Introducing Babies and Toddlers to Sensory Play
Sights and sounds, smells, tastes, and textures make up a lot of a little person’s world in the first few years of life. A lot of discovery happens through sensory experiences and finding creative ways to stimulate these senses only heightens this. That’s why the kindergarten teachers at Piccolini Childcare Hastings include sensory play regularly, introducing our babies and toddlers to the fascinating world of our five senses.
What is sensory play?
In early childcare settings, play that engages the senses is called sensory play. It teaches young people about hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting, and feeling. It introduces them to the physical world and the many different ways we engage and interact with it.
The sensory world is a big part of our lives and introducing the five senses to babies and toddlers is a big part of their early learning. It helps them understand the world more fully, encouraging them to explore, create and be curious.
Benefits of sensory play include:
Problem solving – freedom to explore and experiment is inherent in sensory play, letting children learn how to solve problems on their own.
Fine motor skills – from pouring water to moulding playdoh, sensory play lets children practice and perfect their physical abilities.
Communication skills – as children start to discover language, the words involved in sensory play help to build up their vocabulary.
Interpersonal skills – there’s a lot of sharing involved at our childcare centre as children gather around the sandpit, water table and art corners.
Some daycare and kindergarten favourites you can try at home
Really, any activity that engages at least one of the senses is beneficial. Borrow from some of our Hastings daycare centre’s most popular activities listed below:
• Painting – introduce them to a world of colour and interesting textures with good old-fashioned paint.
• Sensory bottles – fill a bottle with water, glitter, beads, food colouring and more. Your little one will be absorbed by the bottle and there will be no mess to worry about (just make sure to tape the top on tightly!)
• Singing and music – part of our daily lives at kindy, you can sing a childhood classic, get out some instruments or simply put on a playlist on Spotify.
• Cooking – we like to get the tamariki involved in baking and snack preparation, introducing them to a world of flavour, smells and textures.
Finding it difficult to get into sensory play at home? No problem – kindy days are filled with activities that will engage your child’s every sense. Talk to the team at Piccolini Private Kindergarten & Childcare Hastings about enrolling today.