Benefits of Sensory Play and Tactile Toys
Right from the time they’re born, children use their five senses to explore and make sense of the word around them. It is an important part of early childhood development, and provides opportunities for children to actively use their senses as they explore their world through sensory play.
For children with special needs, learning through sensory exploration might be easier than traditional methods. Sometimes, the reality of a special need, like Down syndrome or autism spectrum disorder provides a few barriers. However, the need and importance of sensory play remains the same for all children.
What is Sensory Play?
Sensory play refers to any activity that stimulates the senses. There are five main senses: sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch, and two other less-known senses, vestibular (sense of balance) and proprioceptive (sense of where each body part is in relation to the rest of the body). The more the kids use these senses, the more they develop them and their ability to learn using them improves.
Importance of Sensory Play
Here’s why sensory play is very important for children with special needs.
- Helps kids learn – When a child uses senses to learn something new, he is better equipped to remember and recall that information later.
- Builds language – When kids describe a sensory play activity and how it feels as they experience it, they gain an understanding of words and that helps them develop a rich, descriptive vocabulary.
- Promotes social interaction –Children of all abilities can participate in sensory play. Those who are typically developing may be apprehensive to approach a child who looks or acts different. Sensory play can entice kids to get in close proximity to one another as a first step to interaction.
- Develops motor skills – No matter what activity the kids are doing, they are strengthening the muscles in their body that are needed for daily living activities. It helps develop their motor skills.
When talking about sensory play activities for a child with special needs, it is important to take into consideration not only what they’ll learn but also how they’ll experience it. You can proceed to promote the areas that make the most sense for each child. For instance, kids who have physical limitations may not have the control to easily follow intricate patterns, but may find success with sensory tools such as bumpy lines etc. Kids who have sensory processing issues can be tricky – some are highly sensitive to sensory stimulation, while others have low sensitivity. For those who crave more stimulation, they can use Textured Pop Beads or different types of Theraputtyto get the same.
Make sure while these kids are enjoying sensory play with tactile toys from Help Them Shine, you supervise them to keep them safe. It is also important to ensure that these toys are developmentally appropriate and avoid overstimulation. By providing opportunities to explore in different ways, you are helping children identify what they like and dislike, what calms them and what doesn’t. Use these senses to guide you in understanding your kids and help them shine.