"Every child is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its entire life believing it is stupid."
-Albert Einstein

We are excited to introduce a sensory lab to your child’s day! Sensory play includes any activity that stimulates your young child’s senses: touch, smell, taste, sight and hearing. Sensory activities and sensory tables facilitate exploration and naturally encourage children to use scientific processes while they play, create, investigate and explore. Spending time stimulating their senses helps children develop cognitively, linguistically, socially, emotionally, physically and creatively.

 

Children (and adults) learn best and retain the most information when they engage their senses. Many of our favorite memories are associated with one or more of our senses: for instance, the smell of a summer night campfire or a song grandma taught you as you baked cookies. Now, when your nostrils and eardrums are stimulated with those familiar smells and sounds respectively, your brain triggers a flashback memory to those special times.

 

Cognitive: The most obvious cognitive skills sharpened by sensory play are problem solving and decision making. Simply present a child with a problem and various materials with which to find a solution, and you can almost see the connections their brains are making. Children can build math skills such as comparing size (big vs small), counting and one-to-one correspondence (matching numbers to objects), timing (does water or oil move faster?), matching (same sizes and shapes), and sorting and classifying (buttons, beans or rice), and science skills such as cause and effect (what happens when I add water to sand?), gravity (water slides down a funnel, not up) and states of matter (ice melts). Without realizing it, children grow into amateur scientists by making predictions and observations, and even develop analysis skills.

 

Linguistic: Children can’t define parts of language until they’ve experienced the true meaning of the word. The attempt to convey something without the proper words to do so can be frustrating! Sensory play encourages children to use descriptive and expressive language: slimy doesn’t mean much until you touch something slimy. Children will develop pre-writing skills as they pour, spoon, grasp, and work on eye-hand coordination tasks while using various materials.

 

Social and Emotional: Certain sensory play options, like sensory tables allow children to be in complete control of their actions and experiences, which boosts their confidence in decision making and inspires their eagerness to learn and experiment. Sensory play can also teach kids about cooperation and collaboration. As the children work together or side by side, they learn to understand someone else’s viewpoint. The children also have the opportunity to express themselves and become confident in sharing their ideas with others.

 

Physical: Fine motor skills are often defined as the coordination of small muscle movement (usually hand-eye coordination), that enables us to perform a variety of important tasks. For children, these task might include tying shoes, zipping zippers and even turning the pages of a book. Gross motor skills involve the larger muscles of the body and include activities such as walking, running, pushing, pulling and throwing a ball.