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Creating a Sensory Soft Play Room

sensory soft play equipmentThe Benefits of a Soft Play Sensory Room

Creating a soft sensory play room is a great way to provide a safe and engaging environment for children to explore their senses and process new information. By engaging with their environment and react to its stimuli, such as different textures, materials and colours individuals can broaden their development skills.. This is especially important for young children, allowing them to "use their creativity while developing their imagination, dexterity, and physical, cognitive, and emotional strength." Soft play rooms should be soft by nature so that the user can feel as if they are in a comfortable, safe space where they can focus on playing, interacting and learning. Some of the benefits of a soft play room include:

Cognitive Development and Growth

Creating a soft sensory play room is a great way to provide a safe and engaging environment for children to explore their senses and process new information. By engaging with their environment and react to its stimuli, such as different textures, materials and colours individuals can broaden their development skills.. This is especially important for young children, allowing them to "use their creativity while developing their imagination, dexterity, and physical, cognitive, and emotional strength." Soft play rooms should be soft by nature so that the user can feel as if they are in a comfortable, safe space where they can focus on playing, interacting and learning. Some of the benefits of a soft play room include:

Cognitive Development and Growth

 One of the key benefits of sensory play is its enhancement of the thought process, understanding of cause and effect and comprehension of the relationship between items and the use of hand-eye coordination.

 Sharpening Fine and Gross Motor Skills

Because of the emphasis on touch and feeling in soft play sensory rooms, soft play room equipment lends itself to the development of fine and gross motor skills. Children are encouraged to throw, squeeze, squish, pull and push this equipment, allowing them to strengthen their tactile skills.

 Creative Problem Solving and Adaptability

 A new environment such as a soft play sensory room offers new opportunities to experiment. These new situations require a level of creativity to try new approaches and techniques as well as adaptability to absorb and work with new surroundings.

Relaxing Qualities

 The closed off and aesthetically pleasing qualities of a soft play room can be therapeutic in themselves. Certain soft play room equipment can be especially relaxing and calming, such as a bubble tube.

Language Acquisition

New environments provide new opportunities to extend vocabulary! Children can learn to describe what they are doing and label actions such as ‘pull’ or ‘push’ or even to learn the names of different textures such as ‘rough’, ‘soft’, and ‘smooth’.

New Social Skills

If children are using the soft play room as a group, they will be faced with new dynamics in which to share and practice teamwork or collaborative play.

Soft Play Room Equipment

Before choosing your sensory play room equipment, you may wish to consider the walls and flooring. Finding the right panels, flooring, platforms, and matting is a key part of creating the desired environment in your soft play room, which should be both soft, safe and welcoming for its users. We suggest implementing white furniture, which is typically used to provide a warm, soothing room suited for relaxation and de-stressing. However, this idea of “softness” should also permeate from the type of equipment you choose to include in your room. You can find out more about why you should choose a white sensory room in our previous blog post.

Interactive Wall Panels

Our Interactive Wall Panels can be situated along the walls of the soft play sensory room to quantify and control the space, as they are often large enough to act as borders. However, they also use the space efficiently and provide a soft means of touch interaction. When picking your Interactive Wall Panels, you are able to choose from either touch panelssound panels or a combination of both.

Flooring

Flooring is a very important part of creating an effective sensory soft play room. Your flooring should be soft so that everyone can sit and relax on it, a key part of the sensory room experience. This can be grounding and helps users to feel safe and comfortable. We recommend that all users take off their shoes including any facilitators or supervisors. This adds to the experience, whilst keeping the room clean and preventing damage. The floor can also include a selection of cushions, plinths, interactive qualities or platforms. These will encourage engagement with the user’s environment and create a more immersive, fun environment which will improve the mood of the user.

Motor Skill Equipment

There are certain pieces of sensory play room equipment that are designed to strengthen motor skills. We recommend balance beamstunnels, and balance boards as motor skill equipment. These can be very beneficial to the user’s motor skills such as crawling, standing and balancing. They can also help with spatial awareness as the user gains awareness of their body in relationship to their surroundings. Some individuals may be unsure at first, but the inclusion of motor items will help to encourage them to become more active and improve their gross motor skills, whilst still being in a safe and protected environment.

Visual Equipment

Bubble Tubes are always a fantastic addition to any sensory environment, and are definitely one of our personal favorites! Calm, stimulate and engage users with captivating effects that can benefit a wide range of sensory disorders. Consider the Interactive LED Bubble Tube Corner, which comes complete with a padded platform and mirrors to maximize its impact and find out more about the sensory benefits of bubble tubes here.

We always recommend the inclusion of a projector in any multisensory room. They are fantastic for story-telling and theming, helping you to create an immersive and fun area that is perfect for sensory soft play. Keep the environment interesting by switching through our range of effects wheels.

Other accessories such as the Soft IRiS Jet Stream can help to create a personalized environment. This device can create the sensation of wind and is used for sensory processing as well as improving attention and awareness. This can be used in conjunction with the iRiS Soft Switch, which can also help to develop gross motor skills and interaction.

For further help and advice, our blog post on the 5 pieces of sensory soft play equipment for development is a helpful resource.

Experia USA has a fantastic team of sensory experts who are happy to advise you on the best ways to create or add to your very own sensory soft play room. Speak to a member of our friendly team today by phoning 1-800-882-4045, or fill out our contact form. We look forward to hearing from you!

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