Sensory play involves any activities that engage the five senses. Kids love it when they can touch, hear and see amazing things at the playground. You should also know that there are other sensory systems in the body that help kids to coordinate their movements and regulate their behavior. Incorporating sensory play into your playground is essential for meeting every child’s developmental needs, and adding elements that engage the senses is easier than it seems when you choose from equipment that is recommended by expert playground designers.
Meet the Needs of Children With Disabilities
All children benefit from sensory play, but these types of experiences have special advantages for kids with disabilities. Inclusive play equipment includes swings and spinners that stimulate kids’ proprioceptive systems. This helps kids to feel calmer and recognize how their body takes up space in the world. Equipment that incorporates music and other sounds is ideal for giving kids with visual impairments an opportunity to engage with the play space.
Stimulate More Learning Through Tactile Exploration
Planning a playground should also include thinking about multiple ways to engage a kid’s sense of touch. Textured panels are one way to provide a tactile experience, and you can even include playground equipment with braille to increase the benefits for everyone. A splash pad installation is another way to give kids the chance to explore the world through touch. Feeling the cool water splash on their skin stimulates their senses, and kids can engage in heavy work by filling up buckets and other water toys. As a general rule, kids learn more when they have multiple senses engaged at once.
Think About the People Who Will Visit Your Playground
One of the best things about sensory play is that it only enhances the playground space. Sensory equipment is colorful, bright and designed to attract kids to use it regularly. If anything, your biggest problem might be figuring out how to narrow down your options to the ones that best fit the area. You can start by thinking about who will visit your playground. School playground equipment might provide different sensory experiences compared to what you might install at a daycare for smaller children. Choosing equipment that fits the general age-range that visits the space helps to keep the experiences targeted to the park visitors’ needs.
Incorporate Varying Elements Into the Playground Design
A playground with sensory needs in mind should have a wide range of experiences to keep things interesting. Consider placing some spinners off to the side of a larger play structure that has educational panels inviting kids to explore what they do. As you reach the end of your design planning, you can ask yourself if each sense is represented. If so, then you can consider your playground design to be sensory-friendly.
There is much more that goes into planning a park than meets the eye. Adding sensory play to your list of must-haves gives kids that extra boost that they need to stimulate their development and turn each trip to the park into a learning experience.