Tag: definition

WHAT IS SENSORY PLAY? [CAIRNS]

WHAT IS SENSORY PLAY? [CAIRNS]

Most people think of sensory play as ‘messy’ play or exploration of different textures but it is much more than that. Sensory play includes activities that involve touch, hearing, vision, smell and taste, as well as movement.

Sensory play promotes exploration of the environment and also helps build important connections in the brain. These help children to make sense of incoming sensory information. This is important for developing attention and self-regulation skills.

You will notice that many baby toys and books are colourful and have different textures or noises that can be elicited by exploration. For older children paint, sand, rice, slime and play dough are always popular. Musical instruments are great for all ages to explore and in addition to the sounds, involve different skills such as blowing, striking, shaking and pushing buttons.

Nature play is full of different smells, textures, colours and sounds that you can explore with your child. Children also love to play with food and participate in cooking experiences which allows exploration of multiple senses.

WHAT IS GRANDPARENTS DAY?

“If I knew grandchildren were so great, I would have had them first!” – Lois Wyse

I am at the stage of my life where I am very much looking forward to being a grandparent. For those of you who may know me – this is not an announcement! While I am excited about becoming a grandparent, I am not putting any pressure on my two children to rush into becoming parents (I want to, but I am not).

The demise of the large family unit, where grandparents, parents and children lived together, and the rise of the nuclear family, has meant the direct contact many grandparents have had with their grandchildren has been greatly reduced. However, it seems to me the role grandparents can play in child rearing has never been more important.

Our society now recognises a wide range of living arrangements as ‘family’. The increase in the divorce rates, alternative partner arrangements, and single parent families are some of the factors which have changed over the years. All of these have an effect on the children involved.

Please don’t misunderstand me. I am not saying they are all negative. Not at all. I am just observing that they have an impact on children.

Grandparents often provide a consistency and certainty for children that busy parents, especially in the midst of changing family circumstances, find more difficult to give.

More often than not, if children have a question they want to ask, or an issue they need advice for, they are more likely to engage with a significant other in their lives than they are with their parents. In other words, when children feel uncomfortable speaking with their parents about something they will look for someone else they trust. This might be a close friend of the family, an aunt or uncle, or, where they can, a grandparent.

When grandparents engage in the learning experiences of their grandchildren, learning outcomes improve. Engagement doesn’t mean helping with reading at the school, or in the tuckshop (although these are great things to do). Engagement means taking an active interest in what is happening in a child’s learning journey.

Grandparents can engage by asking questions about assignments and projects, asking children to teach them something they have learnt at school, and by making it obvious to the child their education matters to them.

Grandparents are very important in the life of a child. I am grateful for all the grandparents who get alongside their grandchildren and encourage them. Grandparents – keep it up!

Australia’s Annual Grandparents Day is Sunday, 25 October.