COLUMN: Sensory play great for development

Have you ever noticed that very young children are fascinated by everyday objects?

Sometimes you can give them a gift and they’ll be more interested in the box or wrapping paper that it came in.

You can stimulate this interest by putting together a treasure basket using everyday objects that children can explore; this will develop their thinking and problem-solving skills and provide endless opportunities for language.

Treasure baskets also provide a lovely opportunity for parents to spend quality time with their children, being led by their child and seeing for themselves where ideas develop.

One idea is to set up different sensory bottles using clear, empty drinks bottles and lids. Fill them a quarter full with different textures and items, such as rice and glitter, dried pasta shapes that make a sound when shaken, or coloured washing up liquid.

A wooden kitchen roll holder and a set of different metal bangles are great fun for hand-eye co-ordination and counting and turn taking – and they roll on the floor well, too.

Why not try sensory water play in a washing up bowl using bubbles, food colouring, fruity tea bags in warm water and citrus fruits?

Or freezing fruit slices in water or jelly and letting children explore them as they melt, talking about how they feel, what changes occur and even how they smell and taste?

Or just a simple basket with small pots and pans and wooden spoons will create opportunities for exploring, imagination and learning about different sounds.

Kristina Johnson is senior nursery manager at Mon Ami Nurseries, which has bases in Boston, Swineshead, Alford and Wragby.