The way in which children explore and play should never be restricted – as the way in which each and every child develops and learns is different! One way for kids of all ages to creatively express themselves and learn more about how the world around them works is to take part in sensory play.
Our senses are extremely important to us – sight, smell, touch, taste, sound – and the best in children’s sensory playground designs help youngsters to explore and understand these feelings in fun and exciting ways from an early age. Check out our post on school play equipment as well if you are interested in a broader range of products.
Sensory play equipment can vary from something as simple as sand and water play installations to contraptions and gadgets that can be spun and pulled and dragged along. Sensory toys can also allow children to explore the feel of different materials and textures, as well as different sounds and sights – music and art help children to develop keen visual and audial tendencies, and encouraging play and creativity in these stakes from an early age is always recommended.
It’s now easier than ever to build a wholly or majority sensory playground – which can be easily supervised and which is safe to use in all weathers. View this list of ideas for sensory play activities to get more information.
Sensory Playground Equipment
Sensory playground equipment available in all shapes and sizes is designed and built with safety and fun in mind. These are the two main facets of all good playground equipment, but sensory play goes that little bit further. Here are some of the most common features:
- Timber musical instruments
- Water trays
- Creative boards for tracing and drawing
- Wacky mirrors
- Sliding sandboxes
- Outdoor percussion
These all give children the opportunity to try out the toys and ideas that fascinate them the most.
Many children’s sensory playground designs try to incorporate as many different senses as possible – which is why we think it is a great idea to look at music, art and creative sculpture (or as close to it as possible with mud and sand!) as part of the perfect collection of toys and games. There are many types of SEN playground equipment which you could incorporate for those with Special Educational Needs.
Play sculptures, frames and totems are creatively built with imaginations in mind – from animal shapes to outdoor puzzles and activity units, kids will make of these toys and features whatever they want to! There are loads of ways to maximise existing play equipment or incorporate new features into the current space.
The whole point of offering a range of sensory toys and equipment to children is to allow them to explore ideas and concepts that spring to mind. There are no rights or wrongs when it comes to sensory and creative play – only that children should be encouraged to be as imaginative as possible!
EYFS Sensory Play Activities
The EYFS, or Early Years Foundation Stage, helps to set the standards for teaching and encouraging children of a preschool and school-entry age. EYFS sensory play activities are encouraged to help youngsters understand the world around them through each and every play.
Tactile environments, toys and games will allow kids to explore and play with different shapes and textures without instruction – this equipment is designed to be enjoyed by very young children who are keen to discover everything around them.
The EYFS also observes creative play and expressive arts development, and many standards can overlap – which means that, whether as part of a preschool playground or safe learning centre for children of a young age, you can easily build and offer an exciting arena of games and toys that encourage confidence, creativity and curiosity.
None of these should ever be held back – and these toys are designed to help develop them as early on in development as possible. There are plenty of benefits of sensory play for children of all ages.
Curiosity and creativity are essential facets of development into later childhood and adulthood. Being able to creatively solve problems and possessing the confidence to explore is not only healthy, it’s essential – and there is no better way to introduce children to these concepts than through exciting and colourful toys and games that can be enjoyed all year round.
Inclusive Playground Games and Features
Inclusive playground games and features will allow children of all ages and abilities to come together and explore the sensory world. Equipment provided to EYFS standard will allow differently-abled children to have fun, be creative and curious as much as anyone else, and as such, it’s never been easier to put together a safe and inclusive environment for pre-schoolers and school starters alike.
You can even implement activities for children with dyspraxia and other physical conditions. These can focus on developing balance and coordination skills.
Many sensory playground ideas and equipment can be enjoyed by pupils of varying ability. Encouraging inclusivity in a play setting will further encourage themes of teamwork and inclusivity in the way children develop and behave.
Playgrounds should be open to all and should be available for children to enjoy no matter what. Children’s sensory playground designs, featuring textures to feel, levers to pull, mirrors to marvel at and more can be enjoyed by all. Check out this page to see more on different play area designs we offer.
Early Years Sensory Play Areas
We all learn from touching and hearing and looking – and early years sensory play areas encourage children to explore all of this at their own pace. Supervision is always recommended, but these toys and games can be explored and enjoyed with little instruction or encouragement. Introducing these types of play areas to children, where they can learn more about different sounds, textures and colours, is a great way to allow them to embrace more of the world around them at their own pace.
Very young kids will invariably learn more effectively through their own exploration. Too young perhaps for classroom instruction, our formative years are largely explorative and, as such, it makes perfect sense to offer children the chance to get out there and investigate to their hearts’ content.
Exploring, creating and discovering is great fun – and sensory play environments are the perfect way to enable kids to let loose and find out what appeals to them. Have a look at some of our top school playground designs to get some ideas.
Children’s sensory playground designs come in various shapes and forms, and can be put together to create truly unique environments – build a unique landscape for younger children to explore and marvel at!