What is Sensory Play? How Does It Support Brain Development?

Sensory integration activities, which are the best support and even therapeutic method for the development of mental functions, not only provide active participation of children with their fun, but also support child development in many different areas. That’s why we recommend helping your child play games for the senses . So what do we mean? Here are the explanations from Sensory Integration Therapy Specialist and Physiotherapist Ebru Sidar!

Why is Sensory Play Important?

Play is the most effective and quickest way to develop the child’s nervous system. However, the common problem of many parents, no matter how old the child is; it is difficult for him to find games to play with his child and direct him to the right game, and he gets tired of trying to produce creative ideas over time.

Although some experts advise parents to sit at the desk for a long time and do attention-enhancing activities for the development of their children, all parents know what it takes to keep the child at that table for 5 more minutes.

The good news is that; In fact, parents are not condemned to those boring activities to improve their children’s skills such as behavior, learning and attention.

Sensory integration activities that best support the development of mental functions and even have a therapeutic aspect may be what both your child and you are looking for. You will realize that your child willingly participates in sensory play activities that you can easily apply at home or on the street , and that these games contain the variety of stimuli your child needs.

I will not write these sensory integration activities at length and in detail because you can find many examples of sensory play suggestions that will support your child’s development on the Internet and in books. my purpose; While choosing the ones that are suitable for your child among these activities you will find, to ensure that you have the chance to recognize the ones that support the nervous system best and to eliminate the others.

You can choose the games that are suitable for your child’s age and interests among the games I have explained with short examples below. What you need to pay special attention to while applying these is that you do not add any activity that you observe that your child is uncomfortable to your games just because it is written here! Because this indicates that he may be sensitive to any sensory stimulus, and this sensitivity may decrease over time or may require therapy.

All of the activities below have been prepared for healthy developing children. If you have a child with developmental difficulties, I recommend that you seek support from a specialist first.

Of course, it is only up to your imagination to develop these stimuli that I have written simply and add them to different games.

What are Sense-Enhancing Games?

Here are examples of sensory integration activities that kids will love :

  • Somersaults on soft surfaces with a small pilates ball
  • Swaying in the sheet
  • jumping on the bed
  • Don’t spin around yourself and around you
  • Don’t play while prone with a soft ball under your stomach like a cat
  • Playing with vibrating toys
  • Massaging your whole body with olive oil or baby oil by applying light pressure
  • Touching different surfaces with hands and feet (Ex: Warm water, cold water, cotton, hard objects, grass, sand) Walking barefoot at home
  • Games to find the object hidden in your clothes
  • Thrown tulle, blanket, etc. try to get out
  • Playing mutual ball throwing, throwing the object in your hand to the target
  • Jumping from a high floor such as on the bed to a soft surface (cushion, quilt, pillow)
  • Pushing and pulling objects
  • Do not hit the balloon suspended in the air with your feet while lying on your back on the floor
  • Pushing against the wall with your feet while lying on your back on the floor
  • Trying to sit, roll over while lying on your back on a Pilates ball
  • Encourage him to lift and play with heavy objects (heavy but soft toys for toddlers that are easy to grasp)
  • Don’t have a pillow fight
  • Don’t be sandwiched between pillows and duvets
  • Practice playing with shaving foam, play dough, finger paint (hands+feet)
  • Painting hard and soft surfaces (flat, jagged)
  • Don’t try to get the balloon across the room with a not-so-long stick
  • Sitting in a box filled with rice and bulgur and playing games in it
  • Crawling, turning, lying on hairy/different floors (carpet, plush)
  • Applying cream/lotion to opposing hands
  • Don’t pluck the grass, bury the objects in the ground
  • Climbing
  • Don’t touch animals, love animals
  • Imitating the way animals walk (creeping without hands like a snake, going awry like a crab)
  • Crawling, turning, crawling, lying on soil, grass or stony ground without socks
  • Cross ‘hack’ game
  • Jumping while sitting on a soft ball with feet touching the ground
  • Attaching and removing clothespins
  • Imitating different movements
  • Blowing bubbles (you blow bubbles first and ask your child to pop them, then ask him to blow)
  • Playing rhythmic children’s songs during activities
  • Dancing to the rhythm with music (you can hold your child on your lap or hold their hands)
  • swing on swings
  • Trying to stand or walk on unstable surfaces
  • Hitting the suspended ball with hands and feet
  • The most important thing while playing all these activities and games; Spending quality time with the child and parents. It should not be forgotten that toys, TV, computer, etc. in front of the child. Putting it doesn’t mean taking care of it.
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