The Benefits of Sensory and Messy Play

Picture of Sara Roldan
Sara Roldan

Shaping Little Minds
London, UK

Sensory and messy play are activities that engage a child’s senses and are an essential part of early childhood development. These types of play have many benefits, both for children’s physical and cognitive development. In this post, we will discuss the benefits of sensory and messy play, as well as some tips and ideas for incorporating it into your child’s daily routine.

Benefits of Sensory and Messy Play

Develops Fine Motor Skills

Sensory and messy play can help to develop a child’s fine motor skills, which are crucial for activities like writing, drawing, and manipulating small objects. By picking up small items, squishing playdough, or using tools to explore materials, children can improve their hand-eye coordination, dexterity, and finger strength.

Encourages Exploration and Curiosity

Sensory and messy play provides a safe and engaging way for children to explore the world around them. Through touch, taste, smell, sight, and sound, children learn about their environment, and begin to understand cause and effect. This type of play also encourages children’s natural curiosity, as they are free to investigate and experiment with materials on their own terms.

Enhances Cognitive Development

Sensory and messy play can also help to enhance cognitive development in children. As they engage in different activities, children are required to use their problem-solving skills, creativity, and imagination. They may be presented with new challenges, such as figuring out how to stack blocks or how to mix colors, which helps to develop their critical thinking skills.

Tips and Ideas for Sensory and Messy Play at Home

Use Safe and Non-Toxic Materials

When engaging in sensory and messy play with your child, it is important to choose materials that are safe and non-toxic. This can include items such as playdough, water, sand, rice, and dried beans.

Create a Sensory Bin

One way to encourage sensory play is to create a sensory bin. This can be a plastic container filled with materials like rice, beans, or sand, and can be customized with different toys, scoops, and tools.

Get Messy

Messy play is an important aspect of sensory play, but it can be intimidating for some parents. Start with small activities, like finger painting or playing with shaving cream, and gradually work up to more complex activities, like making slime or oobleck.

Embrace the Outdoors

Many sensory activities can be done outside, like exploring nature or playing in the mud. Outdoor activities also provide additional opportunities for physical activity and fresh air.

At Shaping Little Minds, we always have a sensory and messy play station at our sessions. Our activities are carefully designed to promote exploration and creativity in a safe and supportive environment. We encourage parents to continue these activities at home, and to incorporate sensory and messy play into their child’s daily routine.

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