Sensory Play and Learning

sensory play

The importance of sensory play during the early years

The need to engage and learn using the five senses through sensory play is something that comes naturally to babies and children during their early years.

From birth, children use their five senses to discover and learn about the world around them. This an important part of child development and is encouraged and supported throughout our nursery learning environments; promoted by providing learning opportunities which encourage our children to actively use their senses.

sensory play

Understanding sensory play

Sensory play includes any opportunity which stimulates one of a child’s five senses: touch, smell, taste, sight, and sound.

All our nurseries have areas dedicated to sensory play while some are lucky enough to have their own sensory room.

A really great way to allow children to engage with their senses is by playing outside – our outdoor learning environments are full of natural colours, textures, sounds and not to mention smells.

Sensory garden at Swanbourne Nursery
Children climbing tree at forest Swanbourne nursery

The benefits of sensory play

As well as being fun, sensory play encourages children to explore and investigate. It allows their brains to process different types of sensory information which helps them to learn what is useful for later reference and what can be filtered out.

For a child who may find it difficult to play with others when there is too much going on around them sensory play can be a useful tool for development. It can help them to learn to block out noise which is not important and focus on the play which is occurring with their peers.

For fussy eaters, sensory play can help children to develop trust and understanding of different food textures. This helps their brain to build positive pathways which tell the child that it is safe to engage with this food.

For children who are often anxious or agitated, sensory play can help to calm them down as they become absorbed into what is happening around them.

Other benefits of sensory play include the development of problem-solving, language and motor skills.

Sensory play is more than just fun, it helps the children within our care to develop their understanding of the world and it helps them to develop the skills they will need later on in life.

sensory play
little girl