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Wednesday, 9 January 2013

K - O in the ABCs of Sensory Play

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Welcome to part 3 of the ABCs of Sensory Play. If you haven't read A-E and F-J yet, please do so! Today we're going from K-O...

K is for Kid's Play 

Kids love to play; there are a few common things that children do often (or should do anyway!) that provide them with what I call 'big sensory experiences' (I expect there is a better term for this like 'gross sensory' or something...) and these things should be encouraged and made available as often as possible. 

They allow the child to feel movement, momentum, pressure, weightlessness, impact with their WHOLE BODY, not just their fingers or mouth. These activities can improve mood, well being, health, gross motor development, balance, strength, among many other things. These kind of activities include:

  • Playing at soft play 
  • Playing rough and tumble with a parent or sibling 
  • (jumping on the bed - tut tut)
  • Being tickled 
  • Going in a ball pit
  • Swimming 
  • Climbing trees 
  • Bouncing on a trampoline 
  • Walking on a grown up's feet
  • Spinning around 
  • Playing at the beach 
  • Having a bath 
  • Being carried around 
  • Being thrown up and down [carefully] or spun around by an adult 
  • Going on a parent's shoulders
  • Playing at the park/playground -  
    • swinging 
    • sliding down
    • going on the roundabout 
    • up and down on the see saw
    • bouncing and rocking
    • climbing 


As a grown up you should do many of these things as you can too!! ;)


L is for Lights 

Playing with light and light toys is a great way to engage the senses. You can buy lots of lovely fibre optic lights and specialist light toys, and light tables, or make your own like Teach Preschool did, fairy lights are always lovely, and its quite easy to get hold of nightlights and starlight projectors like this one. Light play is especially helpful for exploring colours, colour mixing and shapes, but is stimulating and can be very relaxing for any play time and for all ages. 
Caution! Twins at Play have done the ABCs of Playing with Light, which is well worth a look to get started. 

Some other light play ideas I love are:



Glowing sensory play is fantastic too, and much easier to set up than it looks; Growing A Jewelled Rose has lots of wonderful ideas here. 
And Train Up A Child has a great round up of Glowing Activities here.



M is for Materials  

You can find sensory materials pretty much anywhere, we have covered some in K is for Kitchen, A is for Accessories, J is for Jelly and other Edible Play, N is for Nature, H is for Herbs and Spices... but I wanted to give you a comprehensive list for your reference of easy to find or buy sensory materials. And in the spirit of things Ive alphabetised it! ;) 


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Acorns
Aluuminum Foil
Aquariam gravel/pebbles
Baking soda
Balls
Bark
Beads
Beans
Berries
Bubble Bath
Bubbles
Bubble wrap
Buttons
Cereal
Chalk
Chocolate
Clay
Cloud dough
Cocoa
Coffee
Conkers/Chestnuts
Cornflour/starch
Cream
Crepe Paper
Custard
Dough
Fabric
Fairy lights
Felt
Fibre optic lights
Flour
Flowers and Petals
Foam
Food colourings
Fruit
Gak
Gelatin
Gelli Baff
Glass beads
Glitter
Glue
Goop (cornflour and water)
Grains
Grass
Gravel
Hair gel
Hay
Herbs
Ice
Icing/ Powdered Sugar
Jelly/Jelly
Kool Aid
Leaves
Lentils
Light toys
Mud
Night lights
Packing noodles
Paint
Pasta
Pine cones
Pine needles
Pipe cleaners
Plasticine
Playdough
Polystyrene
Pom poms
Popcorn (popped)
Popcorn Kernels 
Pudding
Putty
Rice
Salt
Salt dough
Sand
Sawdust
Seed heads
Sensory Balls
Sequins
Shampoo and conditioner
Shaving foam
Shells
Shredded Paper
Soap flakes
Soil
Spagetti
Spices
Stones and Pebbles
Straw
Sugar
Syrofoam
Talcum Powder
Tea
Tissue Paper
Tracing Paper
Washing up liquid
Water
Water beads
Wax Paper
Wood
Wood chips
Yogurt


N is for Nature   

Playing with nature and natural materials is the best kind of sensory play. And the best way to do it is to GO OUTSIDE! 



Being outside with the textures, sounds, sights and smells of nature is so vital for a child's development and well-being. Grass, sand, trees, leaves, mud, water all provide great sensorial opportunities... going for a Nature Walk or a Woodland Walk, or spending the day at the beach or just in the garden will give you and your children plenty of sensory play. 




Some more ways to play with nature:


I definitely suggest getting a nature box, or nature table set up somewhere in your house and allowing free exploration of the materials. I will look at more creative ways to use nature in sensory play in S is for Small World and T is for Trays and Tubs. 





O is for Occasions  

Its always fun to use the time of year to enhance play activities, and its worth remembering there is much more than crafting when it comes to celebrating! Themed sensory tubs are great for holidays and occasions, and you can find more of those in T is for Trays and Tubs. For now here are some other sensory play activities that are inspired by celebrations, holidays and occasions. 




There are sooooo many inspiring ideas out there for any occasion and all year round. But remember sensory play is good for every day! 


Come back tomorrow for even more ideas and inspiration, we're getting messy with paint and we'll finally hit Small World and Sensory Trays and Tubs!! 


Dont forget to stay connected to Creative Playhouse here: 

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