Sensory rich play is important to help children develop and strengthen their sensory processing capabilities as well as general wellbeing. Being out in Nature is a wonderful way for children to have really rich and engaging sensory experiences which is why we offer our Bush Kindy program at Little Locals.
Hands-on, self-directed play encourages exploration, discovery and learning. It supports scientific thinking because it requires experimentation, hypothesising, researching and investigating outcomes. When something doesn’t work out how they expect, children have to figure out what happened, adapt, adjust and try again. Learning to experiment in this way supports the development of critical thinking and later academic learning
Sensory Play helps children’s developing brains establish and strengthen neural pathways. New, interesting and fun experiences create the kind of neural connections that improve a child’s ability to engage in complex learning activities.
Research shows that regular messy play increases children’s willingness to try new foods. Fruits and vegetables are prone to change, either due to ripening or as a result of how they’re cooked. By exploring different textures and tactile sensations during Sensory and Messy Play, including playing with the natural textures of fresh foods, children gain the experience and confidence needed to later try these foods at the dinner table.
There’s no right or wrong way to engage in sensory-rich play. Because this style of play is so open-ended it’s particularly useful for children with different learning, thinking styles, multilingual children, neurodivergent children or those with special needs.