Sensory items are generally used by adults to help them experience sensory overload. They can be bought in shops, online or from a specialist company, but they’re not often associated with children’s play.
However, there is nothing wrong with using sensory items when it comes to young children. These can be used to enhance their learning, as well as helping them relax.
If you have an older child who has sensory processing disorder (SPD), then the use of sensory items may be more appropriate for them than some other toys. This will depend on the nature of your child’s condition. If your child doesn’t have SPD, then most likely you won’t need to invest in any special pieces of equipment.
What Is Sensory Overload?
In general terms, sensory overload refers to the way the brain receives all the information coming through our senses at once. It’s quite normal for this to happen, especially if we’re surrounded by too many sights, sounds, smells and tastes. For example, imagine being in a busy shopping centre where the music is blaring loudly, people are shouting everywhere and there are lots of different scents coming in from various food stalls and kiosks. At first, it might sound like a great idea to go into such a place and buy a bunch of treats! However, after a while, it would be so overwhelming that you could end up feeling sick, confused and unable to concentrate.
This is why sensory overload is something that needs managing. One way of doing this is to introduce a few sensory items into your child’s environment and let him or her get used to them gradually.
The best way to do this is to start out with just one or two items at a time. You don’t want your child to become overwhelmed straight away, because he or she could end up getting very stressed and even anxious. So try starting off with just one item, such as a balloon or a bubble wand.
It’s important to choose the right items for your child. The ones you pick mustn’t make him or her feel uncomfortable. Also, make sure the item isn’t too big – this means it should fit easily within your child’s hands.
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Why Do Parents Choose Sensory Items?
There are plenty of reasons why parents might choose to give their children sensory items. Here are some of the top ones:
– To reduce anxiety
For some children, having the things around them that they perceive as scary or dangerous can cause stress and anxiety. By introducing these into their everyday lives in small doses, they can learn to deal better with them, helping them to overcome them over time.
– To improve social skills
When children play with sensory items, they can learn how to communicate with others by talking about what they see and hear. Children can also use sensory items to express themselves, which can help them develop their emotional intelligence.
– To promote relaxation
By playing with sensory items, kids can learn to calm down. They can also learn how to relax by taking deep breaths, focusing on their body and slowing down their thoughts. In addition, they can gain control of their emotions by controlling their breathing and by calming down their bodies.
– To boost creativity
Children can use sensory items to stimulate their imagination and creativity. Some examples include blowing bubbles, making rainbows, painting pictures, and playing with clay. When children use their imaginations in this way, they tend to focus less on the outside world and more on the inner world. This helps them to get along with their peers and teaches them to think independently.
– To help with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
Some children with ADHD find it difficult to concentrate. If they play with sensory items that involve movement, such as blowing bubbles, it can distract them from whatever else they’re doing and help them to focus more intently on the present moment.
Types Of Sensory Items
There are several types of sensory items available. These include:
– Bubble wands
– Balloon wands
– Clothes pegs
– Clothes pins
– Glue sticks
– Coloring pencils
– Play dough
– Tacky tape
– Scratching posts
You can purchase individual items, or you can buy sets that contain everything needed to make certain kinds of crafts.
How To Introduce Sensory Items Into Your Child’s Life
Once you’ve decided that you’d like to use sensory items, the next step is to find out exactly which items you’ll need. Once you know the type of materials you’ll need, you’ll have to decide whether you can buy these products yourself or whether you’ll have to order them online or from a specialized shop.
This process can take a little bit of time, but it will be worth it in the long run. After all, if you want to teach your child how to handle sensory overload, you want him or her to be comfortable doing it safely and effectively.
How To Use Sensory Items With Young Children
As mentioned earlier, the most effective way to introduce sensory items into young children’s lives is to begin with just one thing per session. Then, as your child gets used to each piece of equipment, you can increase the amount you use. Eventually, you can introduce multiple items at the same time.
Once your child is used to using sensory items, you can add new ones to his or her life gradually. When you buy more items, make sure you keep the old ones somewhere safe until you’ve given your child access to them again.
As far as your child’s safety is concerned, you need to be careful whenever you use sensory items. Make sure they’re safe before letting your child touch them. And always supervise your child closely when he or she plays with them.
In addition, remember to wash your hands thoroughly afterward. You don’t want to pass anything onto your child that’s not been cleaned properly, otherwise your child could come down with an illness.
If you want to help your child cope with sensory overload, then sensory items can be a good solution. Before deciding to buy any items for your child, ensure you read the labels carefully and check out reviews from previous buyers.
Remember that sensory items aren’t suitable for everyone. If you don’t have a child with a sensory issue, you probably won’t benefit from using these items. Try to avoid buying items that look messy, as well as those that are made of hard plastic or metal. Instead, opt for soft items that are easy to clean, such as balloons, clothes pegs and clothespins.