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Benefits of Sensory Play

Benefits of Sensory Play

We know that young children are oriented toward sensory experiences. From birth, children have learned about the world by touching, tasting, smelling, seeing, and hearing. Sensory play also contributes in crucial ways to brain development. Think of it as “food for the brain.” Stimulating the senses sends signals to children’s brains that help to strengthen neural pathways important for all types of learning. For example, as children explore sensory materials, they develop their sense of touch, which lays the foundation for learning other skills, such as identifying objects by touch, and using fine-motor muscles. The materials children work with at the sand and water table have many sensory attributes — they may be warm or cool, wet or dry, rough or smooth, hard or soft, textured or slimy. Discovering and differentiating these characteristics is a first step in classification, or sorting — an important part of preschoolers’ science learning and discovery.

In addition to developing their senses, children can learn these things through sensory play:
-Make meaningful connections
-Increase vocabulary
-Be creative
-Learn to use the scientific process. They question, they investigate, and they draw conclusions
-Improve gross motor skills
-Develop cognitive skills 
-Engage in pretend play
-Learn self-control...children can be taught an appropriate way to play with items
-Learn about themselves and how their body works

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