“If the feeling of active movement toward a goal is what we call work, then play is the work of children. In fact it is the work and art of childhood: the essence of learning, discovery, and creating.” (Purposeful Play, by Kristine Mraz, Alison Porcelli, and Cheryl Tyler, p. 8)
Think of a powerful moment that you had immersed in play growing up or something that you’ve witnessed your children powerfully involved in. Engage your senses and allow your brain to replay that moment for you. Maybe it was the way the cool rain hit your head and rolled down your arms. How your babe bent down in their soggy diaper and picked up a worm from the mud, rain plastering their wispy toddler hair to their head, a cup of hot (okay, realistically lukewarm) coffee in your hand.
In those moments, your senses were incredibly ignited. In fact, it is that powerful sensory input that allows us to recall those beautiful moments in our lives with such endearing detail. When our senses are engaged, nerve pathways to the brain are built, allowing us to access those memories with ease.
We receive sensory input from a variety of sources every second of the day. As adults, we learn to tune out some of the unnecessary input and focus on what’s at hand. This is a vital skill that needs to be learned for many little ones. Developing and then working to increase that threshold of tolerance is what will allow kids to avoid becoming overstimulated, allowing for them to remain relaxed and in a posture to learn.
Not only does sensory play increase a child’s sensory threshold, it holds a host of other benefits. NAEYC and Goodstart cite early exposures to hypothesizing, improved focus and attention span, improved fine motor skills, support in oral language development, increased problem-solving skills, opportunities for creative expression, and fail-proof environments that allow children to practice skills at their own pace.
If you’ve ever watched a child, you’ll see that they work to explore things with all of their senses, which is why toddlers frequently put things in their mouth or will rip off their socks and shoes to jump into a sand pit or splash in a puddle of water. They will naturally seek to do this important work. Young, Wild & Friedman play dough kits take the guesswork out of setting the stage for this vital play and curate beautiful opportunities for growth and development within your own home in ways that captivate your child for hours. In fact, YWF was birthed out of a need to gift many of these benefits to my own children! In a season where outdoor experiences and social opportunities for our babes are limited, these kits take the sensory play supply shopping, preparation, and upkeep off your already full plate.
Order a few based on your child’s current interests to keep in a rotation, or sign up to be a monthly subscriber HERE. Want to learn more about play? Check out Stuart Brown’s book, Play, or Purposeful Play, written by Kristine Mraz, Alison Porcelli, and Cheryl Tyler. Let’s get playing!