Discover sensory importance for ages 0-12 years and what to use for sensory play while learning.

As a former Special Education teacher. Sensory importance and sensory play were my top priory. In my new position as a homeschooling homemaker. Discovering sensory importance for ages 0-12 years and on into adulthood is currently part of our homeschool routine.

As a result. I’m sharing the benefits of sensory toys. Additionally, why sensory play is important in the post. Even for adults. 

Children and adults learn in various ways. Sensory play while learning gives students every opportunity to learn to their best. A major part of homeschool success is understanding your child’s dominant learning style

discover-sensory-importance-for-ages-0-12-years-and-what-to-use-for-sensory-play-while-learning a child's hands playing with various colored sensory toys in a wooden tray
Learn more about why sensory play is an important part of the learning process.

The first step to sensory learning

To understand how your child learns to learn. Take this free learning styles quiz.

This quiz is designed with parents in mind. Answer a few short questions about your child’s needs and interactions.

Results of your child’s dominant learning style are shared upon quiz completion.

Afterward, use these results to take action toward your child’s education. Us your child’s dominant learning style to purchase. Then, tailor any curriculum to your homeschool learner.

Did you know?

Parents can take the quiz for themself too.

As parents. It is our job to provide our children with the best education possible. In fact. How a child or an adult learns best plays a critical part in the learning process? So does sensory play.

Firstly. Before moving forward. Do you know your child’s dominant learning style? Click here to take this learning styles quiz and find out today. 

Additionally. Did you know that our child’s learning style has a lot to do with sensory play? Us your results to understand how your child uses sensory play to learn. Including why sensor play is beneficial. Above all. How it supports your child’s learning development. Most importantly. What is sensory play? 

What is sensory play, and why is sensory play beneficial?

As a matter of fact, sensory play ignites the senses. To help children learn through hands-on activities that stimulate their five senses. As you know. Humans have many senses. To clarify. I speak of the five generally known senses of touch, taste, hear, smell, and see for today’s purpose. Sensory play can include other senses. 

For instance. Anything that engages movement and balance. For adults. This may look like an exercise routine. However. For young children under 12. Sensory play resembles a child playing in the mud or finger painting.

Sensory play encompasses many facets. Also, can take on various skills and activities. All are beneficial and of special importance to each child’s unique learning style.  

Beneficial Importance of sensory play in 10 learning areas.

Firstly. The purpose of sensory activities is to promote exploration and investigation. Children learn to draw conclusions and use detective reasoning through their five senses. Secondly. Sensory activities give students the necessary state of mind to process information and understand how they learn best.

This type of play allows the brain to filter out anything unnecessary. Additionally, create a strong connection with a specific learning style. 

Still, sensory overload can be a real issue for some people. From an early age, children can learn how to block out or filter out excess environmental conflict through the act of sensory play. Making daily life manageable.

Benefits continued

Therefore, developing early task management will carry on into adulthood. Introducing sensory play, the earlier, the better can aid sensory issues some children have. For instance, children who are considered picky eaters. Or may have issues with certain food textures.

In fact, sensory play assist children with emotional issues regarding food. For example, using different textures in a controlled, positive environment during sensory play. Allows the brain to associate certain textured foods with trust.

Their brains are positively triggered by these strange foods, such as spaghetti, macaroni and cheese, certain fruits, etc., to feel safe. Early sensory intervention is especially important for those in the special needs community. 

discover-sensory-importance-for-ages-0-12-years-and-what-to-use-for-sensory-play-while-learning child playing with kinetic sand on a table
Janelle plays for hours. She uses kinetic sand to explore and investigate.

Other reasons why sensory play is important in early years….

  • Supports language development
  • Encourages fine and gross motor skill development
  • Supports problems solving skills
  • Cognition includes early math skills, matching, sorting, counting, etc.
  • Awareness of individual and other’s needs
  • Adapt to new situations
  • Reduce stress and provide comfort and redirection in uncomfortable situations
  • Promotes creativity and captures the imagination
  • Social and emotional development
  • Practice mindfulness keeping the mind in the present sense and grounded

As a matter of fact, children naturally engage in sensory play.

It’s our job as parents to encourage, support, and practice sensory play in our daily lives. Likewise. At home and in the world around us. Basically, our job as parents is to help our children discover the many sensory systems they have. Also, how to use them.

How many sensory systems do humans have? 

Our brain connects to more than five sensory systems when it comes down to it. We have eight or more senses connecting and delivering information. We know of sight, taste, touch, hear and smell. Additionally, three senses get overlooked or incorrectly identified.

These senses are known as balance, movement, and internal. However, scientists predict that humans may have up to twenty more senses in the human body. The thought behind this number is that our bodies cross-talk within sensory systems. 

For example, our salivary glands are activated by the sense of smell. In other words, hunger stricks at the sense of smell and the sight of food. Or how eyes water on a windy day as our body feels the breeze? Each sense can trigger another sense to activate, giving credence to multiple senses than just the five. 

