory bin set ups. you can add different textures, shapes, colours, etc. For older children not only do I recommend they help with the set ups of these sensory bins but also shop for or pull from their toys, that you will use in the sensory bins
Next weeks Blog post will be simple St. Patrick’s Day Activities to do with your children. Main word in that SIMPLE!
Tag me in your sensory play at @mylittlelambblog, I love to see what you mamas create for your littles!