The Best Sensory Toys for Kids
Play is an extremely important part of a baby’s or young child’s growth. Learning to recognize and explore all of their five senses is also a crucial aspect of healthy physical and cognitive development.
Interacting with the world around them is a way for children to come across new stimuli that develop their sight, smell, hearing, touch, and taste. Sensory toys can be used to further enhance this development and provide your child with the best resources to strengthen their senses.
Toddlers and young children develop at rapid rates and they are curious about the world around them. The toys that they play with can significantly impact the way they learn and grow.
It’s worth getting a few different types of the many different sensory toys that are available today, all of which can activate multiple senses at once to give your child the ultimate sensory exploration time.
What Are Sensory Toys?
Sensory toys are designed in such a way to engage one or more of your child’s senses as they play. They work by stimulating the senses through different lights, textures, temperatures, sounds, and scents.
Most sensory toys stimulate just one or two of the five senses to avoid sensory overstimulation. Your little one is still developing so it’s important not to overwhelm them with lots of different stimuli!
- Sight - Commonly, sensory toys that stimulate sight have lots of flashing multi-coloured lights. These toys use vibrant colours to capture your child’s attention.
- Hearing - Toys that make noises are designed to support your child’s auditory engagement. These noises can include bells, whistles, happy voices, or the sounds of percussion instruments.
- Smell - Many sensory toys emit scents and aromas to stimulate your child’s olfactory system.
- Touch - Touch-focused sensory toys use a variety of textures and materials that can pique your child’s interest. This can include soft, fluffy materials or hard bumpy ones.
- Taste - Some toys are appropriate for your child to bite to activate their taste receptors. These sensory toys include teething rings or similar items.
You can even get toys that have boards and swinging components that move in different directions at different speeds. This stimulates multiple senses and is a great way to get your little one participating in explorative play.
What Are the Benefits of Sensory Toys?
Sensory toys provide a range of benefits to babies, toddlers, and young children to promote healthy growth and development.
Here are some of the main benefits of using sensory toys as part of explorative play.
By engaging all five senses through sensory play, your child can develop a better awareness of their surroundings and encourage better alertness and concentration. Your child will learn how to distinguish useful information from not so useful information.
Enhanced Cognitive Development
Sensory explorative play is one of the best ways to enhance your child’s cognitive development. It strengthens all five of their senses and improves their ability to interpret all of the different stimuli around them.
Improved Social Interaction and Participation
Sensory toys can encourage your child to interact with the people and objects around them. If they’re playing with other children their age, they can learn how to communicate and share with others. This can also boost their confidence and self-esteem from a young age.
Sensory toys can also help children with autism (link to blog 2) by encouraging them to play and explore in a safe environment.
Improved Coordination and Motor Skills
When your child is playing with lots of different parts in a sensory toy and engaging each of their senses, their coordination improves. They will be learning how to engage lots of different muscles that can improve their movement patterns, gross motor skills, fine motor skills, and balance.
Gross motor skills are those that use larger muscle groups, such as walking or jumping. Fine motor skills are those that require smaller muscles, such as writing, gripping, or fiddling with the small moving parts of a toy.
Calming and Comforting Effects
Encouraging your child to explore with sensory toys can help to calm their minds and makes them feel more comfortable exploring their environment. It can keep them occupied so they don’t start feeling bored or overwhelmed.
What Are the Best Sensory Toys for Kids?
There are lots of different kinds of sensory toys that you can give to your child to enhance their learning and development.
Here at KeepEmQuiet, we have a huge collection of sensory toys that can keep your child engaged with hours of play, including lots of these below! And we’ve just released a brand-new sensory fidget kit that is perfect as a Christmas stocking present!
Sensory boards (insert link to blog 4) provide lots of different interactive activities for your child to do. They often have multiple parts, each of which stimulates different senses.
For example, a sensory board might contain a rattle on one end, a light-up bumpy ball in the middle, and a soft fluffy piece of material that gives off a scent on the other end. Your little one is developing their sound, sight, touch, and smell all in one!
Some sensory boards also have small speakers in them that can play specific words when your child presses certain buttons or pulls different levers. This can help them to learn new words as they play.
Fidget toys are the perfect solution when your child is feeling overwhelmed. They come in a bunch of different shapes and sizes, including balls, spinners, and tubes.
There are lots of toys that are made to be chewed, such as chewing necklaces or teething rings. They are perfect for babies or toddlers who are teething and need something to ease their mouth pains!
Some chewing toys offer a small vibration that can be soothing on the gums, even if your baby or toddler isn’t teething.
Sensory Light Toys
Visual stimulation is a key aspect of sensory play. Using toys that light up in all different colours helps to engage your child’s vision and encourages them to explore.
Bumpy balls can be multi-coloured and multi-textured, squishy or hard, fluffy or rough. Some also have a rattle inside that makes a sound when your child moves the ball around.
There are so many varieties of bumpy balls and they all work to engage your child’s senses as they explore and play. As they’re often textured or irregularly shaped, they can help to develop their coordination and motor skills too.
Want to help your young child develop their sense of balance? Stepping stones are the perfect way to do so!
These small little steps can be placed around your living room so your child can work on their balance and coordination whilst in the safety of their own home.
Sensory scooters are a great way to get your toddler or young child moving and help them learn to engage their upper and lower body muscles. They use a small board that is placed on wheels to enable easy movement and mobility so your little one can have fun all around the house!
Play Foam Toys
Play foam toys will keep your little one occupied for hours and because they are usually soft and squishy in texture, they stimulate the touch senses.
They can also encourage creativity as your child is able to shape the play foam into whatever they like! Maybe they want to make small figurines of mummy and daddy or they want to create a play form animal!
If your youngster loves all things glitter and sparkle, then you need to get them some glitter dots! The loose pieces of glitter can be glued onto some card or paper to create beautiful designs.
You could also grab some pens and paints for your child to draw and paint a design before adding a touch of sparkle with their glitter dots. These activities help to develop their fine motor skills and stimulate their visual senses.
Building blocks come with lots of small interlocking pieces that will have your child exploring and playing for hours. They can be made of soft or hard materials and they may have different colours and shapes.
They can build whatever they want using the interlocking building blocks, so it’s the perfect way to encourage your little one to use their imagination and try new things whilst developing their motor skills.
As your baby or toddler grows into an amazing young child, it’s important to support their development and learning as much as possible. Sensory toys are one of the best ways to encourage physical, cognitive, emotional, and social development in a safe and supportive way.
There are so many incredible sensory toys available for you to give your child as part of their explorative play and it’s great to grab a few different items so that all of your child’s five senses can develop.
If you want to learn more about the importance of sensory play, check out some more of our articles on how to best support your child’s sensory play!
You can shop our famous Fidget Kit here:
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