Sensory play is also known as "messy play". This type of play stimulates children to use one or more of their senses of touch, smell, taste, sight and hearing. Among its many benefits sensory play supports a child's cognitive growth, language development and social interactions. The use of sensory activities naturally encourages a child to use the scientific processes. Children are encouraged to use their natural curiosity to explore. Children learn and retain the most information when they engage their senses. With so many benefits to sensory play why not try it?
I've included one activity to get you started:
Rainbow Colored Beans
Beans or dried pasta are inexpensive and can offer loads of fun. If there's an older sibling you can involve them with the prep work as well. There are so many ways your children can enjoy this activity. I have witnessed 2-7 year olds become engaged with this activity and play for hours.
You will need:
About 6lbs of beans
large ziplock baggies
Add about 1/4 of a teaspoon of rubbing alcohol to a baggie. Then chose the color you want and add a few drops, mixing the alcohol and food coloring together to make sure you get the depth of the color that you would like.
Next add the beans and begin to mix and shake. If the color is not dark enough add few more drops of food coloring. Using rubbing alcohol insures that your beans will dry quickly, and in my experience it helps to set the food coloring so that your child’s hands aren’t a rainbow of color after they have finished playing. This is just one example of a sensory play activity.