The Benefits of Sensory Play
The Developmental Benefits of Sensory Play
At The Apple Tree International Kindergarten in Bangkok, we include sensory play as part of our early years curriculum. Sensory play is essential as a developmental tool. It works well to help develop the physical skills necessary to provide them with the motor skills that will carry them through life.
But sensory play helps develop language and problem-solving skills as well. Development of physical and intellectual skills together is the key to prevent children from becoming frustrated with being unable to perform one or the other equally well.
It teaches children the correlation between the physical world and how they can intellectually solve problems within it. Let’s use the game of fitting different shapes into correspondingly shaped holes as an example.
Children who simply go through the motions of trying to shapes through a hole until they find the correct shape are using their physical skills instead of both their physical and intellectual skills.
They instinctively understand that they should be approaching the task in a way that will lead to them mastering the game faster. This is the seed of cognitive growth in a child’s mind that sensory play helps to grow and develop.
Cognitive Growth and Development
As the child tries to fit these different shapes into the correctly-shaped holes, they begin to recognise and remember which shapes didn’t fit. Through a process of elimination, they begin to recognise which shapes are more likely to fit than others.
It may be that they’ve had better luck with rounded shapes than angular shapes. They begin to narrow down their choices until they’re putting the shapes into the corresponding holes correctly almost all the time.
Cognitive growth and development is the use of touching, thinking, exploring, and repetition to figure out things out in the physical world by the use of their intellect.
Sensory Play and Cognitive Growth
Sensory play encourages cognitive growth by presenting children with both physical and intellectual problems to be solved. But by turning the exercise into a game, it decreases the chance of the child feeling any pressure to ‘perform.’
The term ‘sensory play’ wasn’t chosen by accident. The ‘play’ part of the term is significant in making the child feel more comfortable in trying to increase their abilities, both physical and intellectual.
Sensory play helps to encourage another aspect of life a child will have to master. It nurtures social interaction as these games are played in a classroom setting among the child’s peers. By helping one another, they each gain the benefit of each other’s knowledge.
They begin to see the value in social interaction as a way to help with their own problem-solving and physical skills. Some children develop physically or intellectually faster than others. Although this is natural, it can be frustrating for the child who isn’t developing as quickly.
Through the use of social interaction among classmates, sensory play helps blur those distinctions and makes the child feel like they are part of a team in solving the games they’re playing.
Sensory Play as a Conduit to Development
Sensory play is the conduit that helps children develop their physical, intellectual, and social skills without the drama and frustration of competition. A sense of competition can make children nervous and hinder them in advancing their life skills.
It serves as a way to protect children from detrimental feelings and emotions that would get in the way of their continuing development. It makes the developmental process a game instead of a chore to be mastered.
Children who are brought up having taken part in sensory play are much more adept at figuring out spatial problems intellectually. They learn to think about a problem first. This is a necessary skill to develop and will serve them well throughout their education and their chosen careers.
For more information about sensory play, contact The Apple Tree International Kindergarten in Bangkok to make an appointment for a consultation with one of our education specialists.