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Love For Sensory Play And Some Coloured Spaghetti - By Tiana Coutts

Love For Sensory Play And Some Coloured Spaghetti - By Tiana Coutts

When my first son was born (over 5 years ago now) I didn’t know a single thing about sensory play, or what it was or that it was even a ‘thing’. I just set up play and created spaces that I thought he’d enjoy and without even realising it I began implementing sensory play into our day to day lives. One day when he was about 5 months old, I cooked a whole bunch of old spaghetti in different coloured water and filled his clam shaped pool, you all know the ones I’m talking about. He rolled around in it and ate it; he threw it all over the place and he spent so long laughing and engaged in something so simple. My mum, who is early childhood trained and qualified, during this time had popped over for a coffee and I remember her saying “oh that’s awesome sensory play”. I’d never heard this term before, and I thought it was interesting. I spent some time that night researching and looking into just what sensory play was all about and from there I fell in love.


By Googles definition sensory play is “any activity that stimulates a young child’s senses of touch, smell, taste, sight and hearing, as well as anything which engages movement and balance.” And when I reflect on my approach to parenting as a first-time mum, I can strongly say that every day I implemented activities that stimulated his senses – it was totally our normal and just part of day-to-day life. It made sense to me to try and build my babies senses and I didn’t even know it was a fad.

As I grew as a mother and had my second and third children, sensory play became a passion to me and even more so as we discovered my first and second children had additional needs. My first born is diagnosed ADHD and my second born is diagnosed ASD. Sensory play has been a huge tool in emotional regulation for our family – and the kids therapists use sensory play with them too so obviously I have been doing something right. It’s been a big part of my parenting and we as a family have seen so many benefits to using sensory play in our approach to life. Benefits of sensory play can include but are not limited to; the support of nerve connections forming in the brain, the encouragement of motor skills development, support of language development, the encouragement of problem solving and scientific thinking, encouragement of creativity, learning through exploration, encouragement of communication and social skills and the improvement of co-ordination. Honestly the list could go on forever and the possibilities really are endless, but this is the main benefits for our family and what we’ve targeted during sessions with therapy team.

Quite often when I’m setting up an activity or a play space for my children, I will aim to include a solution to an immediate need or target one (or more) of their specific interests while being mindful of their senses. For example, if it’s a hot day outside ill fill up a few tubs of water to help them cool down and play in. Then, I will extend on this and add some food colouring to the water to stimulate sight, I’ll add some rainbow pebbles for touch and sight, a slotted spoon or colander to make rain sounds with which is for hearing and being water from the tap they can taste it – sometimes with water play activities will add some sliced citrus fruit or berries to extend on that taste and smell element even further. From there – the children really let their imaginations go wild. They will make potions and soups and serve it to their dad and I and that’s strengthening social skills and building relationships. By the end of it or once the boys are finished playing, they are cooled down and refreshed and they have engaged in something that has benefited them and their development in the long run without them even knowing. It really does, without much effort at all, create so much opportunity for learning and connection. Which is exactly why I do it and why I love it.

Sensory play has been a huge part of my parenting. It’s my go to type of play and I am really proud of how I’ve evolved as a parent because of it. My love for sensory play led me to share it with others and that’s why I created my Instagram which I have always used as a platform to share with other like-minded parents, and it’s become a whole community. I have met some amazing people and learnt some really amazing stuff that I’ve been able to implement into my sensory play, but what do I have to show for it? I have three beautiful young children. All of whom are emotionally aware, they have keen eye for detail, vivid imaginations, confidence to explore, advanced palates, they’re intelligent and curious and all round amazing young people. And it all started with some colourful spaghetti.


Authored by Tiana of @sensory.boy.mum (Instagram)





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