EGWs6uuBZ3pp-zGuVVdmeLgkJG4 Across the Avenue: Support Your Baby's Brain Development with Sensory Play #CreativeKids #motorskills #languageskills #developmentalplay

Support Your Baby's Brain Development with Sensory Play #CreativeKids #motorskills #languageskills #developmentalplay

As a pediatric therapist, I'm always interested in finding quality developmental toys that target important speech, language, cognitive and motor milestones. Early sensory play is a critical experience which is often overlooked by parents. It helps to build important foundational skills in infants, toddlers and pre-schoolers. This week, I gave the Creative Kids Sense and Grow Sensory Magic Tissue Box a try with my little one as we worked on object permanence, joint attention and motor skills. It was a fast favorite for him and allowed us to play together in many different ways. 

Why is Sensory Exposure Important?
Sensory play helps to develop your child's cognitive, language, motor and social skills. Depending on the activity, it often targets proprioceptive (awareness of one's own body) and vestibular (balance) systems in the process. It helps to build nerve connections in the brain that build upon each other as your child's skills progress.

Language benefits: Sensory play offers loads of language benefits tailored to your child's developmental level. Engaging in joint attention, working on communicating emotions, wants, and needs, using descriptive words and phrases are just a few of the ways sensory play increases language skills.

Motor benefits: Tactile play builds children's ability to use muscle groups and coordinate movements. Gross motor skills like reaching, grabbing, pushing and pulling are important precursors to sitting, crawling, jumping and running. Sensory play also prepares kids for fine motor skills used for such as dressing, tying, and writing.

Cognitive benefits: Sensory activities build analytical, cause and effect, and problem-solving skills, among others. Exploring during play and learning how things work, what they feel like, and what function they serve help to build neuropathways.

Social benefits: Joint attention is an important foundational skill for communication and peer interaction. Sharing in sensory play activities demonstrates emotions and reactions that little ones need to observe to understand their environment as well as appropriate interactions with others.

About the Creative Kids Sense and Grow Magic Tissue Box
I can't say enough about how much I love this sensory activity! They've even included a key ring guide to sensory play to help parents understand how and why to play sensory games with children. The tissue box is made of a soft material that my baby likes to hug and the bottom is weighted, so it's easy to keep upright during play. With 15 different textured scarves to pull out of the plush tissue box, it offers loads of different sensory experiences—colorful, crunchy, bumpy, smooth, heavy, light, corduroy, sheer, cotton, tulle and more. Your child will engage in visual, auditory, and tactile stimulation. Check out the many ways we use this toy to work on the skills discussed above and be sure to make use of the sensory guide provided on each Sense & Grow product box to learn about the importance of sensory play and fine motor development:

Object Permanence: Show your child a preferred object, such as a rattle or animal toy. Place the object on the floor in front of them. Choose a tissue—we recommend the sheer tissues with infants when you introduce this game initially—and cover the object with the tissue. Ask 'Where did (object) go?' Give your baby time to see if they reach for the tissue to pull it off of the object. If they don't, give the object a shake under the tissue and give baby time to reach again. If they aren't quite there yet, I like to slowly slide the tissue off of the object and say 'Peek! There it is!' before giving the object to baby. We repeat this exercise several times. 

Reaching and Pulling: Fill the tissue box with the variety of textured tissues, layering them so that one tissue will come out of the box at a time. Show your child the first tissue and say, 'Pull!' Allow them to reach for the tissue and pull it out. Label the tissue they've pulled based on its color and texture. Repeat this activity for the remaining tissues in the box, for as long as your baby will attend to it.

Peek-a-boo: These tissues are perfect for playing peek-a-boo with your child! Again, I like to use the sheer pieces initially to place in front of baby's face. I find that my little one feels more comfortable with seeing through it until he gets the idea of the game. When I'm using the tissues in front of my own face, I like to use the opaque tissues. Simple as that, I pull the tissue away and say 'Peek!' We get a lot of belly laughs out of this game and it's another way to practice object permanence.

Counting: For older kids, we have so much fun stuffing the box with all of the tissues and then pulling them out one by one to count. My infant loves watching us count with our fingers, so we play this game with him, too! If your child is old enough to start describing, lay all of the tissues out and have them describe which one they want to stuff into the box before playing the counting game.

Stretch and Reach: For babies that are learning to crawl, placing a textured tissue in front of them as motivation to try to crawl or wiggle their way to it is a fun way to get those motor skills going. The crunchy textured tissues really get my little guy excited to inch his way over.

These are just a handful of ways to use the Sense and Grow Magic Tissue Box. You'll find yourselves inventing different activities with you child as you engage in play together. Don't hesitate to let your little one take the lead! You'll find as their skills improve, there will be even more ways to explore.

Check out our quick demo of using the Sense and Grow Magic Tissue Box to practice object permanence skills...

Where to Purchase
Head over to Creative Kids to browse their entire collection. They've got loads of fantastic activities for all ages. We recommend the Sense and Grow Sensory Magic Tissue Box as a birthday, holiday or baby shower gift. It will very likely become a favorite toy!

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Disclosure: The product in this post was provided by Creative Kids. As always, our post are our own opinions.