Since reading my last post I am sure you are saying to yourself “Ok cool that’s what these sensory bins are, BUT what exactly are the benefits besides having fun and of course making a mess?!?” Having fun and making a mess IS a great reason to have your kiddos use them. But, there are also a ton of developmental benefits that your child can gain.
Sensory play is important for brain development and encourages neuroplasticity in the brain. Neuroplasticity is your brain’s ability to change pathways, synapsis, and behavior. Your brain does this in response to sensory stimulation, new information, development, damage, or dysfunction. By allowing our kiddos to explore through sensory bins, we are helping their brain to develop proper sensory processing capabilities. When we encourage children to learn through various senses, we are allowing them to learn more and retain information better. It also provides children the opportunity to practice increasing the ability to complete more complex learning tasks.
How Children Develop Skills Through Sensory Play
By engaging in and integrating sensory play, our kids are able to explore through all their senses. We may think they are “just playing”, but they are actually building on a wide variety of important skills. These skills include creativity, social/emotional development, linguistic, cognitive, and fine motor to name a few.
Up next, I’m going to provide you with some examples of HOW sensory bins benefit children’s development!
Benefits During Early Childhood
Sensory Bins: Emotional Development Benefits
Oftentimes sensory bins promote self regulation by providing sensory input and a calming effect for kids. Self regulation is a component of emotional development. The benefits of sensory play are even more evident when children are angry, frustrated or overstimulated. This is because sensory bins provide children a productive distraction. The open play nature of sensory bins make it developmentally appropriate always.
Sensory Bins: Fine Motor Development Benefits
Sensory bins can help develop fine motor skills through grasping, stirring, pouring, digging, and scooping. Benefits include developing different grasp patterns that your child will need for a variety of activities, such as handwriting and eating! Sensory play also help strengthen your child’s hands, coordination, and in-hand manipulation skills.
Sensory Bins: Benefits to Creativity
Offering open ended exploration helps children build a sense of imagination and creativity. Sensory bins benefits creativity through the use of different materials, tools, textures and more!
Sensory Bins: Social Skills Development Benefits
Social skills: Children integrate social skills into sensory play by taking turns with a peer or adult. Social skills are also developed by children asking and answering questions while participating in sensory bin play.
Sensory Bins: Language Development and Acquisition Benefits
Sensory bins can involve a variety of different materials. Just about anything in sensory bins can be used to elicit receptive and expressive language.
Kids can practice labeling pictures or objects or talk about how things feel/smell using descriptive words. They can also work on receptively identifying objects or practice demonstrating positional concepts. Following single or multi-step directions are also benefits of sensory bins along with many others.
Sensory Bins: Cognitive Development Benefits
Participating in play through sensory bins can open up a whole world of cognitive skill development. This includes cause and effect, scientific reasoning, problem-solving, and a wide variety of reading and mathematical concepts.
That was a lot of information, but I hope you understand why sensory bins are important. The numerous benefits of sensory play are also the reason why they are such an integral part of many preschool classrooms. Now, it’s time to get to the fun part! Just HOW do we make these things?!?! Many parents are too afraid of the mess to try it at home. You don’t need to have a teachers assistant to do it. In my next post, I will be sharing all my fun tips so that you too can make some pretty awesome at-home sensory bins!
I have two children, my daughter Peyton is almost 7 (going on 17), and my son Parker is currently in the terrible-two stage (fun times here!). I am always looking for fun things to keep them busy or at the least give me two minutes of peace.