Sensory toys... where do I even begin?
From the moment we are able to see, hear, feel, move, and taste, we are ready for sensory toys and sensory stimulation.
As discussed in several other articles within this site, children actually learn through their senses. Without proper sensory stimulation, your child WILL suffer in some way. They will be unable to meet normal developmental milestones and experience the world properly.
I simply can not stress enough the critical importance of providing infants, toddlers, and young children with every kind of sensory stimulation possible. And this, my friend, is where sensory toys come into play (no pun intended; well... yes there was actually)!
(NC)—The first few years of a child's life are full of new and exciting experiences that are absorbed like a sponge through the five senses: touch, taste, smell, sight and sound. From birth, newborns are bombarded with a busy world that they must learn to master. It is the senses that pave the way for a child's development throughout his or her life.
"From birth, parents must choose toys and learning tools for their child that are fun and enjoyable to play with and that also foster sensorial growth to ensure a more complete development process," says Dr. Kathleen Alfano, leading child Researcher and Director of the Fisher-Price Child Research Department.
A baby can start to develop hand-eye coordination, watch moving objects and be able to distinguish colour and form within the first few months. Toys that will help develop these skills include the Peek-a-Blocks Sensory: Sound Sensations Blocks - a creative and fun alternative to classic building blocks. Different series of these clear, stackable blocks are filled with everything from cute animals to fun shapes and foster the development of different senses. Touch Sensations Blocks are made of different textures for baby to explore and Sound Sensations include blocks that ring and squeak.
Finding toys that will stimulate a few senses at a time are also helpful in sensory development, as a child will have to learn that in most situations, combining senses are crucial to perception. The Winnie The Pooh 1, 2, 3 Exploring Tree from Fisher-Price will keep a baby engaged and captivated from the time he/she can sit up to the time he/she can stand. Along the base, basic infant activities nurture hand-eye coordination, while Winnie The Pooh sits atop the tree among a flurry of soft, bright butterflies.
Introducing a baby to sounds, bright colours and action-based toys will make playtime more fun and enjoyable and is a good way to enhance a child's creative abilities and imagination from an early age, teaching him/her to unlock the wonder and excitement of the world around them by simply making "sense" of it.
- News Canada
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Children NEED sensory toys! Without proper sensory stimulation, development WILL suffer! Think about all 5 of your senses, as well as the three additional senses we talk about in sensory integration theory (proprioception, tactile, and vestibular... as described in "Sensory Integration Dysfunction Symptoms, What You Must Know!" and make sure you use sensory toys that will stimulate each of these senses. Remember, infants, toddlers, and children MUST taste, smell, touch, feel, see, hear, and move!
Please, I beg of you...give your children the sensory input they need. Otherwise, we will be treating them when their development begins to become impacted. This will happen in any or all of the following areas; learning, sustaining attention and focus, playing, socializing, sleeping, grooming, etc.
To find HUGE lists of particular sensory toys, products, and equipment to
address specific areas of need, check out:
Sensory Integration Products
Sensory Integration Equipment
I do hope you have fun playing with your child and stimulating all of their senses! Sensory toys will be a thrill for your little ones, and personally rewarding for you; knowing that you are significantly contributing to their neurological development and learning experiences.
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