How Does Sensory Play Help a Child's Emotional Development?

How Does Sensory Play Help a Child's Emotional Development?

As a parent it can be difficult to identify which sensory toys are the most appropriate for our children, never mind what benefits they can provide. In this blog, The Early Teacher will discuss how sensory play can help a child’s emotional development and the main benefits of sensory play.

So, how does sensory play help a child’s emotional development? Engaging in sensory play and activities can help a child to develop emotionally as calming textures can help them to overcome stressful situations. What’s more, sensory toys also help children to identify new feelings and learn how sounds can stimulate emotions.

Keep reading to find out more about sensory play including what types of toys are good for sensory play.

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How Can Sensory Play Support a Child's Emotional Development?

Sensory play is a vital feature of a child’s development and is particularly important when it comes to encouraging progression with their emotional intelligence. There are a variety of ways that sensory toys can support children with their emotional intelligence and we have detailed them below to help you understand.

Calming Textures

Introducing your children to sensory play in the form of toys with new or unique textures is a great way to encourage the development of their emotional intelligence. This is because children can express different emotions based on how a certain toy makes them feel. For example, play dough can be a very useful tool for calming children when they feel frustrated and angry. This is significant because it can help children to learn to manage their emotions and take time to reflect on what made them feel a particular way.

New Feelings

Another way that sensory toys can help a child’s emotional development is through the introduction to new emotions. If a child has not felt a texture before, it can stimulate a new emotion for them which is significant because it provides them with the opportunity to process this new emotion.

For example, the Tactile Lowercase Letter Set is ideal for helping children to both learn their alphabet and adjust to new emotions. The bumpy texture can feel quite fun to children and can trigger a positive emotion which can then be associated with learning the alphabet. Therefore the learning activity becomes a lot more interesting for children as they begin to recognise that it relates to a happy emotion.

Exciting Sounds

Sensory play can also help to stimulate a child’s emotional development through the use of exciting sounds. Different sensory toys and sensory activities can involve new sounds which can also trigger a new set of emotions in children. This can help children when it comes to labelling emotions and understanding how a sound makes them feel. One study found that there can be a significant statistical difference in a child’s emotional intelligence after being exposed to music, therefore encouraging your child to play with sensory musical toys such as the Penguin Music Wobbler can be highly effective in terms of emotional development.

If you are interested in learning more about sensory toys and development, take a look at the handy video below.

What are the Benefits of Sensory Play?

Whilst sensory play can be great for emotional development, there are also many other benefits associated with this form of play. From improved language skills to cognitive growth, below we have listed some of the main benefits of sensory play to help you out and instil some confidence.

Improved Language Skills One of the key benefits of sensory play is that it can help to improve children’s language skills. When playing with a sensory toy, children will be triggered to feel emotions but may not yet have the vocabulary to explain themselves. By being exposed to these emotions, children are opening the opportunity to discover new words and descriptions with their caregivers and teachers.
Enhanced Fine Motor Skills Another benefit of sensory play is that it can help to enhance a child’s fine motor skills. Sensory play can involve activities such as mixing, pouring and building, which are all important and transferable tactile skills that can be linked to activities such as holding a pencil or tying shoelaces. Therefore, sensory play can genuinely help your child with a variety of skills they will use everyday.
Better Social Skills Improvement in social skills is an additional benefit of encouraging your child to engage in sensory play. This is because a lot of sensory toys and activities can be interactive and shared between groups of children. What’s more, when children discover a new and exciting toy that stimulates a sense, they may want to share that experience with another child which, in turn, improves their confidence and social skills.
Heightened Cognitive Growth Sensory toys are also a great tool for encouraging cognitive growth in children. When children are introduced to a new sensory toy, they begin to ask questions and trial different ways to use the toy. This in itself encourages cognitive growth and problem solving which are both vital transferable skills that can be used in school and future careers.

What Types of Toys are Good for Sensory Play?

As a parent, it can be quite overwhelming to determine which toys are good for sensory play because there are so many on the market. Therefore, we have listed some of the most appropriate toys for sensory play below, to make your search that little bit easier.

Sensory Toys for Babies:

When it comes to selecting toys for new born babies, it is completely understandable that you would be a little cautious with what you select. However, the Savannah Tummy Time Soft Fabric Book is designed for children of young ages to build strength and encourages them to play with textures and identify emotions that they would not yet have been exposed to whilst still being safe for them. Therefore, you can be confident that your child is safe whilst developing their sensory, emotional and cognitive skills.

Sensory Toys for Children Aged 1-4

For children ages 1-4 years old, the Flashcards Emotions And Actions Montessori Multi-activity tactile cards is the ideal for introducing your child to the benefits of sensory play. This toy is designed to help children recognise and express their emotions as well as extend their vocabulary as they progress. These are both important factors related to the progression of your child which therefore makes this sensory toy worth the investment.

Sensory Toys For Children Aged 3-6

The Montessori Touch Bingo Letters & Words is a sensory toy that is designed to support children aged 3-6 with their understanding of the alphabet as well as learning how to write. What’s more, this sensory toy also helps children to develop their tactile sensitivity and manual skills which are significant because they can contribute to a child’s progression through school and their development as they grow.

Sensory Toys at The Early Teacher

The Early Teacher stocks a myriad of sensory toys that are ideal for encouraging your children to recognise their senses and develop their emotions and cognitive thinking. Each sensory toy has been delicately selected with your child’s development in mind.

To find out more about the sensory toys that we supply, click here.