Sensory Play: Taking it Outdoors!

May 15, 2019 | Blog, Parenting Tips

It’s no secret that sensory play is crucial for early childhood development. The importance of sensory play cannot be overstated. You support cognitive growth, language development, gross and fine motor skills and more by encouraging the use of all senses through play.

From Educational Playcare:

Here are 5 reasons why sensory play is beneficial:

Research shows that sensory play builds nerve connections in the brain’s pathways, which lead to the child’s ability to complete more complex learning tasks.

Sensory play supports language development, cognitive growth, fine and gross motor skills, problem solving skills, and social interaction.

This type of play aids in developing and enhancing memory.

Sensory play is great for calming an anxious or frustrated child.

This helps children learn sensory attributes (hot, cold, sticky, dry).

Now that spring is here and the weather is heating up, let’s take our sensory play outdoors! This can take shape in a number of types of structured outdoor play stations or through unstructured outdoor exploration.

There are a ton of examples of structured play stations you can set up outdoors for hours of sensory play. These include tables filled with: water, sand, dirt, rocks, shells, rice, beans, pebbles, seeds, playdough, spaghetti or more. Activities can range from water table splashing fun to planting activities in dirt or digging for shells.

For a more “unstructured” approach, try planting seeds in a garden or digging up hidden objects. A scavenger hunt is a great activity to get all of the senses involved. A trip to the beach that involves wading in the water or digging in the sand is a good option. Heading to the tidepools to touch and feel all the hidden creatures is a great sensory play activity as well.

It’s about being connected and engaged with your child while encouraging them to use all of their senses through play. What are your favorite sensory play activities to do outdoors? Share your ideas below!

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