You might be asking – what is sensory play? Well, it is toddlers’ favorite pass time – to explore the world through all their different senses: seeing, smelling, tasting, hearing, and touching! Absolutely EVERYTHING is new to them. This is why messy play is important because it is how toddlers learn through their senses. Depriving them of messy play which stimulates their senses is essentially depriving them the chance to learn and to develop. So parents should always make a conscious effort to incorporate messy play in a toddler’s play time.
That said, do not force it on your child. Always let your child explore the world at their own pace. Every child is different, and each child is drawn to different senses. Let them build up their tolerance to different textures over time, from dry and firm all the way to soft and wet. Always give them options, and never pressure them to choose a specific option.
Below are some ideas you can try with your child. Hope they bring you as much joy as it brings your child!
• Blowing bubbles
Blowing bubbles might just seem like a fun activity for your child. However blowing bubbles actually positions the tongue in the exact location the tongue needs to be in order produce sounds that can only be generated from the back of the mouth. Strengthening the tongue muscles by blowing bubbles also helps with your child’s overall oral skills!
• Going to the beach
Something as easy as bringing your child to the beach can actually be really beneficial. Bring some small toys with you and bury them in the sand. Invite your child to dig around and find them. If you don’t have small toys with you, touching and playing with the sand is good enough!
• Water play
Fill out a basin with water and add soap to it! Give your child different toys to play with in it. Apart from toys, you can also give your child sponges, spoon, fork and cups to play in the water with. The combination of bubbles and toys will develop your child’s eye-hand coordination in a fun way that your child will enjoy!
• Art and Craft
Non-toxic art and craft is super beneficial for children. Try making slime with 3 simple ingredients: cornflour, water and food colouring!
Remember to check with your doctor before engaging in any of the above activities if your child suffers from allergies. Work hard play hard! Good luck parents!