Why is there a need for classrooms to have a magical collection of sensory toys? What are sensory toys for?
As teachers, we take the role of helping our children to be at their best no matter what. With this conviction, the use of sensory toys to help our students calm down and learn introduces the important role of play in learning.
Hence, sensory toys have become massively popular. They seem to be of magical appeal not only to yearning adults but also to our students. As we have students with special needs like those with autism, sensory needs, and even toddlers, we need to consider a mega list of sensory toys at the very beginning!
Essentially, sensory toys can help us feel better when stress strikes. In this article, we will delve into how sensory objects give our young learners a fun time learning in the classroom!
To enlighten us more on the importance and uses of sensory toys in the classroom, I intend to share these pieces today. So, let’s get started!
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What are sensory toys?
Sensory toys are pieces of joyful objects at home or in the classroom that help stimulate the senses. Exploring the texture of tactile toys and getting attracted to the lights and brilliant colors of visual toys go beyond mere sense exploration.
Sensory toys are most appealing to children who have special sensory needs. But they are also fascinating sensory items for all ages. According to Dr. Shelli Dry, a pediatric therapist, although sensory toys bring in rays of powerful benefits, “The key is to analyze each toy’s properties and find the one that matches your child’s interests.”
Since these magical objects stimulate one or more senses, they are most needed for children with autism to keep them focused and calm. You might have encountered learners in the classroom who are dealing with sensory issues. And they need our attention and help.
Having sensory toys in the classroom can be a great decision. They surely benefit children, especially those who are sensory seekers. By allowing them to play with sensory toys at a thoughtful time, they are engaged to interact and maintain focus.
What are sensory toys for? 5 Delightful Uses That Promote Happy Learning Time!
So, how do sensory toys help? How do these magical objects work? The fact that some of our learners in the classroom need sensory experiences to help them gain concentration, sensory toys exist. Also, below are amazing uses to help you decide whether to adopt or not these awesome toys in your classroom.
1. Help children with autism
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention discloses the signs and symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and asserts that people with ASD may learn, interact and communicate differently that characterize them from other people.
As such, how do sensory toys help children with autism?
If we detect that some of the learners in our classroom manifest themselves to belong to the autism spectrum as teachers, we should do something about it. Aside from politely sharing our insights with the parents, it’s our role to show support and to give them a nurturing learning environment.
One incredible way to show support is by allowing them to manipulate sensory toys. In fact, sensory toys can be very appealing to any child. Accordingly, you have an incredible reason to integrate the use of sensory toys in classroom learning.
As concerned teachers, when we observe cues of autism in our class, we should help them overcome their attention issues. We have to pay more attention to their needs without compromising the learning needs of others. And the great use of sensory toys is a big help.
Engaging these children with sensory toys can help them improve their learning abilities and develop their mental and motor skills.
2. Stimulate and develop the senses
Sensory toys help children stimulate their senses which can help them to learn. As the name suggests, these specially-designed toys stimulate the five senses namely hearing, touch, smell, taste, and sight. And developing fun activities using sensory toys can greatly help.
With sensory stimulation, children are helped to develop their mental abilities. Playing with sensory toys signifies brain activities that help children to become more alert and focused.
With the use of sensory toys, children can make meaning of what’s happening around them. When they learn about their senses, they are more empowered on doing things they like.
Put another way, sensory stimulation has a great impact on the development of other fine motor skills like writing, opening a pack of food, drawing, and many others.
3. Promote sensory play in learning
Sensory toys promote sensory play that can have a positive impact on learning. The thoughtful use of sensory toys in the classroom can help the child’s development.
It’s a way of introducing physical inputs in a less distracting way. At times, our children seem to be very hyper-active that they move from chair to chair and pick up things from their classmates. In this situation, these children need something to hold onto to divert their attention.
Sensory play can help children engage their senses which is critical to their development. It is an opportunity for children to get engaged and explore their surroundings which is essential to their brain development.
When children are involved in sensory play, they engage their senses which helps them develop their ability to grasp concepts and retain information, acquire gross motor skills, and enhance social interactions.
4. Enhance memory
Sensory toys are most responsible for sensory activities that boost brain development. In a grand setting, by allowing our children to play with sensory toys, they are most prepared for life ahead.
With all of that said, sensory toys offer incredible sensory techniques that help children attain healthy cognitive growth so they can perceive the world around them.
As the child grows, he needs to be aware of his senses to delve into things that are going on around him and to remember them well. Hence, for cognitive growth, he should make sense of what is around him by seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, and smelling.
As children develop an understanding of the world, they retain information most effectively. Through the help of varied sensory information feed by manipulating sensory toys, children enhance their contraction which helps develop retentive memory.
Hence, they are encouraged to use their senses to make sense of the things around them. The more they do it, the more they develop activities in the brain which help them accomplish greater tasks.
5. Calm an anxious child
Some children may find it difficult to get along with others in the classroom because of problems in their behavior. They tend to be anxious that they can’t concentrate on learning. More so, their performance is affected. We should help them to be in a calmer state.
However, great teachers always have sensory solutions for calming an anxious child. It’s an incredible technique to increase focus among anxious or frustrated children. To put it simply, sensory toys help children with sensory disorders.
Children with anxiety find it hard to perceive things as they have sensory difficulties. The good thing is that there are toys designed for these sensory issues.
These toys offer valuable methods for children to cope up and increase concentration. Some of our children can be ‘hyposensitive’ and need to constantly touch things and feel textures to calm their senses. On the other hand, children may be anxious because they are ‘hypersensitive’ and are easily distracted by the things around them that some people hardly notice.
With sensory toys, anxious children can be kept calm in the meantime. Give them a couple of minutes to dislodge their anxiety by touching and squeezing tangle fidgets, exercise balls, and other ultimate sensory solutions.
Occupational therapists recommend the use of sensory toys in people with Sensory Processing Disorder to help them regulate and calm their senses to manage behavioral issues. This means that it can happen to any person and our students are not exempt.
Children should have a happy learning time. As each of them is a unique package of abilities and differences, we should help them get along.
The learning environment should be made accommodating despite the fact that there can be uncontrollable and unexpected situations. By having sensory toys in the classroom, we can help our children adapt to the learning environment. These remarkable sensory techniques can help them regulate their mood and become productive learners.
Hence, we do need those baskets of fidgets and stress balls in our classrooms. Definitely, they can be among the essentials we grab at the beginning of each school year.
Many classrooms these days have this wonderful package of sensory toys to give students a happy time learning. You can have them too! Everyone can get on in the fun of playing with sensory toys. Their texture, sound, and stress-relieving capacity make us say “hello sensory toys, welcome to our classroom”!
Bring your ideas in!
What are sensory toys for? I’d be happy to read your thoughts as well. Leave them below.