Why Is Sensory Play Important For Child Development?

Toddler In Child Occupational Therapy Doing Sensory Playful Exercises

From an early age, children learn about their surroundings using their five senses, allowing them to get a better understanding of their environment. It’s important to provide children with sensory play experiences at an early age to help with their brain development. In this article, we’re going to find out what sensory play is and why it’s important for child development.


What is sensory play?

Sensory play is any activity that stimulates a child’s senses, including their sense of touch, taste, sight, smell and hearing. It also includes scenarios that engage the child’s movements and balance. There aren’t any defined rules around what constitutes sensory play other than it’s an activity that encourages children to use their senses. This means that there are lots of fun ways to engage with children and help them develop, such as:

• For babies: Playing with bubbles, watching them float in the air and feeling them pop when they land on the skin.

• For toddlers: Watching how shadows are created when using a torch on an unlit surface.

• For preschoolers: Playing with musical instruments like recorders to listen to the tones they made and the changes in pitch.

Why is sensory play important for child development?

There are lots of reasons why it’s important to use sensory play as a tool to promote child development at an early age. Some of the benefits associated with sensory play include:

Brain development: sensory play helps strengthen brain development through learning, which further enhances memory skills and complex learning tasks.

Language development: It’s also a great way to develop language skills as it encourages children to communicate with others during play.

Motor skills: Sensory play is a great way to hone fine and gross motor skills in children, as they learn to grip, pull and throw objects during play.


Children enjoying sensory play quickly develop problem-solving skills and decision-making skills to find solutions to hurdles they face, like making sand stick together or fitting a cube into a square-shaped hole.

Cognitive development

Sensory play promotes strong cognitive growth by helping them understand and reason with their surrounding environment. As they play with new tools and materials, they learn about how they function - such as a stone that sinks or a toy that floats.

Social engagement

Sensory play in a social setting is a great way to have children interact with others in a safe space. They can learn from their peers, share their own ideas and foster positive relationships with other children.


Children quickly become aware of themselves and their surroundings when enjoying sensory play, which improves their sense of space.


Sensory play is a great way to help children adapt to new environments. They start to understand that different resources like toys can be used in different ways depending on the environment they’re in.

If you'd like to know more about sensory play, if you're interested in finding childcare services that promote learning, development and positivity, contact us today at Jacaranda Early Education at (07) 5500 5044.