A sensory play area is any area in your playground that stimulates children’s senses and helps them develop sensory skills. These include touch, taste, smell, sight and hearing, but also movement, balance, body awareness and spatial awareness. When kids experience new activities through their senses, it grows the architecture of their brain and supports learning and growth.
Creating sensory play experiences is easy in any outdoor environment or even at home. You can set up permanent ones that kids always have access to – like a water table or sand play station (just change the props regularly) or you can plan specific sensory stations that align with your preschool themes or seasonal activities.
Awakening the Senses: Creating a Sensory Play Area for Children’s Development
Sensory experiences are important for infants, toddlers and preschoolers as they develop the cognitive, social and motor skills they need to learn. Kids naturally engage in sensory explorations through their day – playing with bubble soap and shaving cream, touching rough and smooth textures and shapes of objects in a sand or water activity, stepping on different textures of grass or mud, building with blocks or clay, exploring foods that have many tastes and smells.
Providing kids with sensory play opportunities builds their communication and problem-solving skills. It also provides a creative outlet and relieves stress, boredom and anxiety. While these things may seem minor, they can make a huge impact on how kids feel and think. This is why sensory play is so important for all kids.