Sensory play is fun for kids, it is also one of the best way for them to learn! Sensory play simply means play that engages their senses such as touch, sounds, etc. Engaging their senses allows children to retain information and learn while they play. There are many ways to encourage this type of play.
Not only is sensory play fun, it is also important for sensory development in all children. But it can be especially important for children who were adopted. Oftentimes a child in an orphanage is deprived of normal touch and experiences lining up with development such as rolling over, touching new toys, being cuddled by an attuned caregiver.
Sometimes sensory deprivation can lead to a sensory system that is off balance, and children who have difficulties with textures, sensory avoidant or sensory seeking. Our youngest had a bit of both, but can be very leery of different textures. When our OT told us that touch feeds the brain, and started working with him, we started learning just how important it is.
He likes play dough, but I wanted to boost it up a notch, so we took it back to seventh grade science class: Ooblek! For the boys, we called it Dragon Tooth paste, since it seemed more mystical to their level.
Our son Finley loved it, and spent long minutes squeezing it in his hands, and watching it slowly stretch into the bowl below. A mess never bothered him.
Elijah dove in, thinking it was play dough, then realized it was much stickier…in fact it was sticking to him!
Sometimes, as they are acclimating and processing their senses, it’s good to give them a task to get their minds off of it, while still experiencing the feelings, allowing the organizing in their systems to happen.
“Elijah, I hid a little, tiny toy in your Dragon Tooth Paste, can you find it?” (A sequin…not easy : )
His eyes perked up, focusing on his goal. Playing, organizing, learning.
Once in a while, he would try to shake it off, brush it off, all to no avail (which is actually good, and allowed him to continue playing) but for the most part, he got into it and enjoyed the experience.
It was a very calming and quiet task for them.
For our daughter, we talked about matter, looked up what characteristics constituted a liquid, and what a solid. She tested and experimented, baffled that it fell under so many categories, and retained this information because she experienced it with her senses, more so than if she were taking notes. You can teach them the term, “Non-Newtonian Liquid.”
To make Dragon Tooth Paste (Ooblek) you only need three simple ingredients:
-2 cups corn starch
-1 cup water
-food coloring (Optional) (Double optional, essential oils for even more sensory play)
I let Finley do the mixing, and asked him to add 5 drops for food coloring, so he added about 20.
If this project looks too messy for you–perhaps you should do it and play with it, too! 😉 But know, everything is water soluble, and it cleans up with just a wet paper towel, even though it looks sticky, clean up is a breeze. Enjoy!
Pin it for later——> http://www.pinterest.com/pin/181762534935472304/