Our enthusiastic children were keen to explore with finger paint. On went the smocks in record time and their eager hands slid into the soft and slimy shaving cream. After a few giggles and plenty of smiles our children suggested adding colour to the sensory mixture. This made the experience even more enriching as they experimented mixing in the colour and watching the many changing forms of the slippery shaving cream.
It wasn’t very long before their eager hands began clapping and our children all agreed they were making shaving cream fireworks. The white fluffy fireworks flew everywhere and their collaborative team work certainly made this an enjoyable sensory expression of fun.
Children play all the time, and their play experiences are all meaningful. This is how they learn. Sensory play promotes many learning experiences for children:
- It encourages children to manipulate and mould materials, building up their fine motor skills and coordination. Sensory play uses all 5 senses, but the sense of touch is often the most frequent.
- Sensory play is unstructured, open-ended and not product-oriented. It is the purest sense of exploratory learning
- Self-esteem: sensory play offers children the opportunity for self-expression because there is no right answer and children feel safe to change or experiment with what they are doing.
- Language development- experimenting with language and descriptive words.
- Develop social skills: practising negotiation skills, turn taking and sharing. Provides opportunities for working out problems and experimenting with solutions.
- Encourages imagination and creative play.