Sensory play is a valuable part of quality early childhood programs. Children provided with sensory materials enhance their senses of touch, sight, taste, smell, and hearing. The use of sensory materials allows children the opportunity for hands-on and self-directed play to encourage the development of:

  • Fine/Gross motor skills – Children are able to improve their fine/gross motor skills through the manipulation of sensory materials – pouring, molding, lifting, carrying, sifting, sorting, etc.
  • Creativity – Sensory play allows the child to experiment with a large variety of materials in new and creative ways. Uninterrupted play (by adults) allows creativity to flourish. The children are able to use the materials as they see fit and are able to enjoy the process rather than considering the product.
  • Self-esteem – The children build self-confidence and positive self-esteem as they master what they set out to do. They have the opportunity to choose on their own what they plan to do and how they will accomplish it. When children achieve personal goals, there is a great sense of fulfillment.
  • Social development – As children interact with each other, they learn to share and cooperate while building their vocabulary. They also learn effective ways to resolve conflicts among each other.
  • Cognitive development – Children develop their cognitive skills through sensory play by observing, experimenting, and formulating solutions to problems that arise while manipulating the sensory materials. They learn to count, group, sequence, construct, measure, etc.

Interested adults develop these skills more fully with mindful interactions

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