Play in the Early Years: Sensory Play Cover

Play in the Early Years: Sensory Play

Ideas for maximising opportunities for sensory play

An informative and practical guide to maximising opportunities for sensory play. It contains inspiring ideas for children aged 0-5, enables students and practitioners to understand the values and benefits of all types of sensory play, and is a valuable tool in delivering curriculum outcomes in a wide variety of settings.

Ages: 0-5 | Pages: 72 | Code: TS0186 | ISBN: 9781921613531

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Sue Gascoyne

Sue Gascoyne is an experienced Creative Arts & Play Therapist working with children aged 4-16 years with emotional and behavioural difficulties. Sue has authored several books, chapters and articles including a focus on sensory play, messy play and material engagements, wellbeing and therapeutic interventions, children's rights, physical development, and Treasure Baskets.
Picture of Bridie Raban

Bridie Raban

Bridie Raban was the Foundation Mooroolbeek Professor of Early Childhood Studies at the University of Melbourne. She is currently an Honorary Professorial Fellow at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education and in 2021, she was awarded an Honorary University Fellowship by Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU). Her past research has focused on language and literacy development, teacher change and development, curriculum and assessment for the early childhood years and quality provision. She was the first Professor of Early Childhood Education in Victoria and the second in Australia, and before this she was Professor of Primary Education (Early Years) at the University of Warwick and President of the UK Reading Association.




Chapter 1: Introducing sensory play5
What is sensory play?5
Our amazing sense6
Processing sensory information6
Theories of sensory play8
Theories of sensory-rich play outdoors10
Theories of discovery play, treasure baskets, loose parts10
Theories of brain development10
The benefits of sensory play11
Where to start?12
Chapter 2: Our amazing senses13
The brain13
Smell (olfactory)14
Touch (tactile)15
Sight (visual)15
Taste (gustatory)17
Hearing (auditory)18
Kinaesthetic, proprioception, vestibular18
Chapter 3: Sensory play in action20
Play with objects21
Using all the senses22
Outdoor play23
Nature tables26
Mud Play28
Sand play31
Water play35
Treasure baskets, discovery and ‘loose parts’ play38
Play with objects43
Practical suggestions for minimising problems45
Chapter 4: Sensory play for children with additional needs50
Lack of feedback50
Lack of integration50
Over and under stimulation51
Focus on detail52
Positive action53
Sensory ‘snacks’53
Implications for adults54
Practical suggestions55
Chapter 5: Links to the Early Years Learning Framework57
Learning Outcome 1: Children have a strong sense of identity57
Learning Outcome 2: Children are connected with and contribute to their world57
Learning Outcome 3: Children have a strong sense of wellbeing58
Learning Outcome 4: Children are confident and involved learners58
Learning Outcome 5: Children are effective communicators59
Snapshots of play59
Observation and assessment61
Chapter 6: The adult’s role64
Stimulating resources66