How can PLAY engage the senses?
Sliding provides kids with a rich sensory experience. Their visual and vestibular systems actively recieve information about the speed and pull of gravity. Tactile and proprioceptive systems collect information on the slide's texture and the pressure needed to slow doesn to land on the ground. This sensory input helps children develop a better sense of balance and motor planning to accurately move in their world.
Spinnng is one of the core movements that engage the vestibular system. When a child spins on a tire swing or any other equipment, they are providing their brain with valuable equilibruim information. This information connects with inputs from their muscles and joints to help them maintain their body posture and balance in the world.
Swinging back and forth is more than it seems. This simple motion provides each child's nervous system with a wealth of visual, vestibular, and proprioceptive information. Children gain an understanding of how their body moves through space, the speed of movements they are comfortable with, and the motor planning necessary to resist or increase active movement.
All children desire to climb and conqour. Climbing involves four key sensory systems, tactile, proprioception, vestibular, and visual. Each system actively collects information about textures, muscle activiation needed to pull against gravity, and integrates with what the child sees while climbing. This information helps create "sensory-motory intelligence" and "visual spatial perception," allowing kids to effectively relate to objects and navigate in the world.
When children play together, they encourage each other to develop in ways that they couldn't alone. Social imaginative play lets children integrate previous sensory knowledge with new experience to expand their understanding of the world. Through playful interaction, children turn make-believe ideas into real ones in their world.
Children touch everything because it's the most dependable sensory system. It's also the first to develop and the longest to stay in our lives. Tactile input helps the brain organize information for developing visual and auditory systems. Play experiences that provide children a variety of touch opportunities are necessary to help the nervous system organize all the sensory information from the environment.
Through sensory play, children discover their world and how to be succussful in it. They develop behaviors based on what they touch, see, hear, taste, smell, how they move and position their body in space. The broad play experiences from sensory-rich equipment allows children to integrate and develop their senses. The more they play, the more they develop skills necessay to engage, change, and impact the world around them.