Have you ever caught your child in moments of pure excitement and joy? Maybe they just dug their little hands into a pile of dirt? Or were they gulping down spaghetti with noodles dangling all over their face? Or pouring sand all over their recently-dressed and previously-tidy bodies?
When my first daughter was little, I wondered why she was always so happy to be messy when I was trying so hard to keep her clean.
This got me thinking: why was this bringing her so much joy? What got her so engaged? Then I came across a term I hadn’t heard before: Sensory Play.
What is Sensory Play?
Now mind you, this was almost 9 years ago, but even now the idea doesn’t get as much publicity as I think it should.
Sensory play is really exactly what it sounds like: a child engaging with their senses, neurons firing on all cylinders with new experiences. Sights, smells, tastes, textures, sounds. Sure, it’s great fun, but the magic is in what it can do for your child.
Benefits of Sensory Play
There are a handful of benefits to sensory play. It can assist in language development, motor skill improvement, and building nerve connections in the brain. It can also help and encourage the development of problem-solving skills.
Sounds easy, right? Well, it actually can be.
Take for example the dirt, mud, or mulch you have around your yard. Match those natural elements up with any beach toys for scooping, digging, and filling. This is an easy way for your child to have a sensory experience. Low cost too, as most of us, would have these things around the house.
Pudding paint is also a simple but fun project. First, make the Simply Delish pudding as per the directions on the box. Then pour on a safe plate or into a shallow container. Now give the babe a piece of paper and let them go to town! They do more eating than painting in my experience, but so worth it! Do it outside in nice warm weather is best for less mess and easy cleanup.
Jel dig is just as easy and equally as fun. To set up this sweet activity, gather some hard plastic toys and utensils; the more colorful the items, the better. Place them inside a shallow container. Prepare the Simply Delish Jel as per instructions and pour it into the shallow container. When the Jels are set, let the fun begin! Allow the baby or child to explore the Jel texture (and taste some too!). If they are old enough, provide scoops, rakes, and tongs to remove the items from the Jel. This also makes it a great fine motor skill activity for toddlers.
In conclusion, amazing sensory experiences can be created easily at home with just a few key things. You don’t need to spend much!
So before you go cleaning up that mess your child is delving into, let it be. Let them get messy. Let them play. Their little brains will thank you for it when they’re older.
~Kerri Rubicini is a stay at home mom to three girls that live in Kitchener, Ontario.
***This is a blog that I wrote myself for Simply Delish but I am reposting with their permission. Please visit their site below to learn more about their products that we love using for our classes. ***