There are many educational benefits to sensory play, but one area that it can help develop greatly is a child’s creativity. Children are constantly learning to create throughout their childhood, something we at Creative Play are passionate about supporting and helping to cultivate. While problem solving and decision making are often seen as the most obvious cognitive skills to be developed and fine-tuned by sensory play, linguistic experts are also quick to sing the praises of a more sensory approach to early years learning. Many cite sensory play as a key motivator behind children first using descriptive words and expressive language to convey their feelings and emotions as they’re encouraged to explore each of their senses.
At the same time, the more social and emotional aspects of initial human interaction are also flagged up, with sensory perception being significantly responsible for youngsters taking control of their actions and experiences. This boosts the likelihood of them learning and experiencing to greater degrees going forward. It’s also been a long-held theory that a small child’s more physical attributes are brought into play at a young age, courtesy of the fine motor skills perfected through the manipulation of various materials put in front of eager hands and minds, whether playdough, duplo bricks or crayons. But, it can be overlooked that sensory play also work wonders with encouraging an impressionable child’s mental and social creativity.
From the very outset of a child being introduced to materials such as sand, water and the variety of different surfaces in a creative playground, they are being actively welcomed into creating something from nothing. As they manoeuvre their way around the environment, experiencing different surfaces through their eyes, ears and fingertips, the youngster is the master of their own creative destiny. According to authorities on the subject, sensory experiences afford open-ended opportunities ‘where the process is more important than the end product’. Essentially, how children use materials is much more important than exactly where they end up, whether we’re talking about building a sand model or reaching the top of a climbing frame. Enthusing a child to think creatively will also help them resolve a number of problems, while fostering make-believe scenarios encourages them to express creativity and bolsters self-esteem.
Be it pouring, scooping, pulling, pushing, climbing or sliding, sensory play gives kids the green light to experiment with a large variety of materials in new and creative ways. Uninterrupted play, whether individually or in groups, provides the catalyst for creativity to flourish, with boundary-less restrictions on what they should do or how they should approach a task. Children are able to enjoy the process as they use the materials they see fit, not consumed by an end product. The more youngsters engage in sensory play, the more adept they become with spatial concepts, increasing their ability to process all the priceless information they receive via the five key sensory modalities of touch, taste, smell, hearing and vision. Sensory play is ostensibly a vehicle in which to physically encourage emotional stimulation and responses through a new medium of play.
So, we hope that this journey through some of the more creative aspects of sensory play has helped you to begin to think creatively about how building your own sensory playground could benefit the creativity of the children and young people who get to enjoy it. We like to think that just by taking a look at our expansive catalogue of bespoke-designed children’s play areas, you’ll understand precisely how passionate we are about children’s creativity, as we continue to strive for unique, imaginative and above all else, safe and enjoyable solutions to kids’ playtime needs.