Types of Play: The Importance of Sensory Play Experiences
From infants and toddlers to preschool and school age, children develop and enhance important sensory abilities including sight, smell, touch, hearing, movement, and taste through their everyday play in our indoor and outdoor learning environments at Umbrella. We provide these opportunities for sensory development through play in all parts of the learning environments as we know that all types of play include some form of sensory input and/or output.
For example, when we create materials such as this ‘Sensory Walk’ experience we are supporting growth and enhancement in the following ways:
- Sight – Children can visually move through the colors, shapes, textures (we know that we see different textures before feeling them).
- Touch – When the children touch the different textures and shapes, they become aware of the idea that not all things feel the same (e.g. soft, hard, fuzzy, lumpy, smooth).
- Hearing – For this invitation to play the children can hear that touching, tapping, or walking on each of these different materials creates a different sound.
- Vestibular (Movement of the head and body and how they move together.) – The children were encouraged to use their bodies to move across the sensory walk experience. Some of these materials were easier to navigate than others and through these challenges, the educators were able to support the children’s growth and development in this area.
At Umbrella, we strive to provide all children with learning environments that are rich with diverse play materials, provocations, and experiences. These playful learning opportunities encourage and support children to explore the world through their senses to expand their knowledge and skills.