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The Roll of Sensory Play in development
From the day they are born, babies are designed to learn about their world using their senses: sight, sound, smell, taste & touch. That’s why babies put everything in their mouths or why children spin around until they are dizzy and fall down! Sensory play naturally encourages learning and the use of scientific processes through hands-on activities that stimulate your child’s senses.
In the past, I have typically heard about sensory play being important for children with sensory integration difficulties. However, sensory play is really for ALL children! Sensory play has an important role in development. All kids need help learning how to use their senses, because children discover, examine and make sense of the world through their senses.
Sensory play: green ‘grass’…a new and different take on indoor sensory play! This activity is fun for all ages (except for babies who are likely to put the rice in their mouths)!
My daughter’s preschool class asked parents to make a green ‘grass’ sensory play table at school. I made extra green rice for my youngest to play with as well. Below are my exact measurements for super-vibrant green ‘grass’!
If your kids like to play in water or even with dry beans, they will love playing with rice! My kids helped me make the green grass. My kids were mesmerized – they played with this for about two hours! (Note to parents, this can get a bit messy, but it’s worth it!)
Activities that we did with the sensory rice:
- poured it from one container to another container (all different shapes, sizes, colors)
- covered things up with it
- found things
- memorized where things were
- picked out specific colors
- poured the rice
- helped sweep up all that was spilled!
After you’ve made the green ‘grass’, blue ‘sky’, brown dirt, etc., the sensory table is a never-ending exploration for kids. It was even fun for me to walk around the house looking for things that would be fun to play with in the rice. We used pretend bugs, play kitchen tools, cups, seashells, etc.
Other benefits of sensory play include:
- new language skills – as your child gets more experience with new textures, smells, and tastes, their vocabulary and way of speaking about the world around them grows
- helps develop fine motor skills – those skills using smaller muscle groups, which are important for self-help skills such as buttoning, shoe-tying and even handwriting.
- it’s calming – engaging in sensory play helps to calm your child’s internal discomfort (restlessness, agitation, etc) and helps ground them and calm them.
So whether you are playing in water, play dough, clay, dry beans, or “green grass” rice, give sensory play a shot and see how much your kids love it! Please comment below and let us know was what your child’s favorite thing to do with the “green grass” rice!