blog | 09.01.20

5 Benefits of Sensory Play for Elementary Classrooms

From the day they are born up until late childhood, kids learn from their surroundings. Sensory exploration is naturally stimulated in babies and young children because their understanding of the world around them is still in development. While what they experience everyday contributes to their sensory learning, we can further stimulate them by encouraging sensory play or introducing sensory tools at school and in the home. Here, we’ll take a look at ways that parents and teachers can help stimulate sensory play at home and in the classroom.

5 Ways Sensory Play Benefits Elementary Age Children

Builds Nerve Connections
As children are continually exposed to new experiences through sensory play, they strengthen the links in their developing neural networks. In fact, a joint study from Monash University and Hong Kong Polytechnic University notes that each time children encounter a strong stimulus through sensory play, they develop nerve connections that enrich their patterns of learning and thought.

Alleviates Anxiety
Children often experience anxiety inside the classroom. Sensory tools can help reduce anxiety in a number of ways. One could be sensory play activities that involve aromatherapy, which has been confirmed by researchers from the University of Vienna. Sensory tools that promote relaxation can help reduce emotional disruptions and redirect focus.

Enhances Language Skills
As children engage in sensory play, they can develop make-believe scenarios that involve more language exchange than other activities. The more they relate vocabulary to texture, sound, and smell, the more they build their language skills.

Helps Develop Problem Solving Skills
Sensory play strengthens the nerve connections inside a child’s brain, allowing them to complete more complicated tasks. Simple sensory play involving countable objects, like blocks, can help develop a child’s math skills and depth perception. Sensory play inside the classroom, a child’s brain is works to classify and absorb different concepts.

Nurtures Creativity
Sensory play encourages a child to explore different learning materials using their hands, eyes, ears, and nose. Sensory experiences allow children to use different materials to create their own narratives which ultimately allows creativity to flourish.

How To Introduce Sensory Play In Classrooms

  • Virtual Reality – Tech writer Daniel Ling points out how AR and VR can be useful tools in the classroom. These tools can provide interactive and collaborative dimensions to learning. Whether they’re immersing themselves in the Solar System or the human body, children have an opportunity to execute sensory play through these audiovisual tools.
  • Interactive signs – creative and interactive visuals in the classrooms and hallways help enhance a child’s immersion in their environment.
  • Sensory lunch boxes – parents can provide sensory opportunities by being creative with their packed lunches. Fruit cut into fun shapes and nuggets shaped like letters could help stimulate a child without them even realizing it.

Sensory play is a crucial part of ensuring well-rounded cognitive development. While this bears more importance the younger children are, sensory play can still stimulate the senses well into late childhood.



Article was written for by Kerry Etter