Encouraging Sensory Play
Sensory playground equipment appeals to multiple senses, such as touch, sight and hearing. There are many benefits to including sensory play on your playground:
- This type of play can help with the development of the senses, fine-tuning children’s ability to discern textures, colors and other differences in the world around them.
- Sensory play often also builds balance, fine motor skills and additional skills.
- This type of play can be soothing and calming for children.
- Sensory play can encourage curiosity, as senses are what help children explore the world.
- This type of play is a lot of fun for children and can encourage creativity.
- Sensory play sets the stage for more complex forms of learning.
- This type of play can help children who have sensitivities to sensory exposure become more familiar and comfortable with sensory experiences.
- Sensory play encourages hands-on and active learning.
Quite simply, including sensory elements in your playground makes the play experience that much richer by engaging the child more fully in play.
How to Include Sensory Components in Your Playground
There are many ways to engage the senses on your playground:
- Engage the sense of sight with fun and colorful playground equipment in different shapes. The Colossus® Slide, for example, has a big red surface that stands out, as well as an unusual wavy shape.When trying to engage the visual sense, look for playground equipment in bright colors, contrasting colors and unusual shapes. Pieces such as N-R-G Builders® offer lots of colors and shapes to please the eye. This playground structure also has the equipment to appeal to touch and other senses.
- Engage the sense of hearing with playground musical instruments. Musical playground equipment, such as the Bongo Panel, lets children make noise. Beat Blocks let children create sounds and appreciate rhythm. The Talk Tube lets children make noise and talk to friends far away on the playground, which helps develop listening and social skills.Another way to engage the sense of hearing is with a quiet or cozy area, away from any panels making music or noise. This allows children who get overstimulated or overwhelmed to have a great spot to play and makes your playground more inclusive. It also lets children experience the contrast between sound and quiet.
- Encourage tactile play with sensory playground equipment appealing to touch. Playground equipment with texture can help children engage the world with touch. For example, the Slalom Slide has grooves for an unusual slide experience and also includes a bright color and fun shape for visual appeal. The Braille Panel lets kids learn how to “read” the alphabet by touch. This panel is a bright color and includes printed letters, so it can appeal to the visual senses and even help children with literacy. It can be a fun way to make your playground more accessible, too.
- Encourage kinesthetic awareness by including playground equipment which is physically challenging and encourages children to become aware of using their bodies for movement. The Horse Spring Rider and other motion equipment let children learn how to move their bodies in different ways and lets them explore different physical sensations related to movement. Motion equipment and climbers can also help build balance and physical strength.
If you’d like to learn more about creating playgrounds that appeal to a child’s senses, contact Little Tikes Commercial. We can help you design and buy sensory playground equipment that will thrill children and encourage their development and creativity. We have design and financing options to make creating and paying for your playground simpler. We offer a full range of support to ensure you can build a great playground.