Sensory toys encourage play that engages our senses: sight, touch, smell, taste, hearing, movement, and balance. Sensory play includes physical play, but it can also be more creative and open-ended. For example, a child might use a sensory toy to build a tower, create a piece of art, or simply explore the different sensations it provides.
Here are some examples of sensory toys:
- Sight: kaleidoscopes, light-up toys, color-changing objects
- Touch: playdough, slime, sand, water toys
- Smell: scented candles, essential oils, aromatherapy dough
- Taste: sour candy, sweet candy, salty snacks, bitter snacks
- Hearing: musical instruments, noisemakers, nature sounds
- Movement: balls, hoops, climbers, ride-on toys
- Balance: balance beams, stepping stones, wobble boards
Sensory play is important for children of all ages, but it can be especially beneficial for children with autism, sensory processing disorder, and other developmental disabilities. Sensory play can help children to learn about their senses, regulate their emotions, and develop their motor skills.
Here are some benefits of sensory play:
- Promotes learning: Sensory play helps children to learn about the world around them through their senses. For example, a child might learn about different textures by playing with playdough or slime, or they might learn about different colors by playing with color-changing objects.
- Regulates emotions: Sensory play can help children to regulate their emotions. For example, a child who is feeling anxious might calm down by playing with a stress ball, or a child who is feeling energetic might burn off some energy by playing with a ball.
- Develops motor skills: Sensory play can help children to develop their motor skills. For example, a child might develop their fine motor skills by building a tower with blocks, or they might develop their gross motor skills by playing on a climber.
Sensory play is a fun and engaging way for children to learn and grow. It is also a great way for parents and caregivers to bond with their children.