Ask most any adult of any age how it is that they learn best and they’ll most likely tell you through “hands-on experience”. It’s the need to get in there, and touch and do, that propels the learning process the most which is likely to stem from how we learned as children. Early childhood development experts refer to this hands-on learning as sensory play. When included in a preschool or daycare setting, sensory play and experience offers a variety of developmental benefits; allowing children to build upon their world experience while finding out what sticky, gooey, bumpy, dry or slippery means. The activities used in sensory play has been shown to build pathways and connections within the brain, which help increase the ability to learn and complete complex tasks throughout life. The mental and physical benefits of sensory play include:
- Cognitive development – As children manipulate differing materials during sensory play, they inherently learn concepts such as problem-solving, classifying and cause/effect. Learning what happens to dirt when you add water to it, or how to build a boat that will float encourages children to think for themselves, increasing their abilities to learn.
- Language development – Sensory play has been shown to increase a child’s use of language as they often like to talk about what it is they are experiencing. This excitement also increases their ability to work with others and to use appropriate social interactions.
- Physical development – By pouring, mixing, measuring and manipulating, children naturally increase their use of fine motor skills and eye/hand coordination as they learn how to tell their body what it is they want it to do.
- Creative development – Allowing children to use the process to create whatever it is they wanted, sensory play encourages creative development through a number of outlets.
At Foundations for Learning, we firmly believe in the beneficial attributes of sensory play, encouraging our day care students to take advantage of our extensive sensory tables. Find out more about the differing educational opportunities for any age group by taking a tour of one of our child care locations in Milldale, Glastonbury and South Windsor. We welcome the opportunity to meet you and your family.