Right from birth, your child is processing information through their senses – taste, touch, smell, sight, and hearing. As your child grows older, they use these senses to a greater degree and come to know and learn about the world around them. When the senses are engaged, a child learns best and creates lasting memories.
Some of these memories may fade when the child grows to be an adult, but the sensation of an experience lives on in the subconscious. This in turn determines how a person relates to the world and people.
It is therefore important that a toddler be exposed to a sensory activity that helps with physical as well as mental ability. Sensory activities also help them to grow in confidence in the ability to do things with a positive attitude.
What is a Sensory Activity?
In simple words, a sensory activity causes stimulation to the senses. It could be any activity that helps exploration and investigation while a child plays. When a child is introduced to sensory activities, they understand better how things in the world around them work, and how to relate to the same.
Sensory connections are created in the brain and a child learns to respond appropriately. For instance, when eating spaghetti, a child may find the texture wet. Sensory activity can help the child when they touch, smell and plays with different textures. Gradually, your child develops awareness of the texture, as the brain understands that the food is safe and alright to engage with.
Importance of Sensory Activities
Are you wondering what the importance of sensory activities is for toddlers? Research shows that sensory play helps to develop nerve connections in the different parts of the brain that deal with various activities. Sensory play helps the development of a child’s brain, which is connected to various learning skills.
As a child grows, their brain develops pathways that help them to learn, gradually gaining in complexity such as the ability to understand a language, to recognize, to control the movement of limbs, solve problems, to interact with other people, and so on.
For instance, the aromatic smell of food can take us back in time when our nostrils get stimulated with familiar smells reminding us of those fond experiences. Creating experiences for a child to explore the world through their senses using play helps to develop neuron connections creating pathways in the brain.
This helps develop a child’s competence to engage in more composite learning tasks helps further cognitive advancement, language, and motor skills, social engagement and confidence in solving problems.
Ideas on How to do Sensory Activities
To help your child to develop and grow in the best positive way, one of the easiest ways to introduce a sensory activity is by having a sensory bin. It’s easy to set up, and you will require basic items like a tub, funnel, colored rice, beans, cornmeal, or any other grainy material.
Let your little one have fun getting their fingers into the bin, experiencing the texture, colors, and sound of the items as it pours it through the funnel and let it slip through their fingers. Accessories for an activity bin could be tongs for kids, measuring cups, funnels, bottles, shredded paper (which is easily available), trains, cars and trucks, and soapy water (kids enjoy this kind of play).
Calming Down Glitter Jar
You can easily make your own Glitter Jar for your toddler at home with a few simple items. Get a bottle that is small and easy for your child to hold. Mix about a cup of hot water to glitter in a bowl, add superglue and whisk well. You can adjust the amount of glitter you need.
Add food color that matches the glitter you have used. Using a funnel, pour the mixture into the bottle or jar you have selected.
Benefits of Sensory Activities
- Sensory play helps to develop nerve connections in the pathways of the brain, helping the child to deal with more complex tasks.
- It helps build positive attitudes, shaping and impacting the choices and behavior of the child.
- The child learns attributes of the senses like hot, sticky, dry, and wet.
- Sensory play helps in calming a child who may be experiencing anxiety or frustration.
- The child’s retention power is enhanced.
- This kind of play supports the development of motor skills, problem-solving, social interaction, and cognition.
A child involved in sensory activity develops life skills that pertain to actions for pouring, holding, picking up, and so on. Your child will learn to identify the number of items, and quantity, thus learning math skills. Playing with toys allows him or her to develop imaginary vision and motor skills. A hands-on activity like touching and feeling textures enables tactile learning, and your child gradually learns self-control.
Go ahead and create a sensory activity bin for your child!