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What is Sensory Play?

Updated: Mar 9





Children and babies explore and learn about their surroundings using their whole body and all their senses.


The more senses that are being stimulated, the easier it is for them to understand the world around them. With each new sensory experience, they learn a little bit more. This means that giving children the opportunity to engage in sensory play is essential for brain development, helping to build nerve connections in the brain’s pathways.


As they grow, sensory play continues to support their cognitive, social, emotional, and behavioural development. In fact, both children and adults learn best and retain the most information when they engage their senses.


What is sensory play?


Sensory play refers to any activity that stimulates at least one of your child’s senses, whether it’s:


· Hearing

· Sight

· Touch

· Smell

· Taste


Play that involves movement, balance, or spatial awareness is also considered to be sensory play.


Sensory play activities facilitate exploration, encouraging children to play, create, and investigate the world around them. This can range from dancing and yoga, through to messy play, finger painting, and sand play. They enhance the way children understand and respond to their environment.


What are the different types of sensory play?


Tactile play


This type of sensory play is all about touch. If a child is exploring an object using their hands or feet, the play is considered tactile. Tactile play allows children to learn about pressure, temperature, vibrations, and much, much, more.


Auditory play


Auditory play is all about sound. Whether they’re listening to music, playing with musical instruments, or even banging a wooden spoon on a range of objects, they’ll be learning to differentiate sounds and developing their hearing.


Visual play


Visual play supports the development of your child’s sight and vision. Playing with colours and pattens can help encourage visual sensory play.


Vestibular play


Located in the inner ear, the vestibular system controls balance and movement. This type of sensory play includes rolling, handing, swinging, and jumping, which all help to develop balance.


Proprioception play


Proprioception allows us to move our arms and legs freely, without needing to look at them. This type of sensory play helps children learn where they are in the space and how their limbs move in relation to the rest of their body. Activities that involve pushing, pulling, and jumping help to develop this spatial awareness.


Smell and taste play


Sense of smell (olfactory) is closely related to our sense of taste. Any activities that involve smelling or tasting can help develop these senses.



What are the benefits of sensory play?


Sensory play offers a whole host of benefits, including:


· It supports language development, cognitive growth, motor skills, problem solving skills, and social interaction

· It helps the development of memory function

· It can help calm children when they are anxious, stressed, or frustrated

· It allows children to develop an understanding of sensory attributes, such as hot, cold, wet, dry, etc

· It supports emotional development.


Happy Feet Play Mats for sensory play

Happy Feet Play Mats are a great way to integrate sensory play into your child’s daily routine. All of our mats have a different purpose in mind, from improving posture to developing healthy muscles. Have a look at our range of products to find the right combination for you and your family.


Explore our range of mats and get in touch to find out more - drop us an email hello@happyfeetplaymats.co.uk we’d love to hear from you!






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