Sensory Play

Sensory play is quite the buzz word lately, especially on pinterest. There are hundreds of photos labeled sensory that show kids playing with bins of things, often making huge messes. We do sensory bins weekly and it is one of my favorite activities for the little boys when they are board. For a long time I thought of sensory play as just tactile exploration, but that is just one type. Sensory processing involves the way your body and brain input and process sensory experiences. Sensory play is intentionally creating opportunities for kids to explore various sensory input.

6 Types of Sensory Play - A Series From For This Season

This week I’m joining several other bloggers for the 6 days of Sensory Play Blog Hop. We will be posting resources and ideas for six types of sensory play: (as my posts go live I will link them below, for now I’m just posting my definitions).

Tactile is the things you touch: exploring texture, temperature, pressure, and vibrations.

Vestibular is gross motor movement involving balance and the inner ear.

Olfactory is the sense of smell. I also include taste in this because most of our olfactory experiences happen in the kitchen.

Proprioceptive involves body awareness through input from joint and muscle tissue. Proprioceptive sensory play is often called heavy work for the joints and muscles.

Auditory is the things you hear. How well can you pay attention and process verbal instructions.

Visual is the things you see. I’m a big believer in a prepared environment for kids, especially finding a balance of visual input in play and learning areas.

When I started working on this series, I had no idea how many different types of sensory play there actually are. It’s been fascinating! I’m far from an expert, but I have found in the last few weeks that being aware of the different types of sensory input has helped me understand my boys’ behavior more. As I plan for our preschool co-op this summer and the next school year, I will be incorporating these 6 types of sensory play often.

How do you use sensory play in your home?

  • Vanessa

    Love this! Thanks for giving definitions to the different kinds of sensory play! I can’t wait to put these into practice with Little Bee. :)

  • Katie @ Cup of Tea

    I’m looking forward to the series!

  • Amy Purvis Paskell

    Sensory play in our house is a sanity savor for me. I love how it can calm my kids down and help them focus. I really notice that it helps my son focus and his communication skills get so much better during and after sensory play.

    • BeckyMarie

      I’ve noticed the same thing! Especially for my littlest who is really into tactile play. He doesn’t has as much frustration over lack of communication when I have sensory activities for him.