Sensory play is essential in our everyday activities in school! Sensory play encourages the brain development in the infants and helps them to make sense of the world we live in. One day, we provided the children with a sand bin. There were shells and other materials in the bin to serve as a provocation. We provided them a time period to use dry sand, and then after a while, we added water to give the sand a different texture.
Sensory bags were also provided for our children this week! Reusable plastic bags were filled with paint, oil, and water and then materials were added to the bags. This provided the children with an opportunity to explore texture and color while they played. They played with them on their own and on top of the light table.
This sensory activity is a wonderful activity for the infants. Each can use the material in his/her own way. Our younger children begin to strengthen their fine motor skills and take time to manipulate the bag and feel the textures within it. While the older children can take time to analyze the materials as they manipulate the bag.
The Reggio Emilia classroom accommodates all of these learners through sensory play and documentation. The four primary learning styles include visual, auditory, read-write, and kinesthetic. Through the use of sight, hearing, touch, and smell (not taste this time), playing with the sand and the sensory bags engages learning, exploration, and
Through the incorporation of all the senses, messy play presents the children with an opportunity to investigate and explore the world around them. The sensory activities and the light table developed cognitive, linguistic, social, physical and creative skills. Cognitively, the children worked together to problem solve and make predictions about the bags, ultimately cultivating analytical skills. Linguistically, the sensory activities allow for the children to define words they are experiencing for the first time. Socially, sensory play inspires the children to collaborate, gaining confidence in sharing their ideas with others. Physically, exploring different materials and textures promotes fine motor skills or hand-eye coordination. Creativity is also fostered; for the children are encouraged to mold the sand and use materials they are interested in learning about.
Overall, sensory play makes a unique connection with the children and the environment. This relationship encourages mental, emotional and physical development. Having the teachers implementing all the learning styles, every child is able to learn to their best ability and carry this knowledge through life.