'Sensory play' is bogus

Okay, okay. I admit, I used the word "bogus" as somewhat of a buzz word to get you here. But hear me out. 

"Sensory play" is a hot topic right now. You can spend hours scouring through the articles on Facebook and pictures on Pinterest of homemade and edible play-dough, dry bean and rice bins, homemade finger paints, moon-sand, slime, and the list goes on.   What is the purpose of all of that "sensory play?" The sensory system is complex, but the basic idea of sensory play is to expose the body to a variety of sensory input to allow the nervous system the opportunity to "make sense" of that sensory information. Sounds pretty necessary, right?  Here's my case on why "sensory play" is bogus: All play is sensory play. Really. All play gives the opportunity to engage in sensory input. The solution to achieving optimal "sensory play?" Let the children play. That means, to you, mama and teacher and therapist and daycare provider--you can relax. You don't have to make the homemade play-dough. You don't have to hide all of the toys in beans and rice. You don't have to make the 'sensory,' squishy baggie for your infant who is interested for all of 5 seconds. (Though, let's admit, sometimes those things are really fun).  What you can do is mix it up. Give your child the opportunity to experience different sensations through play. If you usually do tummy time on a soft blanket, try moving to the carpet or the tile. Play music in the background sometimes and other times allow the space to be quiet. Play barefoot and with shoes. Swing. And run. And dance. Give Eskimo kisses. And hugs. And please, please, play in the dirt.  When you feel like super-mom, make the homemade play-dough. But when you are being 'just a regular-mom, not a cool-mom,' think: give the children opportunity and let them play.  Your OT, Ashley

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