Sensory play is one of the strategies that the brain uses for creating connections that will be used in all kinds of learning, including kindergarten readiness. An additional two senses are the sense of the body’s position in space and the sense of movement. Have you ever watched a very young child going round and round in a circle? That child is discovering how the body feels as it moves. Some kids like to pretend that they are falling or tripping over things. Again, they are exploring both movement and the body in space. Hanging over the edge of the bed or the sofa upside down is also sensory play.
Many kids’ games such as Ring Around The Rosie and others are a form of sensory play. Do your little ones like to play The Bumpy Road where you bounce them on your knees up and down just a little bit over a smooth road, then a bumpy road, a rough road and finally, a hole in the road, where you tip them over and catch them? One child at a time of course, but even the older ones will line up for a turn.
Not all houses have a big space for big body play, but smaller areas like hallways will work. Kids can slither, hop, creep, crawl, swim, and more. Suggest a few animals and have your child show how they move. Another inside activity is trying some yoga poses. Tell your child that he or she is now a creature from outer space called a jumparoo and send the alien off to a spot to jump for a minute–but not on the bed. A couple of dozen jumps will take the frenzy off an energy level and maybe give you a calmer minute or two…occasionally. Kids can move stiffly like robots too or in slow motion. Putting on some music and letting your child dance is another way to explore movement and body position. It’s also fun for grownups.
What are some other ways to encourage movement activities and sensory play?