The first five years of a child’s life have been statistically proven to have a huge importance on laying a strong foundation for their ongoing development. As such, finding the best sensory activities for toddlers, can be one of the smartest moves that any parent or educator ever takes.
Why Is Sensory Play So Valuable For Toddlers?
Toddlers are naturally adventurous and love to explore through their senses. Sensory play is essentially any activity that allows them to learn about their surroundings and aid their physical or emotional development, by engaging their sense of touch, smell, sight, sound, taste, movement, balance, and spatial awareness.
A child’s brain is not fully developed at birth and neither are their senses.
The experiences gained through sensory activities in a toddler, helps to build new connections within the brain, while simultaneously supporting a host of cognitive skills. It can also include the comprehension of conceptual ideas.
Sensory play can be highly rewarding for children of all ages. For toddlers, the following statistics underline why it’s so vital at such a young age;
- In relation to synapses, an infant’s brain can grow 20x in the first three years of life.
- Playing and physically manipulating items helps them learn about the world.
- Children acquire 10+ new words daily up to the age of six.
- Toddlers use both hands equally at an early age and develop a preference aged 2-3.
In short, sensory activities for toddlers help develop their brains while simultaneously supporting cognitive skills such as grip and spatial awareness.
Crucially, it is known that advanced development at an early age gives children an advantage for years to come.
Examples Of Sensory Activities For Toddlers
Understanding the importance of sensory activities for children is one thing, but parents also need to familiarise themselves with the best exercises. For the very best results, kids should enjoy a range of solutions to engage and develop all of their senses and cognitive skills. This will bring the best rewards for both physical and mental growth.
There are plenty of products that can be purchased to support sand-based play or water-based activities while planters, music, and sensory playboards are great too.
Whatever items you have, here are some of the best activities you can consider;
- Create sound tubes using containers or kitchen roll tubes. Place different items like beans, beads, and rice in them to hear the different sounds.
- Buy Play-Doh or make your own dough at home. Rolling, pulling, and manipulating the dough is great for dexterity while you can also use stencils and plastic tools.
- Fill a sandbox or a sand play table with sand and plastic buckets, spades, and items for your toddler to explore and enjoy.
- Use a water table with sensory items including fountains, plumbing pipes, containers, and waterwheels.
- Build simple instruments with simple materials. Place elastic bands over a tissue box to create a guitar. Your toddler can then discover the sounds and feelings.
- Use cardboard boxes to make and decorate planters before planting seeds and soil. Toddlers can also use a watering can to develop further sensory skills.
- Play with beads and threads to develop hand-eye coordination and other key skills. Making jewellery is a great example.
- Place toys inside Play-Doh or other items and encourage your child to find them through a fun scavenger hunt.
- Create a slow motion sensory bottle by placing glitter, water, and clear hair gel in a bottle with some colourful Lego bricks that will drop slowly when the bottle is flipped.
- Play on swings, climbing frames, and other physical activity apparatus that additionally encourage toddlers to be imaginative.
Parents should play an active role in sensory games and activities at home.
This will allow you to talk your toddler through each activity, so that they learn to process new information. This can take the benefits to new heights. For parents, it’s a great way to monitor cognitive development too.
For more information about our range of sensory play, playground equipment for toddlers in a school environment, please get in touch with our friendly team on 01244 375 627 or via email [email protected]
Remember: Sensory Play should be supervised by an Adult at all times!
Why not read our other blogs about Sensory Play…The Many Benefits Of Sensory Play