The infants at Little Wonders always have different types of material to encourage sensory play. One particular day, we provided sponges that were a soaked in a variety of different colors of paint. The children observed all the different colors as they grabbed, poked, squeezed, and balanced other materials on the sponges.
From birth, children have learned about the world by touching, tasting, smelling, seeing, and hearing. Sensory play also highly contributes to brain development in infants… think of it as “food for the brain.” According to High Scope Extensions, “Stimulating the senses sends signals to children’s brains that help to strengthen neural pathways important for all types of learning. Infants and toddlers naturally initiate discoveries about the world around them, so providing a variety of interesting sensory experiences can pique their curiosity and support their brain development.”
For infants, sensory play and art provides a way for them to express ideas, feelings, and what they understand in a visual form. For example, when infants create marks on paper, they are exploring what happens when the marker touches the paper. They aren’t necessarily attempting to create something specific on the paper, but learning about the relationship between the paper and marker.
By providing sponges with paint, it allowed the infants to explore texture and movements through finger painting. We believe that children should be given a variety of art experiences starting in infancy. “The act of dipping a paintbrush into paint and then applying it to paper shows that the child is using concentration and focus. Painting also allows a child to use his/her imagination freely. All very important skills.”