The Five Senses – Children’s Key to Explore the World
Sensory play is one of the most important learning topics for preschool children. However, the increasing use of electronic devices has led to a decrease in sensory play, affecting children’s physical, mental and especially neural development.
During the early years of development, children use their senses as the primary means to receive information and explore the world. Such is the reason for their tendency to touch and put everything in their mouth, or make funny noises with their toys. Through sensory play activities and games, children’s sensory nervous system is reinforced to ensure optimal development of their brain.
1. Five important benefits for paying attention to your child’s sensory development from early childhood
- Brain development and cognitive growth: building neural connections in the brain, helping to increase the ability to accomplish complex learning tasks, enhance memory and concentration, and reduce attention deficit in children.
- Development of motor skills: the two main motor skills that preschool children need to develop include gross motor skills (the coordination of large muscle groups) and fine motor skills (the use and coordination of small muscle groups of the hands).
- Development of language skills: Through exposure and interaction with the surrounding world, children build large vocabulary storage and learn new ways of talking about their surrounding world, when playing with different types of textures, smells, sounds and objects.
- Improved social interaction and problem-solving skills: Sensory play encourages learning through exploration, building curiosity, problem-solving skills and creativity. By enhancing imagination, thinking and perception, children can improve their social interaction and problem-solving abilities.
- Self-calming therapy for children: Many studies show that sensory play is a therapy with a significant calming effect, especially when children are agitated and anxious. Sensory play makes children become calmer, less restless, and able to regulate their internal discomfort.
2. Suggested activities for kindergarten children
Sensory play games are basically games that engage children in using their five main senses. There are many activities that help develop multi-sensory skills for preschool children, from simple ones like playing with sand, water and clay (involving touch) to more complex ones like experimentation with color mixing, sorting and classification (sight), or blindfolded guessing games involving smell, taste, and/or hearing. It is important that adults always ask questions about the child’s experience, such as:
- How does it feel to you?
- Does it smell good?
- Do you like its sound?
- What does it look like?
There are many multi-sensory learning activities that parents can refer to through Vinschool kindergarten children’s videos (Click here) with interesting games such as:
- Sensory painting
- Shapes and figures hunt, letter creation
- Ball passing with feet, apple passing with paper
- Blindfolded food guessing, blindfolded image dropping, blindfolded jigsaw puzzle
- Scent discrimination, sound classification
- The power of the wind, the magic of water
These are simple activities that parents carry out together with their children at home. A wide variety of other activities can be played within the family to help children learn and play at the same time, such as folding clothes to feel different kinds of fabric; using household appliances to learn different kinds of materials such as wood, stainless steel, and plastic; and letting children participate in preparing meals, so that they can smell, taste and guess the names of the foods.
3. Explore Mysterious Scientific World at Science Fair
During the week from July 11, 2022, Vinschool kindergarten children have the opportunity to attend a Science Fair with 5 fascinating discovery stations:
- Sensory Play Station – Corner for exploring artificial snow, sensory paths, sandpainting, shape and form in visual arts, etc.
- STEM Challenges – Corner for building 3D models of the Solar System.
- Fun Science with Plants – Corner for studying plants, sowing seeds, conducting experiments on color changing flowers, photosynthesis, etc.
- Colorful Design Station – Corner for making marble paintings and dyeing/drawing handicraft towels/clothes.
- Fun Toy Factory – Corner for making tech toys such as toy rockets, bubble cars, lava lamps, etc.
These scientific experiences – which are part of Vinschool Kindergarten’s curriculum and Stage 1 of the Cambridge International curriculum – feature a great deal of interesting science experiments and discoveries. Through these activities, children’s curiosity and passion for science will be nurtured from preschool age.
References: Education Play Care & Verywell – Dotdash Meredith.