There is something magical about sensory play for children. I believe it gives the children an opportunity to experience their world using all their senses. Although they experience a lot of the world with their eyes, it is essential to get their senses of smell, taste, touch and hearing involved in the learning process, too.
Ever since I started teaching, setting up a sensory corner has always been one of my favourite parts of early childhood learning. For my ISC students, it is pure magic every time they are able to engage in sensory play and the messier it is, the better! When you walk into our classroom, you will see boxes, tubes, funnels, containers, and sensory tubs which are full of gloriously colourful, squishy, soft, hard, smooth, bumpy, sticky, gooey, and smelly materials.
I also love setting up a sensory table that matches our theme in EY2 or bringing in seasonal topics to make my sensory table even more engaging. Last October, our students decided to decorate our sensory table with real pine cones, leaves, pumpkins, and apples which were related to our topic about autumn. We also used autumn coloured jelly for our messy play and used other jellies for sorting and counting. Since October was also a time for ‘trick or treat’, we maintained the autumn colours, kept the pumpkins, added spooky insects, and dangled my our handprint bats around the net canopy to spice up the setting. The children loved and enjoyed playing in this area and it was a rewarding sight to see them having a great time learning and practicing skills that will help them to become confident learners.
Particularly important, is the language that is generated as the pupils play in the sensory area. Even reluctant speakers of English play, think, communicate, explore, discover, and learn meaningfully through their senses. Planning and setting up the sensory areas takes time and effort but it is well worth it when I consider the results which are always positive and thought-provoking.