Sensory play is any play which stimulates sight, touch, taste, movement, hearing or smell. The more senses the play involves, the more neural pathways are created, which helps every aspect of learning and paves the way for all future learning. From communication skills to dexterity, confidence and concentration, sensory play is of huge benefit to your child.
Most people think of sensory play as “messy play”, and whilst it is certainly true that messy play has great benefits for your child, not all sensory play is messy. Grow Big is a charity devoted to promoting the benefits of sensory play to all, founded in 2015 and initially funded by Calderdale Council and the Big Lottery. It has proved a big success with children and parents and is making a big impact on the children who have gone through the ‘Sense’ programme; an eight week series of fun sessions funded by Children In Need which create new magical worlds for children to explore in a giant inflatable dome known affectionately as The Pod.
We have a new outreach programme funded by the Community Foundation for Calderdale for parents with young children to access resources and ideas to support their children’s development free of charge. We have recently delivered free training sessions in partnership with Children’s Centres at Innovations and we hope to deliver more of these training sessions throughout the year. If you want to find out more about any of our outreach sessions please contact firstname.lastname@example.org, but in the meantime if you want to have a go at a mess free sensory activity, try these splat mats. Children love the feel of the paint as it smushes under their fingers!
Your little scientist will love exploring colour. This activity can promote hand eye coordination, fine motor skills and dexterity. As you discuss colours, feel and enjoyment, you are helping to grow their vocabulary. In very young children it is a good idea to mirror any social sound they make such as “ooh”, making this a lovely shared activity where your child is able to get a reaction from you as well as the movement and colours.
We hope you enjoy it and look out for more activity ideas coming to Mumbler soon.
What you need:
Ziplock or strong freezer bag
Paint, you can also add glitter glues, glitter or you can try shaving foam with food colouring or washing up liquid and glitter or squirty cream if you don’t have paint in.
Simply add a squirt of paint into the bag (two or more colours works great) or use any of the materials above. You can even experiment with different materials together such as shaving foam and paint. Add as much as you want but make sure there is plenty of space left to be able to push the paint around once sealed.
Secure over fastenings and edges with tape once zipped up just in case yours is a bit leaky (some bags are better than others).
And there you have it, a fairly addictive pouch that has great educational and developmental benefits and handmade by mum or dad (older children love these too and will enjoy being able to make their own).
I love these as once I have sealed the edges, I find they are tough enough to throw in my nappy bag and make a great high chair activity when out for meals (I always need more than one though as they entertain my nine-year-old and husband too!) and they are great to stand on stimulating that touch in feet where so many nerve endings are which is also great for balance. Who knew playing with paints could be so mess free!
It is always best to use non toxic paints but the idea is that your child will only pat the outside. Never leave your child unsupervised with these and do not allow your child to chew or bite the pouches (not only do you not want your child potentially eating plastic but you also hope to avoid mess with this activity).