How can Sensory Experiences, Messy Art and Creative Play help to develop your Childs emotional wellbeing?
Many parents, educators and others with a keen interest in child development will tell you how beneficial sensory play is for babies, how it can help your baby to experience the world around them in the only way they know how pre language. The smells, noises and lights help to develop their senses and that by grabbing onto things or putting something into something else they are developing their fine and gross motor skills.
Special needs teachers use a sensory curriculum for children who have difficulties in understanding the world around them, those with communication difficulties as well as sensory processing disorders and other learning difficulties will mostly learn through these types of sensory play. Just in the same way as babies and toddlers can; the smells, noises and lights help to develop their senses and that by grabbing onto things or putting something into something else they are developing their fine and gross motor skills.
What I want to explore is how this can be taken one step further and help to develop a child’s Emotional Wellbeing. I want to apply this to all children, babies, toddlers, children with special needs and typically developing children into their teens. Sensory play has its place in any home or class room to help your child to develop. It is not something that is ‘done’ once your child hits a certain age, it is something that can continue into adulthood.
What is Emotional Wellbeing?
When we think of our own emotional wellbeing it is often based around a series of events and feelings that have made us into the adults that we are today, some happy and some sad. It is the ability to cope with these events, your resilience and ability to bounce back that makes you into an emotionally healthy adult; for others this isn’t quite as simple.
So what about your child’s emotional wellbeing? How can you develop their resiliency? Their ability to regulate their own emotions and deal with things in an appropriate way? Tantrums at 2 are pretty normal; but how do you cope when they are still happening at 10!?How can you ensure that they will have that ability to cope when life throws the big stuff their way?
Emotional wellbeing is the ability to control their emotions and themselves, to feel in control of what is happening around them and to be able to communicate effectively. It is an ability to understand how others are feeling in order to change their behaviour to make others happier (and hopefully themselves!) and to understand anger, sadness and the many other emotions that they will experience. It is the ability to be able to say ‘I’m feeling angry and I need to do ______ to calm down’ It is being able to understand why they feel the way they do and what they can do to change this. It is the ability to calm themselves down to relieve anxiety, stress and frustrations.
What… so Sensory Experiences, Messy Art & Creative Play can help all of this to happen?
In a nutshell, yes.
Sensory experiences can be used to calm the central nervous system in the same way that some people chew gum or play with our hair when anxious.
Messy art and creative play are great forms of self expression, but can also be used to help to develop control over situations, make choices in a controlled manner, learn to communicate effectively and; in the same way as adult colouring books have become so popular, offer a mindfulness type way of relieving stress, anxiety and frustration.
Over the coming months I am going to be exploring how different sensory play and art activities can help in different situations. Each week I will focus on a different emotion, or activity and discuss in more detail how it can be used to help. I will include plans for use in schools as well as tried and tested approaches and activities from the studios in Manchester.
If you would like more information on The Emotional Wellbeing Project, the work I am doing at the studios or would like to follow this project please click the follow button on the right or get in touch