Why is Play Important?

Why is Play important?

Hi, my name is Desiree (everyone calls me Des) and I’m part of the amazing Baby Physio Team at Ocean Kids. I just love working with babies and children helping each child live life to their fullest through play. Play is so much fun and the more we know as parents on how to play with our child the more we get to understand how our child reacts and ultimately develops ‘Play to Learn and Learn to Play’.

‘A moving child is a learning child’

We know that Play is the way for your child to learn all day. Play begins early. Research shows that sensory play builds nerve connections in your child’s brain pathways, which leads to your child’s ability to complete more complex learning tasks. Sensory play supports fine and gross motor skills, language development, cognitive growth, problem solving skills, and social interaction.

From birth to early childhood and beyond, children utilise their eight senses to help them understand the exciting world around them. Babies are extremely sensory. They love touching things and putting everything in their mouths. It’s how they use their senses to explore the world around them. Therefore, sensory play is perfect for babies. It helps them discover and explore not only the world, but also their senses. Babies need little things to keep them entertained while playing. They need you—as you are your baby’s best toy, especially in their first few months of life—other children to interact with, and a few simple items for sensory stimulation.

What is sensory play and how does it benefit your child?

Sensory Play – includes activities that arouse and enhances children’s senses.

These senses include movement/balance, proprioception, touch, taste, smell, sight, hearing, and interoception.

We know that Play is the way for your child to learn all day. Play begins early. Research shows that sensory play builds nerve connections in your child’s brain pathways, which leads to your child’s ability to complete more complex learning tasks. Sensory play supports fine and gross motor skills, language development, cognitive growth, problem solving skills, and social interaction.

The five common senses are also called our ‘Exteroceptors’, which is just a fancy word for receptors telling your child what is going on outside their body. These senses are:

    • Sight (Visual sense)
    • Sound (Auditory sense)
    • Taste (Gustatory sense)
    • Smell (Olfactory sense)
    • Touch (Tactile sense)

Theses senses protect your baby from and connect them with
the outside world.

The other 3 more important inner senses are:
  • Vestibular/Balance Sense – most important sense of all the senses
    • it is the sense of balance and motion. Once a baby is born, any movement that changes their position or gently rocks, rolls, bounces, swings, or spins them stimulates and strengthens their vestibular system. This sets them up for good motor skills.
  • Proprioceptive Sense – this sense tells your baby about where their body parts are and how their body moves.
  • Interoceptors -this sense is needed to tell your baby about the inside working of their body e.g., hunger, tiredness, sleepiness.
Our Ocean Kids Health team are here to help you and your child thrive!