Sep 16 , 2022
We’ve all bought hundreds of toys over the years, and by now, we pretty much have a good idea of what type of toys or activities our children love and engage in. While we have three main factors we rely on when choosing our kids’ toys, like price, fun, and durability, we often don’t look further, like what those toys will help our kids learn and discover.
Sensory toys and Sensory play! Is it worth the hype?
First, let’s clarify that sensory toys differ from sensory play (which might NOT require toys).
Sensory play promotes learning using the five senses (smell, touch, hearing, sight, and taste). And it is essential because, through Sensory PLAY, children make sense of the world and their environment.
Sensory toys are designed to stimulate the five senses, whether Play-Doh, a musical instrument, a busy board, or soft books.
Sensory toys and play are good for children, helping them develop skills like language, fine and gross motor skills, problem-solving, and being more actively engaged in a particular task.
All the sensory toys should contribute to learning essential skills through play and help develop emotionally, socially, linguistically, and cognitively. Quite interesting, right?
These aren’t the type of toys to clutter your home. Chosen wisely, these toys will help children learn valuable skills.
Are all toys SENSORY toys?
Even though most of them are marketed as sensory toys that will make your child smarter, braver, and clammier, NO, not all are sensory toys.
Babies and young children develop rapidly, so they learn and accumulate all the information their environment offers. They learn through the stimulation of their senses. This is where sensory toys and play have a significant role in their early development. It is important not only for their first years but also for the years to come. This sensory learning is the foundation of the skills children will acquire later in life, such as reading, writing, problem-solving, and math problems.
For a toy to be named, a sensory toy should engage child attention, stimulating one or more of their senses. The contrasting colors of their room would engage their sight, the different textures (smooth, soft, fluffy, etc.) would offer them a tactile experience, and so on.
The unseen social benefits of sensory toys!
Toys are toys! They are fun, attractive, and keep kids happy and engaged, but is there more to it? There is a less known fact with sensory toys: these types of toys help little kids to be more adaptable and comfortable in new situations (and truth be told, for little kids, most interactions and situations are new, even if they have done it before a long time ago).
Even therapists use sensory stimulation through toys to help kids increase their awareness and promote language development.
The bottom line!
Play is not complicated, and it’s not about achieving a particular result. Keep in mind that we humans crave tactile engagement, so children need it even more in their first years. Allow your little one to engage and play with various sensory toys and experiences. The rest will follow naturally (the language, the focus, the social skills, and much more).