Sensory Toys - All you need to know
We have all heard of children's sensory needs as this is something that has become a common part of the discussions about children's development here in Ireland. Children explore the world using all five senses and sensory toys are designed to stimulate one or more of that five senses in a safe and fun manner.
Since children can differ in many areas, finding out what a child's sensory needs are is always a matter of individual judgement. Sometime assessment by a professional can guide you towards the right direction. For children on the autism spectrum, well-chosen sensory toys can even be an essential part of the successful therapy.
A sensory toy could work wonders when taking your little one to see a doctor, dentist or dropping them off at kindergarten or crèche for the first time. The toys help kids stay calm after stimulating events.
The toys come in numerous shapes, textures, colors, smells, and tastes. All you need is to study what activity your child likes. For instance, kids who won't stop jumping from one couch to the other could use some stepping stones to help them become more creative and gain more balance. We will discuss more on the sensory toy that suits your child below.
Why are Sensory Toys good for Babies’ Development?
It’s the soft texture and the warmth of a snuggly blanket that makes your baby fall in love with it. The sensory environment of your child forms the foundation of their exploration and development. Toddlers, babies, and young children develop cognitively and physically during play. For this reason, you ought to provide more playing opportunities and, in this case, the right toys. Sensory Toys stimulate sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch. Playing helps your child gain cognitive skills while developing their brain functions.
Here are the developmental benefits of sensory toys to children and infants;
- They help develop their language.
Feeling a different texture on a surface or fabric makes you want to exclaim either with disgust or admiration. The same happens when you give a toddler a sensory toy with a different shape, color, and texture. They will learn to communicate as they try to describe their experience with their new toys.
- They help develop gross and fine motor skills.
Some sensory toys provide a baby gym-like experience to your little one. They help them learn to coordinate their muscles for both smooth and rough tasks. These are responsible for assisting your child in learning activities like tying shoe races, which need more head-hand coordination or jumping and walking.
- They help to develop communication and social skills.
Your child can learn skills like turn-taking, communicating, interacting during play, and gain more confidence.
- They create a sensory environment for the child.
Sensory toys and their furnishings help create a world your child understands better. The bright lights, beautiful decorations, and mesmerizing sounds provide effective brain stimulation for your child, helping them understand things and people's interactions better.
Why are Sensory Toys Beneficial for Kids with Autism?
Sensory Toys are specifically made with children on the autism spectrum in mind. The toys provide comfort and calmness for autistic children allowing them to concentrate and communicate. Children with autism can be hypersensitive, making them more irritable. The toys come in handy in managing their distress or discomfort.
Can Sensory toys help with Stress and Anxiety?
The toys provide children and toddlers with an external point of focus. Drawing away their attention, which is the source of distress, calms them down.
Best Sensory Toys for Every Child
Whether your child likes to stare at bright lights, jump off couches, listen to loud music, or swing all the time, there's a toy perfect for the sensation they seek. You can't let them keep climbing up the stair rail just because it calms them down. It's dangerous. Find something they will love that will keep them safe. Let's check them out.
- Sensory Toys to chew
These are awesome, especially if your baby is teething. They provide comfort and relief for their itchy sore gums. A beautiful rattling set with a teether is the best distraction to calm your child.
- Sensory toys to Squeeze
Squishy sensory toys relieve your child of stress and anxiety, helping them to relax and focus. The educational cards stimulate sight, sound, and touch. They can also serve as a teether when your little one is growing their first teeth.
- Sensory toys for newborns
Your newborn is still learning their environment and is less active than older kids. They may not need a playing mat as yet, but they are learning colors at that age. Providing a contrasting ball will help them learn to follow objects towards and from them. A puzzle mat containing numbers in bright colors will also help them learn numbers and colors while still young. A forest sensory toy could also help them learn about different colors, sounds, and animals. You could use it while reading or narrating a story to them.
- Sensory toys with water
Get the water fun set for your toddler. It stimulates creativity and comes in bright colors to steal their concentration. They will have lots of fun playing with water.
- Sensory toys with sound
Rattles and or 2-in-1 teethers are the most common sensory toys with sound. Your little one enjoys the sound as they move them when trying to chew on them, which makes it less boring, and more stimulating.
- Sensory toys for a 1-year-old
You can get your child any of the above toys depending on the stimulation they need. A ball pit is perfect as they can already sit and move around. They can enjoy playdates and more play when they learn to pick different colors.
- Sensory toys for a 2-year-old
A 2-year-old is more vigorous and can even run around. Some may still need their teethers, which is ok. As your child gains more balance and creativity, you can get them some colorful blocks they can stick together. If they love sounds, a rainmaker toy rattle is perfect for them.
Check out our Sensory Toys Collection here!