From the moment a baby is born, they begin to process and learn new information using their 5 senses -sight, sound, touch, taste and smell. Each different sensory experience stimulates different parts of the brain forming new neural pathways. For example, the parietal lobe (mid-brain) comes into play whenever your child uses their sense of touch, when they smell it is mostly the the temporal lobe they are engaging, and the occipital lobe (back of brain) is important when they have unique visual experiences (Hines, 2021).
This makes sensory play a critical aspect of early childhood development. As the child plays they will be building new neural connections that support language development, cognitive growth, fine and gross motor skills, problem solving skills, and creative thinking skills. Research has also shown than sensory play can be self-regulating for children by helping them calm down and refocus.
Engaging (and educational) sensory toys for kids don't need to be expensive! You can also make an affordable, fun DIY sensory play dough playkit with one of the Earlybird printables, a few loose parts and some play dough.
- Pick up a storage container (the dollarstore often has several!)
- On the Earlybird platfrom, choose which playkit you want to make
- Print and cut out the printable and add them to your container
- Add a few loose parts to your playkit (buttons, stones, popsicle sticks, feathers, glass gems, pompoms, small toys etc.)
- Add some play dough to your playkit
- Get playing!
We have step by step instructions on the Earlybird platform for each of our playkits. Join us!