Let’s get physical! Why sensory play is important for little ones

Let’s get physical! Why sensory play is important for little ones

Let’s get physical! Why sensory play is important for little ones

We interpret everything through our senses: sight, sound, smell, touch, taste. When your little one is between six months and about two-and-a-half years, absolutely anything can become an exciting, sensorial discovery. Not only are sensory activities a whole lot of fun, it also encourages their learning and development. To celebrate International Mud Day on June 29th, let’s look at how you can incorporate all of the senses into some memorable, muddy activities.


What is sensory play?

Sensory play engages your little one’s senses so they can start figuring out the world for themselves. More technically, it introduces them to spatial and bodily awareness, cause and effect, balance, and movement. It also helps develop their cognition, motor skills, and social skills. These benefits are encouraging your little one’s development, while they’re enjoying a new world of play!


How to make edible mud

Did you know you can make edible mud using pantry staples? The base of it is cocoa powder, which gives it a pretty accurate mud colour. Mix it with flour and water: adjust the ratios of flour to water to achieve the texture you’re after. Use less water if you’d like it rough and crumbly, or more if you’d like it squidgy and drippy. You can also add some oil like coconut oil or vegetable oil for sliminess. Mix it thoroughly, or leave some of it unmixed for extra texture. Pour the edible mud into a flat and wide container for them to play in. We suggest taking this activity outside!


Set the scene

Add some toys and decorations to the surface of your edible mud so they can have a look at who or what is sitting in their mud. You can set the scene with farm animals, trucks on a muddy worksite, or a wet rainforest floor with leaves and pebbles. Imagination is key!


Touch and fee

Your little one will start figuring out how their mud feels by smearing, squeezing, poking, smoothing, kneading, or throwing it around. Curious hands might also like digging for hidden treasures in their edible mud, so you can bury some trinkets within the container.


Listen to the noises

Depending on how wet and slimy you make your mud, they might hear some squishy noises as they start playing with it. If it’s on the drier side, they could hear light crumbling noises or sandy sounds. To enhance this sensory play experience, you could put on some of their favourite music or search YouTube for ambient noises.


Take a whiff

Real mud certainly doesn’t smell this good. The cocoa powder has a warm and distinct smell they’re sure to enjoy. You might also want to give them a sample of proper mud to experience the difference between scents.


It’s safe to taste

A nibble of this edible mud is safe and definitely tastier than mud they’ll find on the ground. If they eat some, they’ll make connections about how something feels in their hands versus how it feels in their mouth. (And that some things look better than they taste!) This edible mud contains uncooked flour, so they shouldn’t eat too much of it.


Get creative

If your little one doesn’t enjoy edible mud, you can make similar activities with household items. Create a digging bucket by filling a container with uncooked rice and add various trinkets and toys. You could also make colourful alphabet spaghetti: cook spaghetti with some food colouring and when cooled, add it to a clear container with plastic letters and numbers. You can design your own sensory play activity based on what your little one enjoys and what you have on hand.

Some of the most exciting sensory play activities don’t require much effort or equipment for you to set up. You’ll need to keep an eye on them while they’re playing to make sure there aren’t any hazards, but beyond that, it’s an easy, affordable, and beneficial way to entertain your little one.