Mimi, Lets Play!!
I’m always looking for new, educational and fun ways to play together when the grand littles come over for a play date. A great resource for me has always been to scour Pinterest for ideas. As you do so, you’re sure to notice that “sensory play” is all the rage!
What is sensory play? I asked myself this same question and thankfully my Pediatric Occupational Therapist daughter shed some light on this type of play for me. Sensory play focuses on stimulating children’s senses of sight, sound, smell, touch, taste, balance and movement. Basically, sensory experiences are like food for the brain and sensory play is crucial for our grandchild’s development. Sensory input helps children learn about their environment, creativity, cognitive growth, fine/gross motor skills, problem solving and more.
It can be tricky living in Arizona with outdoor temps in the 100’s for months on end and sadly it limits the amount of time playing outdoors where there is an abundance of sensory play opportunities. As a result I found myself searching for indoor sensory play as I didn’t want our time together to involve the television, battery operated toys or tablets and to make sure their sensory needs were being met.
BUT HERES THE GOOD NEWS!
We don’t need to recreate every sensory activity we’ve pinned on Pinterest!! Here are just a few simple sensory activities you can try with your grandchild:
~Play with water! We purchased this Little Tykes Water Table and its still a
favorite of ours, five years later. We venture outdoors before 10am for this.
~ Play with shaving cream, Jell-O made with cookie cutters, dried or cooked pasta,
dried beans or lentils. And of course our grandchildren LOVE to play with our Tupperware and kitchen utensils and the noise can almost be music to our ears.
~ Have a Dance Party - sing and dance to music. Let them use scarves and ribbon
~ Build with blocks, using empty cardboard boxes or even canned goods.
~ Add essential oils or extracts to play dough and talk about the different scents.
~ One of our FAVORITES is to play with Sensory Water Beads!! You can buy the
same brand we love on Amazon. It’s a great way for little ones to improve
their fine motor skills. Water Beads also provide a sense of relaxation!
~ Lastly there is an Instagram account that has a lot of really great activities for
toddler’s and preschoolers. Just search for the page: busytoddler / Susie Allison
I hope you found this post helpful as you begin planning your next play date with your grandchild. Please feel free to share in the comments below any tips or ideas that I should plan on trying during our next play date.
And remember to cherish this Grand season of life!!