When most parents think about their child’s development, most of the focus is placed on growth, gross motor skills, fine motor skills, creativity, language, and the overall learning a child gains as he or she grows.
The often missed part that most parents will miss during their child development is sensory which makes up of hearing, sight, taste, smell, and touch. These main sensory skills may seem to be minor parts of development, since we all learn them naturally; however, this is one of the most important parts of your child’s overall development. Both physical and knowledge development is reliant upon sensory skills.
Early Sensory Explorations
Children benefit from your guidance in developing their sensory skills, like all other components of child development. The very first day a child is born, his or her sensory skills are growing to support continuous development. A newborn is instinctively drawn to begin exploring his or her new world through touching, being touched, hearing sounds that become familiar, and tasting everything to understand the world around him or her.
One of the first toys that infants enjoy using is a mouth toy, which is safely designed to be gentle in a newborn’s mouth – they are not only made for teething. These toys are a direct introduction of sensory development to prepare your child for the development of learning and the simple task of eating.
Sensory Grows Beyond Touch
As your child becomes older, additional senses begin to emerge. Other senses start to engage themselves in a continuous growth of sensory development. Your child now starts to have a keener sense of smell, touching with hands, and increased sight recognition. This is a time where your child spends time examining, categorizing, and discovering the world.
Toys that promote the growth of your child’s sensory skills could be a standing water or sand table that encourages finer touch. Scratch and sniff books are also great to teach your child about different smells in his or her environment and in the world.
Sensory and Language
Development of sensory skills is also related to the development of language in a child. Senses that are based on the expansion of taste and sight increase your child’s observational skills where the base of language skills begins.
Toys that are designed with a variety of shapes, textures, and taste expand your child’s learning. This in turn encourages your child’s ability to communicate more clearly through language development.