As I begin to embrace the beauty of colourful leaves, comfy sweaters and the cool mornings that the Autumn season brings to my area, the wonderful memories of summer still linger on…and so does the sand in my van. Those of you who have had interactions with sand know that it has a tendency to linger… on… and… on… and on. Even though we shake, we brush, we wash, we vacuum, sand granules seem to have a way of sticking to everything that they touch. Not only does it stick, but it seems to find a way to travel with you, long after the playing is done.
So where did the sand in my van come from? It came from an action-packed, outdoor summer movement session filled with sensory activities at a local beach. Sensory activities allow children to actively use their senses as they explore their world through: touch, smell, taste, sight, hearing, movement and balance. ‘Sensory Play’ includes any activity that stimulates a child’s senses while at play. Current research shows that sensory play is crucial to brain development. It helps to build connections in the brain’s neural 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.
By taking children outdoors to a beach environment to be physically active, it provides a unique, natural space for a full sensory experience and can facilitate exploration, investigation and creativity. It can help the brain refine it’s thresholds for different sensory information helping it create stronger connections to process and respond to sensory information. The breeze on our face, the sound of waves coming to shore, the smell of nature, and the feeling of sand between our toes are unique sensory experiences. The vast beach and body of water creates an opportunity to see a world beyond walls.
My hope in teaching FUNDAMENTAL MOVEMENT SKILLS to young children in a fun-filled, sensory way, is that the skills, education and positive memories created while participating in the physical activities - will mimic sand granules. Over time a bit may fall away, but some will always stick and travel with them to many places (and activities) during their lifetime.
So thank you to the sand in my van, for continuing to remind me of a summer filled with happy, healthy memories of physical activity with many, many special families.
Happy Autumn ☺!