Following the success of our Sensory Play booklets (aimed at 2-4 year olds) we have been approached by Early Years practitioners, parents and carers, asking for ideas for how they can further support their babies and toddlers' development, using sensory play.
Through the development of our 'Sensational Me' programme, sessions designed for babies/children aged 0-2 years, we have been able to create a bank of simple and easy activities that will support your baby's/toddler's sensory development, helping their brain to create stronger connections to process and respond to sensory information.
Children are born with a natural instinct for play and exploration; from birth through to early childhood, they use their senses to investigate and familiarise themselves with the world around them.
Providing opportunities for children to actively use their senses as they explore their world through ‘sensory play’ is crucial to brain development - engaging the senses helps to build nerve connections in the brain’s pathways.
We often talk about the five senses:
Taste - the stimulation that comes when our taste receptors react to things in our mouth.
Touch- the stimulation from receptors in our skin that react to pressure, heat/cold or vibration.
Smell - the stimulation of chemical receptors in the upper airways (nose).
Sight- the stimulation of light receptors in our eyes, which our brains then interpret into visual images.
Hearing- the reception of sound, via mechanics in our inner ear.
However, there are other ‘inner’ senses which we are less aware of:
Body awareness (also known as proprioception) – the feedback our brains receive from stretch receptors in our muscles and pressure receptors in our joints. This enables us to gain a sense where our bodies are in space, and where our limbs are in relation to our body.
Balance – the stimulation of the vestibularsystem of the inner ear which tells us about our body position in relation to gravity. Most movement activities will stimulate the vestibular system in the inner ear, which helps the body to know how it is moving and how fast it is moving. These activities can be stimulating for an under-responsive child or calming for an over-responsive child.
All the activities in our booklet are simple, cheap and easy to do. We suggest using items that are readily available at home - feathers, scarves, balls, herbs, mirrors, jelly, blankets - all things that anyone can get hold of easily. We have had lovely feedback so far from people who have already had a go at the activities with their little ones.
Huge thanks to
the booklet by
their lovely pictures!