We’re all born ready to explore the world. Here’s why sensory exploration is important at an early age.
Exploration is an important foundation for so many learning areas. It leads to discovery, an essential part of independent play. Exploration starts with sensory stimulation, which encourages infants to reach out and react to the world as they learn through their senses. Sensory exploration, movement and stimulation are all critical to a baby’s brain development. These stimulations inspire wonder, and soon the child will be ready to initiate activities – play is then at that point driven by the child.
A sensory-rich play environment will invite exploration and independent discovery and become the springboard for the development of many other areas.
● Play will develop motor skills, both fine motor (small muscles, finger manipulation and dexterity) and gross motor (large muscles, flexibility, strength, balance and coordination).
● Experimentation will lead to the discovery of cause and effect relationships. For example, “I did that!” moments will not only build esteem but will also lead to “what will happen if….” questions. This furthers exploration and discoveries.
● Exploration of sound and rhythm can lead to the creation of music.
● Independent exploration will naturally lead to dramatic and pretend play with toys that encourage open-ended child-powered imagination and creativity.
As children explore the world around them, enticed by a fascinating, sensory-rich environment, they develop the critical thinking and reasoning skills that underlie many important academic areas.
“Children are born ready to learn. Children are naturally curious beings who are motivated to make sense of the world around them. The brain is the only organ that is not fully formed at birth. During the first 3 years, trillions of connections between brain cells are being made. A child’s relationships and experiences during the early years greatly influence how her brain grows.”