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So... what is sensory play?

You’ve been to your local baby sensory play class and you quite enjoyed it. But all the activities left you with a burning question… “Just what is sensory play?”

You and every other parent are asking exactly the same question! Sensory play is one of the most popular topics in the baby world today, and sensory classes are some of the most ‘in demand’ Mum and baby classes up and down the country, with waiting lists growing and growing.

The good news is that parents have been doing sensory play with babies since the start of time, it’s just that now it’s got a fancy name.

As adults, we use our five senses to explore and make sense of the world around us – we look, listen, touch, smell and taste. And babies and children do exactly the same. Sensory exploration is not only fun, but vital for brain development too.

We barely notice what our senses take it unless it’s something new or incredibly strong (for example the smell of garlic) but for a baby… everything is new! So to build an understanding of the world around them, they need to explore it using their senses. By doing so, they will come to understand people, objects and interactions as a result.

Sensory play is any activity that stimulates one of more of your baby’s senses. There’s such a variety of activities that will do this, especially using everyday items around the home (think pans and wooden spoons all those years ago!).

By stimulating baby’s senses, you're helping them:

  • Build nerve connection in their brain

  • Refine motor skills

  • Develop language and communication skills

  • Learn to solve problems

  • Increase memory function

  • Concentrate

  • Regulate their emotions

  • Understand different sensory attributes (e.g. soft vs. hard)

  • Develop awareness of their body

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