From the time children are born through early childhood, they learn a lot about the world around them by using their five senses. Although exploring comes naturally to young children, it’s important that we give them different opportunities to explore using their sense of touch, seeing, hearing, tasting, and smelling. This is critical to their brain development and to mold their understanding of objects, spaces, and people. So before you say “no” to your kids’ tenth request for a squishies, slime, or putty while you’re out shopping, you may want to reconsider. Sensory toys and slime-making messes may actually be worth more than you realized.
Possible Benefits Kids Get from Playing with Squishies, Putty, or Slime
Motor Skills – Although slime-making can get a little messy, just think of all the wonderful benefits it provides. Your kids are not only learning the basics of chemical engineering, but this type of sensory play also encourages the development of fine motor skills and coordination. Another benefit? It gives them the opportunity to exercise four out of their five senses (let’s not hope they’re tasting it!). When multiple senses are stimulated at once, children expand their creativity and learning through exploration.
Stress Relief – Some stress in early life is necessary for survival. Stress helps children develop resilience and coping mechanisms. But these days, with increased competition, standards of academic performance, and social pressures, children can be exposed to too much stress. As parents, it’s our job to help them develop healthy ways of coping. That’s where stress toys, like a stress ball or squishy, can help. It’s been proven that the repeated pattern of squeezing and releasing a stress ball in your hand can alleviate tension and stress. One study showed that kinesthetic learners (children or adults who learn by touching or manipulating material) who used stress balls consistently gained an increased attention span.
Productivity – Research has shown that minor distractions while working, like playing with stress toys, can help boost productivity. By having something else to focus on such as squishies or putty, it gives your mind a chance to take a break. It also makes it easier to pay attention whatever task you’re doing once you return to it.
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