All children develop their sensory skills and motor skills at different rates and at slightly different times, which is why Educational Playcare’s EPiC curriculum engages children in a wide variety of age-appropriate sensory activities. When young children struggle to acquire these skills, they can have difficulties mastering important skills such as grasping utensils, moving objects with their fingertips, or just figuring out exactly where their bodies are in relation to everything around them!
Motor skills are the movements and actions of the muscles. Typically, they are categorized into two groups: Gross motor skills, which require the use of large muscle groups to perform tasks such as walking, balancing, and crawling, and fine motor skills, which utilize small muscle groups to facilitate holding a pencil or picking up something.
At Educational Playcare, our curriculum includes our Quack Pack program, which provides our students the opportunity to engage in music and movement, yoga, and fitness activities. Our Quack Pack program is part of their everyday curriculum and is included in the cost of tuition. This program is important because it helps develop children’s gross motor skills.
Sensory activities facilitate exploration and naturally encourage children to use scientific processes while they play, create, investigate, and explore. Sensory activities, which is any activity that stimulates your young child’s senses: touch, smell, taste, movement, balance, sight and hearing, allow children to refine their thresholds for different sensory information helping their brain to create stronger connections to process and respond to sensory information.
Providing opportunities for children to actively use their senses as they explore their world through ‘sensory play’ is crucial to brain development – it helps to build nerve connections in the brain’s pathways. This leads to a child’s ability to complete more complex learning tasks and supports cognitive growth, language development, gross motor skills, social interaction, and problem-solving skills.
If your child’s sensory and motor skills need a little extra help, here are a few fun activities families can try at home:
- Building with blocks
- Pulling pipe cleaners through a colander
- Water play or swimming
- Using balance beams
- Homemade playdough
- Taste-safe sand
- Taste-safe kinetic sand
- Modeling clay
- Sensory table fillers such as colored rice, colored pasta, water, and ice – the ideas are endless!
- Sensory Walk
For recipes for sensory play activities, click here.