Simple play in a sandbox or making a mess in the sink may hold quite a bit of childhood development value. Although messy and frustrating for parents, these activities work to train the brain to understand surroundings and permit the senses to work together. Here are three benefits of incorporating the lessons.
It Improves Sensory Response
Some children suffer from poor nerve development. This condition may arise from varying factors, including complications at birth. Erb’s Palsy, for example, occurs when a limb is pulled or hurt during delivery, causing the baby trouble with feeling and motor skills. In this case, occupational therapists may encourage parents to stimulate the nerves by incorporating sensory activities at home. Many of these patients struggle with feelings in the arm. By working with various textures, infants encourage nerve development and may increase reaction to different stimuli.
It Broadens the Palate
The body learns to accept various textures through play, so when kids have a hard time eating something, it may be because the mind isn’t ready to accept how it feels to the tongue. Does the picky eater refuse to eat slimy menu items? If so, start to play with wet noodles or slick slime. As the fingers manipulate the objects, the brain begins to register the sensation as acceptable.
Make a list of what your child dislikes. Chances are, it focuses on a sense. Then, find activities, like the one above, that gradually introduce the feeling or taste. Remember, the first time is a struggle. It could take kids up to seven tries before they begin to think that something is okay.
It Encourages Curiosity
Science teachers preach about the scientific method. After all, research takes time, observations and, certainly, curiosity. People complete the technique daily, formulating a hypothesis, testing it out and evaluating the results. This critical thinking is useful in everyday decision-making. When sensory play occurs, kids are completing similar functions. Their bodies learn to explore and test the surroundings, developing intuition and awareness.
Sensory exploration may be ditching electronics and playing outside for the afternoon. Look at the flowers, or play with leaves. Observe the weather and how toys work. Go for nature walks, or have a water table for splashing. Even bubble play falls into this category, as kids watch how the bubbles are made and then feel them on the hands.
The practice is essential in so many avenues. That concept also includes the body’s five senses. Get them fully in tune with one another by encouraging sensory play.