DO ALL KIDS LOVE TO PLAY WITH SENSORY MASSES?
Since the Internet is available to everyone, multiple proposals for sensory stimulation for children can be found on the Internet. In this way, millions of sensory mass proposals and other similar games flood Pinterest.
All that many recipes have a silver lining. They are ideas aimed at stimulating children’s sense of touch, a sense that can lose strength in front of the senses of sight and hearing, constantly stimulated due to the irruption of new technologies at home and in the classroom.
However, play with sensory masses (clay, salt paste, etc.) is not accepted equally by all children. There are those who spontaneously pounce on these materials and even like to smear themselves up and down with them and others who are more fearful and have a “more prudent” approach or even ignore them.
What causes each child to have such different reactions? Sometimes the environment influences. If we have constantly repeated to a child “don’t get dirty”, “be careful with that”, etc. It is possible that the child, who always tries to please the adult, conforms to these guidelines and avoids a full relationship with the sensory experiences.
But I have known many children who are brothers, cared for and raised, therefore, in the same environment, and who have very different approaches to all the tactile sensory proposals that are offered to them.
And that happens because each child has a different sensoriality threshold. The fact that one dives into mud puddles and another prefers another type of activity does not mean that both are not getting sensory experiences. In fact, everyone is getting the exact dose of sensory experimentation they need.
EACH CHILD HAS A DIFFERENT SENSORY THRESHOLD
All people and all children are unique. And that means that we all perceive external stimuli differently. Our body and our brain interpret the environment and the sensations received differently.
And that perception is influenced by different factors such as our personality, our emotional processes, previous experiences that modulate the meaning we give to each thing, the culture, the environment, our own motivations, etc. That is why people have the most varied responses to the same event or event.
As each child will perceive and interpret the sensations they receive from their environment differently, it is important to respect them and not force them to experiment because we could be overstimulating that child.
Every little person is aware of their needs. If you don’t feel like putting your bare feet in the mud it may be because it is too much sensory stimulation for you. Perhaps your threshold of sensoriality does not tolerate plunging fully into that activity and needs something softer, so to speak. And everything is fine, everything is perfect.
The sensations in the own body are very intimate and personal. We cannot force any creature to feel what its body in some way indicates as inappropriate, even if it is something that we objectively view as positive .
THEN, HOW TO ENCOURAGE THE SENSE OF TOUCH BY RESPECTING CHILDREN?
1. Reduce the scope of technology
I have already mentioned it before, the irruption of new technologies cause the senses of sight and hearing to be constantly working. On the other hand, absorbed in the screens the sense of touch is clearly discriminated. That is why we must think about children’s access to technology and for how long, especially the youngest.
We must not forget the importance of the sense of touch during the first years . At first they explore everything with their mouth, exercising the sense of touch and taste. And then touch takes on even more prominence, everything is studied with his hands over and over again. Let’s not steal those natural and innate impulses by putting a screen in front of them all the time.
2. Favor different contexts and rich sensory environments
For each child to have sensory (tactile) experiences according to their needs, it is important that the environment is varied and accessible. Each child, then, will be able to experiment as much as they want and need, without having to be forced to carry out a specific activity that may be too much for them (or too little, each child is a world).
That’s why I always say that nature is great. In it there are plurality of textures (moss, stones, grass, earth, water, resin, etc. etc.). And each child will approach each of them in a different way, but obtaining the tactile sensory stimulation that each of them needs.
Soon I will talk about how to favor tactile contexts in the interior, that if the article will not be very long, hehe.
3. The adult’s attitude: respect, ask and don’t force
It is essential that the adult respect the response of each child to different stimuli, without forcing, and is able to offer alternatives according to the needs of that child.
For this, it is important to be attentive and observe the interest of the little ones in the different proposals, so that indicators of displeasure or anxiety can be recognized.
When in doubt … the best thing, at least from my point of view, is always to ask and not force.
And now I ask you a question … How do we adults deal with “putting our hands in the dough” or going barefoot anywhere? Because sometimes we are surprised that there are children who do not want to take off their shoes or play with according to the sensory mass when we do not do it either or we make a face of “displeasure” when doing it. Why then do we expect more from them?
And so far everything I wanted to tell you in relation to this topic. I really wanted to talk about it and give my vision. Making different proposals for sensory games is great as long as we can respect each child and their feelings.
Forcing them to accept a proposal that is unpleasant to them may mean, perhaps, overstimulating the system of that particular child . In addition, it seems essential to respect the comfort of children in their own body, being able to decide on the sensations that occur in it and if they are comfortable, or not, with it .
In that case, if what we want is to stimulate their sense of touch, the ideal is to approach the little one, get to know him, observe what he needs and create contexts in which his individual need is possible .
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