Sensory based play is how we learn to move our bodies and figure out what our bodies enjoy. Are you the type that enjoys rollercoasters and the twisty teacups? Or maybe you prefer the Ferris Wheel? Perhaps you hate wool sweaters but love silk shirts; or even in sports for those who perform better with soccer than bowling.
All these preferences and skills are first discovered through sensory based play. We engage our children in tickle games, rough housing and messy play to see what their reactions are. Later, as their skills improve, we may notice how they excel in certain sports that require improved hand eye coordination.
We have six basic sensory systems: smell, taste, hearing, vision, proprioception (pressure on our skin) and vestibular (sense of movement). Each of these senses takes in the world around us and is processed by the brain, and all of our brains handle this information a little differently. It's important that we guide our children in exploring their sensory system to figure out what they like and dislike. Again, we will tap into co-regulating with them by making it an interactive experience with increases and decreases of each sensation. Maybe gentle tickles feel more like scratches to your child but firm bear hugs are just right. By playing together and giving different amounts of each input, you can help them modulate and control their bodies.
In the video below, I will explain each sense and provide examples of sensory-based play activities.