The importance of sensory play

I brought an apron with me to a client’s house because I knew we would be playing with whipped cream! I chose the whipped cream over shaving cream so that some tasting could take place. I bought the can of cream before the session and we used up the entire thing. We put plastic finger puppets on top of the canister, we drove cars through it, we got some plastic bugs dirty enough to need baths…

The child has a lot of tactile defensiveness and I was determining how it would affect typical play. I wanted to see if he could be coached into participation via modeling, distraction, slow exposure, or what, so that I could educate the family on how to approach this type of play. Children learn a lot – and get a lot of input – via exploring their environments, so if the child doesn’t have a willingness to get near new textures/sensations, it will affect their ability to learn how their hands work in differing situations as well as cause/effect/characteristics of items, and much more.

There are PLENTY of children who have issues with tactile defensiveness regardless of parental intervention.  Yet I’ve  noticed that many of the children who show signs of tactile defensiveness are being raised by parents who also dislike getting their hands dirty or have never thought to do sensory play. Sometimes educating the parents on the importance of sensory play, pointing out the similarities between parent/child, and/or showing them the strategies of exploration for a hesitant child, is enough to make a big difference in a child’s willingness to participate. Also, letting them know that children who are tactilely defensiveness typically do much better with firm pressure rather than light touch.

Does anybody have any favorite types of sensory play? I love water beads.

Sep 21, 2014 | Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: none

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