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Engaging in sensory activities at home can be a fun way for kids to explore their senses and enhance their development. This Magnetic Sensory Bottle is super easy to make and is a great home daycare activity for your kids!
5 benefits of sensory play
Sensory play offers a wide range of benefits for children’s development and well-being. Here are five key advantages of engaging in sensory play:
- Enhanced Cognitive Development: Sensory play stimulates a child’s brain and promotes cognitive development. When children explore different textures, colors, shapes, and materials, they build neural pathways that contribute to problem-solving skills, memory, and creativity. It encourages them to ask questions, make connections, and develop their ability to think critically.
- Improved Fine and Gross Motor Skills: Activities involving sensory play often require fine and gross motor skills. Pouring, scooping, squeezing, and manipulating objects help develop hand-eye coordination, dexterity, and muscle strength. These skills are crucial for tasks like writing, tying shoelaces, and various daily activities.
- Sensory Integration: Sensory play allows children to explore and make sense of their environment. It helps them integrate information from their senses, such as touch, sight, sound, taste, and smell. This process supports self-regulation, emotional development, and the ability to filter and respond to sensory input effectively.
- Language and Communication Skills: Engaging in sensory activities often involves verbal communication with caregivers or peers. Children can describe what they see, feel, or experience during sensory play, which enhances their vocabulary, communication skills, and the ability to express themselves.
- Emotional and Social Development: Sensory play can have a calming and soothing effect on children, helping them manage stress, anxiety, and frustration. Additionally, when children engage in sensory play with others, it promotes social interaction, cooperation, and the development of social skills like sharing, taking turns, and problem-solving together.
Sensory play is an essential component of early childhood education and can be an enjoyable and enriching experience for children of all ages.
At home sensory activities
There are many great sensory activities you can do at home with your kids. And many of them you can even make yourself. Check some of these out:
- Sensory Bins: Create sensory bins by filling a shallow container with a base material such as rice, dried beans, sand, or colored pasta. Add small toys, scoops, and containers for kids to explore textures, pour, and dig. You can theme the bins based on their interests (e.g., dinosaur-themed, ocean-themed).
- Playdough: Homemade playdough is an excellent medium for sensory exploration. Kids can knead, shape, and manipulate the playdough to develop fine motor skills. Add scents, glitter, or textured items like beads or buttons to make it even more sensory-rich. Try our homemade playdough recipe.
- Finger Painting: Finger painting is a messy but enjoyable sensory activity. Provide non-toxic paint and large sheets of paper, and let kids create art using their fingers. They can feel the texture of the paint and paper as they create. If you just can’t stand the mess, you can put the paint in a gallon sized ziplock bag and seal it up and let the kids smash and feel it through the plastic. I know we all have to do what we can.
- Sensory Bottles: Make sensory bottles by filling empty, clear plastic bottles with water and various materials like glitter, beads, or small toys. Seal the bottles tightly and let kids shake, roll, and observe the contents. It’s a calming and visually stimulating activity.
- Nature Scavenger Hunt: Take kids on a nature scavenger hunt in your backyard or a nearby park. Encourage them to use their senses to find different items, such as leaves, rocks, flowers, or pinecones. They can touch, smell, and observe the objects they discover.
- Homemade Kinetic Sand: Create kinetic sand by mixing fine sand with cornstarch and water. This soft, moldable sand is excellent for sensory play and can be used to build shapes and sculptures.
- Sensory Painting: Experiment with sensory painting by using unconventional materials like cotton balls, sponges, or bubble wrap instead of brushes. Kids can dip these objects in paint and create textured artwork.
- Sensory Storytime: Choose a sensory-rich book and read it aloud to your child. Incorporate sensory elements by having them touch objects related to the story, smell scents, or listen to sounds mentioned in the book.
- Sensory Kitchen Play: Involve kids in sensory-rich activities in the kitchen, such as mixing cookie dough, making slime, or creating edible art with items like fruit, yogurt, and toppings.
- Texture Exploration: Gather a variety of textured materials like fabric scraps, sandpaper, feathers, and foam. Let kids touch and explore these textures, discussing the differences they notice.
Remember to supervise young children during sensory activities and ensure that the materials used are safe and age-appropriate.
Calming sensory bottle
Sensory calming activities are designed to provide relaxation, reduce stress, and promote a sense of calm by engaging the senses.
These activities can be especially helpful for individuals who experience sensory sensitivities, anxiety, or heightened stress levels. But they are good for all kids and help them in learning. The more sensory input children have, the more brain connections they form and the more learning they do.
Magnetic Sensory Bottle
- Pipe cleaners
- Colorful paper clips
- Magnetic circles
- Magnet wand
- Empty plastic bottle
- Super glue
- Drop the pipe cleaners, paper clips, and magnetic circles down into the bottle
- Close and glue the lid with super glue
- Use the magnetic wand to move the items inside the bottle around for hours of endless fun
You can add anything that is magnetic to your bottle or make separate bottles for each item.
A magnetic sensory bottle can be a calming and engaging tool for kids and adults to explore the principles of magnetism while also providing a visually captivating experience.