Learn all there is to know about sensory play and the sensory system.

Let’s break down what senses are and how to use them.  

Senses 1-4

  • Sight: Visual input is produced when we use our eyes to see. Eyes take in rays of light to create pictures on the back of our eyeballs. For example, our brain then interprets these visual images and tells us what we see. We can take this further and visualize what we see in our mind’s eye. Then connect this visual image to other senses. 
  • Taste: Our taste buds. Or cells ignite when we put something in our mouth. Our taste buds identify textures and flavors. Process temperature. And report their safety to our brain. A fun presentation on the specific tastes of foods. Is sure to create laughter. As children identify specific tastes–salty, bitter, earthy, crunchy, sweet, etc.
  • Touch: Tactile sense help us understand the importance of feeling sensations. Such as textures, temperatures, pain, pressure, resistance, pushing, and many others. Tactile sense includes wet, dry, messy, sticky, heavy, light, and firm categories. Our tactile system associates our sense with safety, security, and trust. Tactile play helps our bodies build relationships with other senses. Head out on a rainy day. Getting messy is an easy and affordable way to incorporate sensory play.
  • Hearing: Auditory input: We listen with our ears. Receive auditory input to gauge our familiarity with the world. Listening to calming music. Or sitting in the quiet helps our brain relax. Turning up the volume encourages laughter with friends. Understanding what the teacher said. While sitting a the back of a classroom. Auditory input helps our brain identify different sounds and their proximity to those sounds. 

Senses 5-8

  • Smell: Olfactory input is produced from the sensory receptors in our noses. The reception picks up information about various smells around. Then pass this information along to other senses. To perceive these things as positive or negative. Additionally. The sense of smell is linked to emotion and memory. 
  • Balance: Vestibular input is receptors in the inner ear. These receptors help us identify changes in direction, movement, and position associated with the position of our head. Sense of coronation, balance, gravity, space, and posture occurs through vestibular input. 
  • Movement: Proprioceptive input is located within our joints, ligaments, muscles, and tendons. Movement helps us fill grounded. Gives us a sense of what bothers us when we move in a way we don’t like. 
  • Internal: Interoceptive input, known as intuition. Gives us that feeling inside. The feeling of whether this situation is positive or negative. That internal, instinctive knowledge. Interoceptive input plays a role in influencing our emotions and state of mind. In connection to other senses. Interoceptive input is that tiny little prompt that says it’s hot in here. Then, guides you to turn down the heat. Or our guide to stop eating is to prevent overeating. Or perhaps tell you when it is time to fall asleep.

The first thing to remember. Sensory play encourages cross-sensory connections. Also, provides each sense with an opportunity to connect. The best benefit of sensory play is identifying what senses may have a disability. Early intervention is the key.

For instance. Without sensory play. Children may not know they are color blind. In another case, have an ocular motor issue, virgo, or become picky eaters. Lastly. May have an early onset autoimmune disease.

 How to incorporate sensory play into your child’s life?

Additionally. Like homeschooling. The hardest part is doing the action. Once homeschool parents understand how to homeschool and the bases of Homeschool 101. Incorporating learning into a homemaker’s schedule becomes simple. The same goes for sensory play.

However. The first thing is to understand what sensory play includes. For one thing. Sensory play encompasses all five senses and goes beyond the scope of just touch. 

discover-sensory-importance-for-ages-0-12-years-and-what-to-use-for-sensory-play-while-learning girls playing with sensory balls in a tent
Add sensory play into your homeschooling routine.

Certified special education teachers are taught to not only focus on the five senses during sensory play. But did you know? We have additional senses often overlooked. When designing sensory play activities?

To clarify. These senses include proprioception or body awareness and vestibular, which is movement. When incorporating sensory play into your child’s life, focus on all eight senses.

In the meantime, here are a few quick ways to incorporate sensory play into everyday life.

Play outside is the perfect way to stimulate all seven senses.

Whether you live in the city or the country, head outdoors for a walk, bike, ride, or a picnic in your back yard for just fifteen minutes a day. We underestimate the power that nature has on our bodies.

In short, walk barefoot, play in the mud, lie on the ground, and look at the clouds. Or start a garden. In reality, numerous outdoor activities stimulate all senses and encourage sensory play. However, if heading outdoors is not an option, bring the outside in. Try a grounding mat, using indoor plants, or use household items.

Use household items as a substitute for outdoor activities during the winter. 

In fact. Many youtube videos encourage indoor exercise, play, and sensory stimulation. Via tutorials or visual stimulation. Additionally, try using pots and pans or Tupperware for early child sensory play. Get creative and use your imagination with your child and think outside the box. Literally.

For example. Create an obstacle course using boxes. Play hide and seek. Or create forts with boxes. In fact, creating something from scratch will challenge the brain and build body awareness. Choose this indoor time to expose your child to monitored movement.

Movement helps build coordination and other cognition developments. 

