Young children learn about the World around them through their senses. From birth, children learn by touching, smelling, tasting, seeing, and hearing. Sensory toys encourage children to interact with, and explore their surroundings. They can teach new skills and develop a child’s senses whilst contributing to brain development and hand-eye co-ordination. Bright colours and action-based toys will make playtime fun and enjoyable whilst enhancing a child’s creativity and imagination.
Sensory equipment is designed to promote relaxation, stimulation, exploration and enjoyment. Children with disabilities can benefit greatly from sensory toys, not only do they stimulate the senses but they are a perfect way for parents to engage with their children and share in their experiences.
Light Up Toys
Sensory lights have the ability to create both a stimulating and calming environment. Bright and flashing lights can be lively and energising whilst simple light sequences and colour changing toys are a way of promoting focus and concentration. Flashing light toys are a fantastic way to grab a child’s attention. They can promote non-verbal communication and connections for the visually impaired or those with hearing difficulties, opening up a whole new world of light.
Light up toys produce a wide range of unique visual effects, which include the use of fibre optics and flashing, spinning and colour changing lights. Lights can be projected onto the wall of a darkened room to really engage the imagination. Light toys can be enjoyed on different levels by all abilities as a way to awaken the senses.
Musical instruments and noise making toys are super for engaging children with special needs and hearing difficulties. The auditory feedback allows the child to get creative and experiment with volume, tone and rhythm. It can be a unique way for children with limited speech to express themselves through sound.
Shakers, bells, drums and whistles all provide a variety of different sounds whilst introducing the child to ’cause and effect’. The ability to exert influence by making noises are great for a child’s development.
Textured toys help children to explore their senses through touch. Blind and partially sighted children particularly benefit from these types of toys as an aid to communication. The contrasting textures are a way for children to experience new feelings and sensations, which lays the foundation for learning other skills.
Distraction toys enable children to turn their attention away from stressful situations, giving them relief and aiding their ability to cope. Bubbles, harmonicas, feathers and kazoos all encourage deep breathing, which helps to relax the body. A flashing light toy or magic wand can capture the child’s attention and allow them to gently calm themselves and focus on something other than what is causing distress.
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Author – Colin McDonald. I primarily write as a parent with a wealth of experience with caring for children. I am a regular blogger and participate in a number of online communities. For research I used the following website – www.collinscare.co.uk.