In our fast-moving digital world, children are glued to the couch with a handheld device in-hand. Give them an opportunity to experience the world through touch! A fun and engaging way to play and learn with endless developmental benefits. Parenting expert Nikki Bush shares on sensopathic play. “It uses the sense of touch, the biggest sensory system in the body, to help children better understand the world around them.”
Sensopathic play is a very real, concrete and experiential way to learn through personal experience. And as Albert Einstein said: ‘Learning is experience. Everything else is just information.”
In the modern world fewer children engage in sensopathic play. They instead spend more time in front of a laptop computer or playing video games. Bush says the digital world has evolved so much that real toys and games have been replaced with similar screen-based games.
Screens don’t provide three-dimensional learning. These days a 4-year old can play a shape matching game on a tablet, but can’t do it in the real world. A 5-year old can build a 64-piece puzzle on a computer game, but struggles to build a puzzle in class.
Parents should encourage this type of play. The options are endless. Drawing on a child’s back with bubble bath during bath time. Allowing them to draw pictures on the patio door and window with shaving cream. Crafting little figures out of play dough. These are just a few examples that guarantee fun, interactive multisensory experiences. And there are many developmental benefits attached to each, including fine motor coordination and teaching a child how to feel emotionally safe and secure.
Balance children’s time on screens with more time doing real activities in real time with real objects and real people. You’ll be surprised at the results.
There are dozens of toys on the market that encourage sensopathic play. A few examples are finger paints and play dough, as well as dolls and plush toys.
“Every child needs an opportunity to experience the world in a very real sense and through the sense of touch. Your child learns more effectively when fully, physically engaging in their own learning, creating meaningful experiences.
*Nikki Bush works with the Toy Kingdom child development team.