Sensory play can help calm an anxious child
From birth, children process the world and new information by exploring their senses. They do this by exploration of new textures, materials and resources. Sensory play is a valuable way of engaging children in activities that will heighten their senses and enrich their learning.
Benefits of sensory play for children-.
Promotes problem solving skills.
Enhances memory and executive functioning skills.
Supports language development.
Supports development of self regulation skills.
Provides vestibular and proprioceptive input to inner sensory system.
Fosters learning dispositions such as curiosity, fun, concentration, persistence, determination and independence.
We consider all aspects of sensory play at Guardian Angel Montessori, such as calming and soothing play- with our light box, musical instruments, mindfulness and handmade playdough with essential oils to make it a calming experience. We use nature in our sensory learning by drawing the child’s attention to the seasons, the weather, using ice and snow in our tuff trays, gardening- planting and exploring with mud and watching our sensory garden bloom throughout the seasons. We use mindfulness as a form of expression for the children to focus on the now by being aware of their breathing and guided child focused stories to make them aware of their bodies. These exercises are prompted to the children if they are feeling overwhelmed or angry and act as a tool to help them calm down and regulate.
For the child who craves tactile experiences we offer, water play with tuff trays or a water butt where the child can independently fill their own water, water beads, painting with hands and different tools (twigs, pinecones, marbles, pasta), sand, gloop and playdough. Our mess hut offers two mud kitchens which allow the children to explore and use their imagination, we know a messy kitchen means a good time was had! We aim to experience outdoor play every day and with our two sheltered areas outside and wet gear- there is no bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.
Sensory play can be active and we incorporate this using action songs and games, movement to music and climbing, jumping and running outside in our play area. We do yoga but not as you know it, our teachers are trained in child yoga and help the children stay focused and engaged in yoga designed specifically to help the children stretch their muscles and engage in balancing exercises. This type of sensory play help the children to become more self-aware and body- aware which helps them to develop a better sense of space around them.
Play is a natural instinct for children and an activity that provides endless opportunities for learning. It is an enjoyable, fun way for children to acquire many of the pre-academic skills that they require for school, such as social skills and muscular strength (necessary for writing). It also provides an indirect concrete introduction to many academic concepts.