In a fast-moving digital world, where 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 says sensopathic play 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’,” Bush says.
Yet, in the modern world fewer children engage in sensopathic play, and instead spend more time in front of a laptop computer or playing video games. Bush says the digital world has evolved so much that these days real toys and games have even been replaced with similar screen-based games.
“Screens don’t provide three-dimensional learning. And these days a 4-year old can play a shape matching game on a tablet, but can’t do it in the real world. Similarly, a 5-year old can build a 64-piece puzzle on a computer game, but struggles to build a puzzle in class,” she says.
Parents are advised to encourage this type of play, and Bush says the options are endless. Drawing on a child’s back with bubble bath during bath time; allowing him/her to draw pictures on the patio door and window with shaving cream, and crafting little figures out of play dough 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 even more time doing real activities in real time with real objects and real people and you’ll be surprised at the results,” she says.
There are dozens of toys on the market that encourage sensopathic play and the Child Development Team at Toy Kingdom has carefully selected and curated a range of toys that encourage this form of play, including 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. By ignoring sensopathic play, your child will not learn as effectively as when they are fully, physically engaged in their own learning creating meaningful experiences,” Bush says.