Sensory Play and its Role in Learning

By September 17, 2015Parkland Players

Sensory activities have certainly come up in previous posts but what exactly do we mean when we say sensory activities? And what is their impact on learning?

Sensory activities can simply be defined as any activity that engages one (or more) of our 5 senses. This may seem like a given part of any activity, I mean, how else do we interact with the world but through taste, touch, smell, sight, and hearing? But sensory activities are unique in that they allow a child to explore new stimuli or events solely through a given sense and without much background information. This allows them to explore the experience in a very natural and independent way and to form their own conclusions what what they are learning. In short, it helps them develop cognitive, social, emotional, physical, creative and linguistic skillsets. Let’s go through each of these in turn:


  • Most prevalent cognitive skills that are developed through sensory play are problem solving and decision making since the child is put in a position where they have to decipher (through their sensory experience) what is happening and why


  • Sensory activities can help solidify children’s vocabulary by provided real world events that they can anchor definitions of words to

Social and Emotional

  • Certain sensory activities put children in the drivers seat, they are the one’s making decisions about their own learning and this control helps them build confidence and self-esteem


  • Sensory activities can help with the development of fine motor skills and small muscle movements


  • Because sensory activities are often so abstract and open-ended, they facilitate creative thinking




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