Welcome Back to our “Why Sensory Play” Series! In these posts, we hope to help you understand what Sensory Play is and how it can help your child learn through play, the fun way! In our last post, we shared that sensory play is natural to a child. Today we move on to other ways sensory play can help your child’s development.
Sensory Play builds Creativity and Confidence
Sensory play refers to playing with textured mediums (dough, sand, water, goo etc) which engages a child’s senses. Besides sharpening a child’s sense of touch, smell, sight etc., Sensory play allows a child to imagine, create, investigate and explore without having to conform to specific ‘rules’ or ‘limitations’ imposed by an electronic toy or construct. Sensory play allows for open-ended free play experiences that help build creativity and confidence at the early developmental stages.
In our modern society, our children have more than enough structured activities that fill their days. There is definitely a role for piano lessons, learning grammar, and taking up a sport. However, moderation is our emphasis here. Allow limitations, but also allow freedom. With sensory play, give your child freedom to explore possibilities, to create with tools and materials that they enjoy. The possibilities are really endless!
One afternoon, I took out tubs of playdough, a toolkit and our fruit cutters for my daughter and her friend to have fun with. I did not give any guidelines or suggestions. And this was what they came up with (see photos below). I loved it! Notice the pear became a little girl with pigtails. And a kite just appeared out of nowhere.
Our children are capable of so much more if we allow them more options in for open-ended play. As they create, they inevitable become more confident of their creations too. This boost of confidence will certainly help them to keep their head up and be proud of what they do, be it a well-written piece of composition, or a piano piece played fluently. If they meet with roadblocks and failure, they can re-create, re-invent and keep their chin up, because they must surely have had some successes in work and play.
Will you allow your child to make more messes today as they work creatively with their hands? Give your child just 20 minutes today for unstructured play. It could be finger painting (and alot of mess), or playdough fun (and sometimes mixing colours up and driving the adults crazy), or water beads play in the bathroom (while allowing the beads to bounce around everywhere in the bathtub). We can’t use up creativity, but we can surely use our creativity to get more of it!