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Parents of small children are constantly amazed at how quickly they develop and grow. Every time they are exposed to any form of texture, color or sound, we assist in developing their cognitive skills. Knowing how vital this is to their development has encouraged parents and teachers to think out of the box and make this important interaction fun too. Without spending much money or taking up too much time, you can engage almost all your infants’ senses with sensory bags.
What Is A Sensory Bag?
Also known as a squishy bag, sensory bags are simply a clear plastic Ziploc bag of any size, filled with anything squishy, slimy, solid or liquid. The filling can be any color, shape, size, or texture that will allow your little one to engage all their senses while they explore, imagine, create and learn. It is the perfect way for children to explore while eliminating the danger of chocking or poisoning, and best of all the bags are portable and mess free!
How Do Sensory Bags Help Child Development?
Children and adults learn and memorize better when they engage their senses. How many times does a certain smell trigger a memory from many years ago, or a song make you to break out in dance moves from when you were a teenager? Playing with sensory bags allows the child to engage most of their senses as no two bags need be the same.
- Language and vocabulary skills develop as they describe what they see, how it feels, what color it is etc.
- Fine motor skills develop as they maneuver and manipulate whatever you have placed in the bag.
- Social skills develop as they engage with you or with their peers as they communicate, share and play with those around them.
- Nerve connections are built in the brain’s neural pathway while they engage their senses, this will enable them to tackle more complex learning tasks at a later stage.
- Problem solving skills develop especially if you give them specific tasks to perform within the bag. These tasks will obviously be age specific.
- Engaging specific senses such as touch, often calm an anxious or frustrated child.
Handy Tips When Making Sensory Bags
Toddlers and babies have no preconceived ideas about how things are supposed to be or look. They are wide eyed and excited about anything that is fun. With that in mind, don’t be nervous about “getting it perfect” but rather use your imagination and make the sensory bag out of anything you want. It really should not be a costly thing to make at all, the main outlay to start with will be the Ziploc bag. After that you can simply raid your panty or bathroom cabinets and fill the bags with beads, gel, glitter, rice or beans, marbles, shaving cream, baby oil or even noodles. The idea is to fill them with different textures and colors, your baby and toddler will love them all, so let your imagination run wild! Here are some practical points to bear in mind while they play with the bags:
- Don’t ever leave them unsupervised.
- If the child is at an age where everything goes in their mouth, consider taping the bag to a table or window.
- Don’t only trust that the Ziploc will keep it closed. Duct tape it all around as an extra precaution.
- Check the bag regularly for any tears or leaks and replace or repair immediately.
At Stone Brook Academy we advocate sensory play and encourage you to continue the education and interaction at home. Sensory Bags are a wonderful, inexpensive, simple, yet effective way to help your child develop while having fun. Make some and keep them in your purse for those long car trips or for when you need to keep your little one occupied. Surprise them with new bags and watch their faces light up with glee. Swap ideas with friends and get creative. Remember, the possibilities are endless, so have fun.