Sensory Play

Sensory play in the Dolphins (Gwonda) room

Sensory play, toilet training and self help skills definitely play lead roles at this age.

We often talk about the five senses. These are:

Taste – the stimulation that comes when our taste receptors react to chemicals in our mouth.

Touch – the stimulation that comes from touch receptors in our skin that react to pressure, heat/cold, or vibration.

Smell – the stimulation of chemical receptors in the upper airways (nose).

Sight – the stimulation of light receptors in our eyes, which our brains then interpret into visual images.

Hearing – the reception of sound, via mechanics in our inner ear.

However there are two others we commonly miss:

Body awareness (also known as proprioception) – the feedback our brains receive from stretch receptors in our muscles and pressure receptors in joints which enable us to gain a sense where our bodies are in space.

Balance – the stimulation of the vestibular system of the inner ear to tell us our body position in relation to gravity.


Sensory play includes any activity that stimulates your young child’s senses: touch; smell; taste; movement; balance; sight; and hearing.

Sensory activities facilitate exploration and naturally encourage children to use scientific processes while they play, create, investigate, and explore.

Providing opportunities for children to actively use their senses as they explore their world through ‘sensory play’ is crucial to brain development – it helps to build nerve connections in the brain’s pathways.

This leads to a child’s ability to complete more complex learning tasks and supports:

  • cognitive growth;
  • language development;
  • gross motor skills;
  • social interaction; and
  • problem solving skills.

Our ‘Bush Kindy’ Nature Inspired and our ‘Empowering our Youth’ Indigenous programs facilitate sensory play beautifully. 

Exploring our world with finger painting!

With the children having lots of exploration with colours over the last few weeks, we decided to explore colours with finger painting.

We set up the experience on the art table using three blobs of paint, using primary colours as our focus. Children got the chance to put their fine-motor skills into good use by rubbing and mixing the paint with their hands on the table for as long as they wanted to.

Once the children finished exploring the paint sensory experience, I encouraged children to draw into the paint then we copied it onto a piece of paper.

We hung it out to dry, so the children have a painting to display afterwards.

At the start of the experience the children were a little hesitant to give it a go but with some encouragement they ventured in and let their fingers do the exploring.

 Children develop an increasing responsibility for their own wellbeing as they use their sensory capabilities with skill and purpose to explore, create and develop an understanding of their own needs.

A shared experience provides the opportunity to connect with peers , especially at this age when they are happy to parallel play.

The use of paint on a surface encourages exploration, new ideas and meaning.

Children contributed to the experience using their own ideas of how they wanted to use the finger paint.

As they utilised their sense of touch and sight, they experienced the benefits and pleasure of shared learning exploration as a group and sensory play.

Sensory experiences are important for children as they become active learners by exploring different materials within their environment.

That is all from us this month!

Miss Lauren, Miss Ruby and the Gwondas!

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