What is sensopathic play and how can it benefit your child’s development?

Sensopathic play uses the sense of touch, the biggest sensory system in the body, to help children better understand the world around them.

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In a fast-moving digital world, where children are glued to the couch, give them an opportunity to experience the world through touch – a fun and engaging way to play and learn with endless developmental benefits.

“Sensopathic play is a real, concrete and experiential way to learn through personal experience. And as Albert Einstein said: ‘Learning is experience. Everything else is just information’,” says parenting expert Nikki Bush.

Yet, in the modern world, fewer children engage in sensopathic play and instead spend more time in front of a laptop 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.

ALSO SEE: Too much screen time can affect early childhood development

The downside of digital games

“Screens don’t provide three-dimensional learning. A four-year old can play a shape-matching game on a tablet, but can’t do it in the real world. Similarly, a five-year old can build a 64-piece puzzle on a computer game, but struggles to build a puzzle in class,” she says.

Introducing sensopathic play

Nikki suggests the following activities:

  • Draw pictures on your child’s back with bubble bath during bath time
  • Let your child draw pictures on the patio door and window with shaving cream
  • Get your child to create little figures out of play-dough.

Click here for a safe and easy play dough recipe.

There are many developmental benefits attached to each of these activities, including fine-motor coordination and teaching a child how to feel emotionally safe and secure.

“Balance your child’s screen time and let him do real activities in real time with real objects and real people and you’ll be surprised at the results,” she says.

“Every child needs an opportunity to experience the world in a real sense and through the sense of touch. By ignoring sensopathic play, your child will not learn as effectively as when he is fully, physically engaged in their own learning and creating meaningful experiences,” Nikki says.

To highlight the importance of sensopathic play, Nikki Bush will host a special workshop at Toy Kingdom Canal Walk  on 29 August 2016. For more information visit www.toykingdom.co.za/

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