We recently completed a playground upgrade for a facility in Tanah Merah whose sole focus was on the development of sensory play through various elements in their playground. We have done many playground upgrades but the approach to this particular upgrade got us thinking about the various elements in sensory play in a more in-depth application.
By definition Sensory play is about the development of all the senses: touch, sight, sound, smell and taste through any activity. It builds a child’s cognitive development by engaging parts of the brain like the occipital lobe through visual processing, the parietal lobe through touch, the auditory for sound, the olfactory for smell and as a direct link to developing the vestibular and brain stem. Sensory really does encompass multiple play elements. Let’s look at how this applies in a playground.
Sensory play in the playground
Visual Sensory Play
With visual sensory play, it’s about developing sight and vision. For example, an objects movement, colours, shapes and any playground elements that draws the attention of the eye is encouraged. A newborn can only see shadows, then they slowly grow to develop the ability to identify shapes and then colours. By subtly including these in your play space you are subconsciously triggering the growth in your play space.
This facility opted to do this through perspex on their activity structure and adding bold coloured pip shapes for sitting, sculpting the land into its own shapes and adding movement through various objects like the flow of water and plants.