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What is sensory exploratory play?

November 2, 2015

We all learn from our senses – from seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling and touching. We also learn from the sensation of movement. Your play—and your child’s—should include all of these sensations.

How can I help my child use the senses to explore and learn?
Birth to age 1 – Hang mobiles across the crib to provide new sights. Babies enjoy sound games as they approach their first birthdays. Hide musical toys so you child can locate them.
The 1-year-old explores by touching. In a special drawer, keep objects that are safe to touch and play with, such as a wooden spoon, funnel and old pan. A flashlight is another toy for this age. Sand and water play is fun too.
The 2-year-old touches and tastes everything, so keep electrical outlets protected and cords out of reach. He is able to match textures and likes to play “name that smell” game with soap, coffee and other familiar smells.
The 3-year-old is learning more about the world. Imitation is how they act out this understanding: they “bake” mud pies, “drive” a car, and “sweep” the floor. He enjoys blowing bubbles, splashing in water, and playing in sand.
The 4-year-old loves to run and chase, and to kick a ball. He loves to pretend to be someone else and enjoys dressing up. He can roll sections of play dough and form people.
The 5-year-old can climb up steps to a slide, ride a bicycle and use a monkey bar. He can learn to swim, skate, ski, dance and use a trampoline. He adds details to drawings, and may print his name.