What Are Sensory Toys?


Many parents may have heard about the benefits of sensory toys. These seem to be ubiquitous in the media, and are heralded as being great developmental tools for babies and toddlers.

What Are Sensory Toys?

It’s true that babies who are only a few months old, will already be absorbing tons of information about their surroundings. 

It is therefore important that we give them adequate stimulation, as well as ones that will benefit their development.

This is where sensory toys come into play. Sensory toys range from auditory stimulation, to visual, and everything in between. 

There are lots of different ones to choose from, and we’ll be taking a look at some of the different types below. To find out more, simply keep reading. 

Sensory Play 

Some of you reading this might have heard about sensory play in regards to sensory toys. Sensory play is any kind of playtime that you engage in with your child that stimulates their senses. 

As human beings, we have five key senses. These are comprised of taste, touch, smell, hearing, and sight. When we engage in sensory play with our children they get to experience these senses in full. 

Many people believe that without adequate sensory play, children will not be able to function as well in later life.

Lack of sensory stimulation could result in issues with problem solving, reading, or writing. Indeed, sensory play is highly regarded as the foundation for babies and toddlers. 

Can Sensory Play Benefit Children With Autism? 

Some of you may have heard about the benefits of sensory play within the context of children with autism.

Indeed, if a child is diagnosed with autism, the parents are highly encouraged to facilitate space for sensory play. 

The reason why children with autism might benefit from sensory play is because it encourages them to engage with their senses.

It helps them to respond to sights and sounds in their immediate environment, and give their sensory systems feedback. 

The sensory toy chosen for autistic children should suit their own personal preferences, as well as being able to facilitate social interaction and play with their parents. 

What Exactly Are Sensory Toys? 

What Exactly Are Sensory Toys? 

Now that we’ve taken a closer look at what sensory play is, as well as how it might benefit children with special needs, we can move on to take a closer look at what they are. 

There is no one sensory toy that will be perfect for every child’s development.

Your child will engage and interact with their sensory toys in their own unique way. To find some that might be of interest to you, keep reading below. 

Taste

One of the most popular sensory toys include ones that facilitate taste. They allow your child to put the toy in their mouth, with a popular choice being teething rings.

Teething rings are not only fantastic sensory toys, but they can also help to soothe your child. 

Sight 

There are lots of sensory toys that are dedicated to providing interesting colors and patterns for your child.

You may have seen some of the ones created specifically for newborns, who can only see in black and white. There are toys and activity spirals designed in these colors to suit newborns. 

As your child grows, there are lots of sensory toys that come in all sorts of colors.

Although you might be tempted to keep their nursery colors neutral, finding lots of interesting colors and shapes to surround them with can be highly beneficial. 

Sound

Sound refers to any kind of toy that emits a sound when it’s played with. Popular sounds for toddlers include instruments such as percussion, bells, and ringing.

You can purchase books that emit these noises when you turn a page, and your child can enjoy engaging with the item in front of them. 

Touch 

This is another common toy that typically comes in the form of a book.

Sensory toys related to touch usually have a variety of different surfaces made from different materials that your child can feel with their fingers. 

Picture books will often have a variety of different surfaces that your child can engage with. 

Smell 

Smell refers to a sensory toy that provokes your child’s sense of smell. This is one that not many people are aware of, but you can actually purchase aromatherapy scents for toddlers. 

They come in the form of circular containers which have dough inside, scented with natural ingredients such as lavender. These can help to engage your child’s sense of smell, as well as aid them with sleep. 

How Can Sensory Toys Be Of Benefit? 

When it comes to the benefits of sensory toys, there are a whole range of different reasons why. One of the most important things that sensory toys provide is helping their fine and gross motor skills. 

By regularly engaging in sensory play, children can help to exercise different muscle groups that then help them with things later in life, such as doing up zips, or tying their shoelaces. 

As well as this, sensory play also benefits children by allowing them to develop their cognitive skills.

The more stimulation that they get early in life, the better they will be able to function academically later in life. 

Final Thoughts 

Sensory toys involve toys which stimulate your child’s five senses – touch, taste, sight, smell, and sound.

You can find a whole host of different sensory toys, some of which include aromatherapy putties, play books, rattles, xylophones, and activity spirals. 

Engaging in regular sensory activities with your child can help their cognitive development, as well as building their fine and gross motor skills.

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