Benefits of Sensory Play for Children

Benefits of Sensory Play for Children – (broken down into areas of Child Development)

Benefits of Sensory Play - Infographic
Benefits of Sensory Play broken down into the areas of child development

What is it?

Sensory play can take on many forms and involve many different experiences. In my Sensory Art Studio for kids I have broken this down into three different specific areas – Sensory Experiences, Messy Art & Creative Play.

Sensory Experiences aim to take your child on a journey through either a story or theme using all of their senses (touch, smell, taste, sight and sound)

Messy Art is exactly what it says on the tin! using either dry or wet messy materials this is good to help your child explore making their mark, and will often also include the 5 main senses.

The Creative Play aspect of this is slightly different and focuses a little more on engaging your child by using their 5 senses which in turn will encourage your child to explore the environment they find themselves in and develop child led play, independence and creative thinking skills.

We have enjoyed many different play themes. Explore the menu on your right or take a look at my pinterest board:

The Benefits of Sensory Play:

First and foremost, it is believed that by engaging your child using their senses (like reading a book in a funny voice and dancing around the room!) they are more likely to learn and to have a deeper understanding of what they are learning. On top of this, sensory play has many benefits on all aspects of Child Development. I have gone into more detail of these below and the image above specifies some of the benefits of sensory play.

Areas of Child Development (Early Learning Goals):

Communication and Language

Listening & Attention
  • Children listen attentively in a range of situations.
  • They listen to stories, accurately anticipating key events and respond to what they hear with relevant comments, questions or actions.
  • They give their attention to what others say and respond appropriately, while engaged in another activity.
  • Children express themselves effectively, showing awareness of listeners’ needs.
  • They use past, present and future forms accurately when talking about events that have happened or are to happen in the future.
  • They develop their own narratives and explanations by connecting ideas or events.
  • Listens and responds to ideas expressed by others in conversation or discussion.
  • Children follow instructions involving several ideas or actions.
  • They answer ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions about their experiences and in response to stories or events.

Personal, Social and Emotional

Making Relationships
  • Children play co-operatively, taking turns with others.
  • They take account of one another’s ideas about how to organise their activity.
  • They show sensitivity to others’ needs and feelings, and form positive relationships with adults and other children.
Self Confidence & Self Awareness
  • Children are confident to try new activities, and say why they like some activities more than others.
  • They are confident to speak in a familiar group, will talk about their ideas, and will choose the resources they need for their chosen activities.
  • They say when they do or don’t need
Managing Feelings and Behaviour
  • Children talk about how they and others show feelings, talk about their own and others’ behaviour, and its consequences, and know that some behaviour is unacceptable.
  • They work as part of a group or class, and understand and follow the rules.
  • They adjust their behaviour to different situations, and take changes of routine in their stride.


Moving & Handling
  • Children show good control and co-ordination in large and small movements.
  • They move confidently in a range of ways, safely negotiating space.
  • They handle equipment and tools effectively, including pencils for writing.
Health & Self Care
  • Children know the importance for good health of physical exercise, and a healthy diet, and talk about ways to keep healthy and safe.
  • They manage their own basic hygiene and personal needs successfully, including dressing and going to the toilet independently.


  • Children read and understand simple sentences.
  • They use phonic knowledge to decode regular words and read them aloud accurately.
  • They also read some common irregular words.
  • They demonstrate understanding when talking with others about what they have read.
  • Children use their phonic knowledge to write words in ways which match their spoken sounds.
  • They also write some irregular common words.
  • They write simple sentences which can be read by themselves and others.
  • Some words are spelt correctly and others are phonetically plausible.


  • Children count reliably with numbers from one to 20, place them in order and say which number is one more or one less than a given number.
  • Using quantities and objects, they add and subtract two single-digit numbers and count on or back to find the answer.
  • They solve problems, including doubling, halving and sharing.
Shapes and Measure
  • Children use everyday language to talk about size, weight, capacity, position, distance, time and money to compare quantities and objects and to solve problems
  • They recognise, create and describe patterns.
  • They explore characteristics of everyday objects and shapes and use mathematical language to describe them.

Understanding the World

People & Communities
  • Children talk about past and present events in their own lives and in the lives of family members.
  • They know that other children don’t always enjoy the same things, and are sensitive to this.
  • They know about similarities and differences between themselves and others, and among families, communities and traditions.
The World
  • Children know about similarities and differences in relation to places, objects, materials and living things.
  • They talk about the features of their own immediate environment and how environments might vary from one another.
  • They make observations of animals and plants and explain why some things occur, and talk about changes.
  • Children recognise that a range of technology is used in places such as homes and schools.
  • They select and use technology for particular purposes.

Expressive Art & Design

Exploring & Using Media & Materials
  • Children sing songs, make music and dance, and experiment with ways of changing them.
  • They safely use and explore a variety of materials, tools and techniques, experimenting with colour, design, texture, form and function.
Being Imaginative
  • Children use what they have learnt about media and materials in original ways, thinking about uses and purposes.
  • They represent their own ideas, thoughts and feelings through design and technology, art, music, dance, role play and stories.



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