The importance of sensory play


The importance of sensory play



Children are born as little investigators. They are eager to discover the world around them using their senses. Their learning can be helped by having the opportunity to enjoy tactile experiences. Through sensory play children get to express themselves and develop confidence as individuals in sharing their ideas with others.

From little investigators come little scientists who make predictions and observations on what they see. They will work cooperatively and collaboratively with their friends, to discover and explore their environment, develop their imagination and have the ability to problem solve and experiment.




Sensory play helps physical development through the manipulation of a range of materials, which promote fine and gross motor skills.

At First Friends day nursery our children have the opportunity to enjoy sensory experiences by following a four weekly plan. Activities include, corn flour play, jelly, gloop and shaving foam. Parents can work with their children just as easily as we can in the nursery setting. To get you going, we would like to share with you these recipes and activities you can enjoy at home with your child.






Play Dough

Mix the ingredients together in a pan and stir over medium heat until smooth. Remove from the heat and knead until smooth.
Children enjoy using playdough to make their creations. At nursery our children use their imagination to make pretend foods and generally experience pleasure from just experimenting with a range of tools and mark-making equipment. This type of sensory play is accessible to all our children and does not require particular skills or dexterity.

Saltbread Dough

This can be a great activity for making presents for loved ones and it is rewarding for children when they have been involved in their own resource making and can see the end results.

In a large bowl mix salt and flour together.
Gradually stir in water. Mix well until it forms a doughy consistency. Turn the dough onto the bench and kneed with your hands until smooth and combined. Make your creations using the salt dough. Place the salt dough creations into the oven at 180C and then turn the heat down to slow bake.  The amount of time needed to bake depends on the size and thickness of the salt dough creations.

Cornflour Play

Add water to a tray of cornflour for children to enjoy the different texture. It is important not to add too much water but enough to be able to manipulate the cornflour. It has an interesting texture, feeling both wet and dry, and can feel solid while being held and at the same time will run through fingers like water.