It’s that time of the year when we start to expect some inside time due to rain or cold. I recently added some of my favorite kid-friendly, sensory-rich recipes for play doh, gak, flubber, fingerpaint, and more to the website.
Why is sensory play important for kids? Only About Children says that ” Sensory play encourages learning through exploration, curiosity, problem solving and creativity. It helps to build nerve connections in the brain and encourages the development of language and motor skills. There are many benefits that may go unnoticed, such as the development of abilities to focus and block out distractions. Sensory play is an important part of childhood and, within reason, there are really no limits to what you can use in sensory activities.”
What if your child doesn’t like to have his/her hands dirty or doesn’t tolerate sensory mediums on his/her hands? This may be hypersensitivity to touch sensations. It’s important to allow your child the time to get used to the feeling of the texture and never force a child to touch the texture, as that will cause regression. You may offer to let your child wear plastic gloves or to put the playdough, etc inside a zip-loc bag for exploration. Another idea is to make it into a game so that the focus is not on touching the sensory textures. For instance, you can use figurines, play food, or even hide beads or plastic letters and have child pull them out. The main thing is to give your child time to explore, but never force the experience. Some children need a parent to model how to play with sensory play dough many times before they will participate.