Overall, children love to move and stay busy. All types of movement help children develop a sense of coordination, fine and gross motor skills, balance, and body awareness. Movement is critical. Especially for those children and adults with special needs. Movement reduces stress. Breathing helps calm the body and emotionally regulate.

In other words. Try incorporating breaks into your homeschool schedule that involve moving. Keep the duration short and not overstimulating. Pop on a kids yoga video or kids aerobics from time to time. Or head outside for a nature walk. Don’t forget your nature journal too.

Get dirty using your tactile skills.

As a former teacher. Currently a homeschooling homemaker. I’ve always enjoyed art and nature days. Getting messy is part of growing up. I love seeing the kids’ faces. As they use their fine and gross motor skills to get dirty. Also, try exploring scissor cutting exercises. To encourage fine and gross motor skills.

Purchase your editable Scissor Cutting exercises here and enjoy scissor cutting fun.

Download and edit these worksheets as many times as you like. 

discover-sensory-importance-for-ages-0-12-years-and-what-to-use-for-sensory-play-while-learning little girl using scissors to cut her paper at a table
Add this scissor cutting worksheet into your daily homeschooling schedule to encourage sensory importance.

Tactile exploration provides children with useful information. So their brains can trust the world around them. Tactile information goes hand and hand with exploring food. Also, try having your pick eater incorporate food play into tactile exploration.

Subsequently, playing with your food is one way to trick your brain into that mush potatoes are okay to eat. This food is safe. Understand why messy sensory play is important. After all, its purpose is to create a safe environment for your child to grow. While learning. 

Create a safe space or sensory safe corner

As a former public school teacher. My job was to provide my student with an area considered a safe space. A space where students, particularly those with special needs. Could escape without fear of overstimulation. In this space. Students could self-regulate and decompress from any stress. That their current learning environment provided them. 

Likewise. A child could choose to fulfill their sensory needs in this sensory safe corner. Sensory safe corners encourage students to calm down. While removing themself from an overstimulating situation. Sensory safe corners don’t have to be in a classroom setting. But anywhere.

As homeschooling homemakers. It is our job to create a safe space free from stress. All things considered. Choose a location in your home. Or outside. To set safe sensory boundaries. But, remember. This space can be tranquil. Or filled with sensory toys. 

Sensory Toys/Bins/Blankets

Creating a safe sensory corner. Doesn’t; have to be hard. Try forts or pop-up tents. Weighted blankets. Or low lighting. All create a calming effect. But, try to encourage your child to help you create this safe space.

This sensory play space can be used for creative play. Or mediation. Whatever the case. Use your child’s learning style to guide you in the right direction. However, new to homeschooling parents. Please, first understand the deschooling process. Know that it is okay to play. 

During my time in the classroom as a special education teacher. I discovered my love for helping children with special needs to self-regulate.

In my current homeschooling homemaker position. Understanding the need for self-regulation as my children grow becomes equally important. Armed with my knowledge and experience. I’ve created sensory toys to help children do just that. 

discover-sensory-importance-for-ages-0-12-years-and-what-to-use-for-sensory-play-while-learning The Busy Home Sensory Toy
Enjoy hours of endless stress relief and fun with your new sensor toy. Get yours today!

As a matter of fact. Stress relief is just a touch away. Choose a color. Or texture. As you pull, stretch, twist, and squeeze. Then, your way to stress relief. With your new favorite sensory toy.

Purchase your The Busy Home Sensory toy today!

Sensory stimulation is just an order away. Click here for more!

In short, try ditching the plastic toys. Go for something with texture. Such as pool noodles or stretch strings. Add a variety of textured toys such as foam and wood. Or toys with noise and sound as they squeeze the toy. Always remember. This should be a calming, safe sensory space free of punishment.

Don’t forget to join in on the fun! Progress and development are what we are going for. Adults need downtime too. Which makes bonding with your child all the sweeter. 

More activity ideas for sensory play

Sensory Bins 

Sensory Water Play

5 Senses Sensory Activities

DIY Sensory Toys and Games

Simple Sensory Activities

Don’t overcomplicate sensory play. The takeaway and the only requirement is to have fun. Encourage what is good about sensory play. Helping your homeschool child engage with their senses. Will give them every chance to understand. Also, interact with the world around them. Sometimes. All you can do is get messy. 

Most importantly, parents don’t forget. It is okay to ask for help. Also, have fun with your children. If you are struggling with homeschooling in any way. I’d love to help.

Schedule your free 30-minute consultation today!

Or click here to download your free guide to 6 Steps to Homeschool Success.

Homeschool success is just a download away. 

discover-sensory-importance-for-ages-0-12-years-and-what-to-use-for-sensory-play-while-learning a child at a museum playing with sensory toys age 8
Sensory fun for all ages!

To sum up, I hope I’ve helped encourage you to enjoy sensory play. Incorporate sensory play into your homeschool routine today. Don’t forget adults can have fun too! Are there any sensory activities you use in your daily routine? Leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you.

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