Play is how our children learn, and when your child starts school much of the curriculum will be play based. I know when I have spoken to parents that they find it strange that in reception most of the day is spent ‘playing’. However the play is carefully planned and there will be lots of learning taking place. You will notice that your child is encouraged to play in different areas and these will be developing skills. Many of the actvities will include sensory table for toddlers.
Erin is very creative and chooses to spend much of her time drawing or making. Over the school holidays we had great fun engaging in sensory play. I wrote about how it is important to create the right environment and make an invitation to play. Erin plays much better when some thought has gone into creating her a visually appealing set up she especially loved our imaginery play with insta snow.
What is sensory play?
Sensory play includes any activity that stimulates your young child’s senses: touch, smell, taste, sight and hearing. Sensory activities and sensory tables facilitate exploration and naturally encourage children to use scientific processes while they play, create, investigate and explore.
Schools will use sensory play in lots of ways but there are some great ways you can play with your child like this too. Over the holidays Erin actually came up with some sensory play ideas herself (again thanks to YouTube).
- Erin wanted me to give her taste challenges! This basically involved blindfolding her and giving her a taste of different foods and she had to guess what they were. I didn’t think it sounded hard but it really proved to be. It demonstrated to Erin and me just how much we use combined senses rather than relying on one alone. I used foods that she was familiar with and liked but she still couldn’t work out all of them. One surprise was she claimed she didn’t like something that she actually loves!
- Other sensory ideas includes putting objects into a bag and just using touch the child has to guess what it is. I remember doing this myself when I was younger.
- Another weather related idea is to pop a little figure into a bag of water. Freeze the bag and then when ready let the children excavate the figure. This is a great way to talk about water and ice.
- Mix shaving foam with paint or glitter and then lay paper on them and make patterns, this is a great way to explore textures.