Sensory Processing and the Importance of Sensory Play
There is a process that takes place within our brain and body that organizes the sensory input we receive from our eyes (vision/sight), ears (auditory/hearing), skin (tactile/touch), nose (olfactory/smell), mouth (gustatory/taste), muscles and body joints (proprioception/body position), and inner ear (vestibular/position of head/balance). This process is known as sensory processing. Sensory processing makes it possible for your child to use the input he or she is receiving from his or her body and the environment.
Sensory play includes any experience that involves the body’s ability to take in sensory input, process it, and provide appropriate responses. It is very important to involve children in sensory play experiences. When a child explores the world through their senses, they develop fine motor and gross motor skills, self-confidence, self-regulation, communication and so much more.
Here are a few examples of how to engage your child in sensory play at home:
· Sensory bins with household items such as dried beans/ pasta, water, cotton balls ect
· Playing outside exploring different environments such as swimming, gardening and hiking,
· Making slime, goop, clay or dough
· Cooking and/or playing with food exploring and discussing different textures, taste and smell
· Setting up home obstacle courses with running, jumping, crawling, rolling
Sensory enriched play is important for all children, not just for children who have difficulty with sensory processing. All children benefit from learning how to use their senses!
By Logan King, OTD, Occupational Therapist
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