Sensory play is exactly what it sounds like, play that stimulates the senses. It sounds so simple, right? Well, in many ways it is. Each and every day, our senses are stimulated. We may or may not take note of it, however.
The smell of a blossom on a tree tintilates our nose. We may think, to ourselves or out loud, “Wow! That smells amazing!” But do we question why it smells so good or what purpose the blossom holds in the bigger picture?
Or, perhaps, we are singing along to our favorite song as we cruise down the road. Did you ever stop and really listen? What is it about the song that speaks to us? What is it that we love? Whether we consider it or not, there are key pieces in the makeup of the song that get our attention and draw us to it.
As adults, we do not always take the time to consider what our senses are telling us. As a matter of fact, our senses are oftentimes taken for granted.
In young children, however, senses and the exploration of those senses are an integral part of their development. Afterall, senses are how children learn and grow. They touch, smell, hear, and taste everything. As infants and toddlers, children are developing both their fine (small tactile motions, such as picking up small objects, holding a pencil, or tying their shoes) and gross motor skills (larger motions, such as walking, jumping, and waving).
When sensory play is intentional, it focuses on specific skills and gives children the opportunity to explore in new and different ways. It also supports their language development and self-regulation (“the calming effect”). Recently, there has been a big push for sensory work/play with students who struggle to process all the stimuli the world brings to them, such as children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). However, all children, and dare I say adults, benefit from sensory play.
Whimsical Wonderings offers sensory play in hour-long sessions, although much of our curriculum (including our Homeschool Enrichment Thematic Program and our Creative Open Play Sessions) integrates all manner of sensory activities.
During each session, you will find a number of centers that provide various activities for your child to explore. Centers will change at each session, with activities engaging all of the senses, as well as language, writing, gross and fine motor skills, creativity, and more. Sensory Play Sessions are specifically developed with 3-5 year olds, as well as children who have problems with sensory integration, in mind. However, we invite parents of younger children to accompany your child through the centers and activities.