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Sensory play is a great way for children to learn to interact with the world by using their senses: sight, sound, smell, taste and touch. Turn your classroom into a sensory room for maximum learning! 

 

What are the benefits?

Introducing sensory activities into your classroom is a fun and versatile way to help children to develop essential numeracy, literacy, problem-solving, creative thinking, and fine motor skills. As these activities are often highly interactive, and stimulate multiple senses at once, they are also well suited to helping children with different learning styles to maintain focus. 


Design the perfect sensory room, with these subject-themed sensory space ideas!

 

Literacy Corner

Combine listening skills, reading skills, and spelling skills with these two fun play tray set ups. On the first play tray, arrange a selection of sight words and swatters from this sight word swat game. Use talking tins to record some sentences containing some of your chosen sight words. Children will love taking it in turns or racing against each other to identify and swat the correct sight word. Sight words can be switched out periodically to keep children progressing.

 Foam letters spelling the word learn

Set up the second play tray with coloured card, washable ready mix paint, paint dip bowls, and lower case foam letters. Allow children to choose a sight word from the first play tray to use for this activity. Get learners to spell out their word by dipping the foam letters in paint and stamping it out on their card.

 

PSED Corner:

Sensory activities are a great way to teach children essential life skills as part of their personal, social, and emotional development. Practising these skills in a low pressure environment can help children to develop the confidence they need to apply these skills in their day to day life.

 

We recommended adding resources to this area which can help children develop the practical skills they need to look after themselves. For example, a soft play getting ready cube can help children to develop the fine motor skills they need to get ready in the morning, such as being able to tie shoelaces, fasten bag buckles, button or zip up clothing. 

child playing with a soft play getting ready cube

Role play products are another great sensory resource to add to this space. This is because role play can prompt children to consider other people’s perspectives. For example, these colourful and tactile Feelings Family Hand Puppets can help children identify and express their emotions or be used to discuss why people may feel different ways such as happy, sad, scared, angry or surprised.   

children playing with puppets

Art Corner

For fun sensory play, try setting up an ink marbling station in one corner of your classroom. Make sure you have an apron holder with plenty of aprons on too. Let this vibrant area of your classroom stimulate little learners creativity.

 

First set up a tickit Wooden Light table with a a tickit A3 Exploration Light Tray filled with 1 inch of marbling mixture on top. To create the mixture, use a large measuring jug to mix 1 litre of water and 2 tablespoons of marbling bath solution, then leave for a couple hours. 

ink marbling station

Children can practice their fine motor skills by using a pipette to add drops of different coloured marbling inks into the light tray and swirl the inks into a pattern. Capture the pattern by lowering your material over the top of the design a bit at a time, until flat. After 15 seconds, slowly remove the material, carefully rinse of excess ink and let dry. Try this activity with A3 paper, or even use it to decorate class aprons. Hang some string above this area to display the colourful artwork.

child holding up art work 

Quiet Corner:

As well as creating engaging learning experiences, sensory spaces can also be designed to create a calm environment. Dedicate one corner of your sensory room for rest from high energy activities.


Fill this space with visual wonders such as sensory lighting and bubble tubes, or a sensory dark den. However, don’t forget that a regular fabric den can also create a tactile sensory environment and can be a great cost effective alternative. Surround your den with some tickit sensory mood lights to enhance the experience.

children playing with mood light 

Make the space cosy and comfortable with soft furnishings such as beanbags and cushions. Add sensory seats with touch tags, or  sensory puzzle mats with different textures, for the perfect tactile experience. This will make an ideal space for children to read quietly, or use other interactive sensory products and fidget toys

child playing with fidget toy

 

We hope you enjoyed these ideas. We would love for you to share your sensory room set ups, by tagging us on Facebook or Instagram. Browse our products to find the perfect sensory and messy play resources for your classroom. For more ideas and inspiration, subscribe to our latest issue Little Learners magazine.

 

Here are some products to get you started

child playing with sensory mood table  sensory kit with tent and light up products  child playing with sensory mirror  child playing with activity tray

     

YPO 50
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The YPO Team

YPO supplies products and services to a wide range of customers including schools, local authorities, charities, emergency services, public sector and other businesses such as nurseries and care homes. YPO are 100% publicly owned, by 13 local authorities, which means the profits made are returned to public sector customers, delivering even better value for money.