Toddlers explore – they have the tendency to get into everything; they get into everything from unraveling a roll of toilet paper to splashing in the dog’s water bowl.
Engaging in sensory activities for toddlers allows them to touch, taste, listen, watch, smell, and above all – move! These little kiddies love the chance to make a bit of a mess as they explore the world around them using their senses!
The Benefits of Sensory Activities
- Calming effects: Playing with dry rice, sand, water, play dough, and other materials stimulate the senses and can calm children.
- Finding and discovering: Sensory experiences encourage children to look within as they test their ideas and explore the wonders of what is in front of them
- Fine motor development: Oftentimes sensory experiences cultivate fine motor skills as children are challenged to scoop, pour, cut, sift, or mold.
- Language expansion: Sensory experiences can build language skills when adults use the experience in terms such as, “You’re moving the sand into the corner of the box,” or “Do you feel the warm water pouring over your hands?”
The Challenges of Sensory Activities
The benefits for children previously noted, often is met with some resistance from adults. The reason quite simply is that many sensory experiences are just messy! Yes, the mess! But do not let that stop you from introducing these experiences to your toddlers.
It may not be fun to cleanup, but that messy play is an essential part of your toddler’s learning experience. It’s called sensory play and it includes any activity that stimulates one of the five senses for a young child. These sensory activities give kids a chance to explore and investigate the world around them while encouraging creativity and scientific thinking.
What is Sensory Activity
A sensory activity is anything that involves the 5 senses (taste, touch, smell, hearing, sight) and also the vestibular or proprioception systems (for more information see what are the 8 senses ). Sensory activities for children can be messy, engaging, fun, and easy to put together.
Here are a few easy, fun ideas for your toddler's sensory adventures:
- Rainbow pasta sensory play
- Soapy sensory jars
- Colored Ice in the Pool
- DIY RainstickMusical Sensory Bottle
What is the Vestibular System?
The vestibular system is found in the inner ear and is related to balance. The key with vestibular movements is getting the head into as many different positions as possible since it activates the various receptors in the inner ear. Jumping, swinging, rolling and hanging are associated with vestibular because of the head position.
Any play that engages your child’s senses is sensory play. Both children and adults learn better when they can explore a new concept or activity with their senses. Because our brain is built to connect memories with a sensory experience, parents can help their children pick up on difficult or abstract ideas through activities that encourage them to touch, taste, smell, see, and hear.
At T’s Learning Center, our dedicated staff provides a wide-range of sensory activities for toddlers and preschoolers in our top-rated childcare facility in Jacksonville and surrounding areas. Your little ones will see, hear, taste, smell and touch wonderful experiences everyday at all of our facilities – and bring them home to you.