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The Importance Of Sensory Play For Development

The Importance Of Sensory Play For Development

A child’s very first development is defined by a sensory interaction with their new world; the sound of their mother’s voice, a soothing pat on their back, gripping the fingers of their siblings. Dr. Maria Montessori believed that a child’s sensory experiences begin at birth. As children grow and develop, their senses help them investigate and make sense of the world around them. 

Sensorial learning is a foundational component of Montessori education. The sensorial materials developed by Dr. Montessori can help your preschooler explore, understand, process, and classify their environment and broaden their ability to learn.

Montessori sensorial education refines a child’s senses with repeated manipulation of these sensorial materials specially designed by Dr. Montessori. This experience provides concrete examples of abstract concepts such as color, texture, sound, and scent. This method of education gives preschoolers a structure and a vocabulary to comprehend and convey information received through the five senses.

Play To Learn

Sensory play calls for fun activities that stimulate the senses while providing safe, inspiring, and challenging opportunities to learn. In contrast to telling your preschooler how things work, or what objects do, allowing your child to experience the textures, smells, temperatures, movements, and sounds of the world around them can create strong neurological pathways and concrete insight that is more easily processed and remembered. These are just some of the skills that sensory play helps develop in your little one:

Language Development:
As they interact with their environment children will learn to narrate and tell stories about their experiences. Comparing and contrasting what they see, feel, hear, etc will help them develop the vocabulary to share what they have learned.

Fine And Gross Motor Skills:
Manipulating the objects in the world around them will develop motor skills. Squeezing squishy things, bouncing rubber things, placing shapes into cut out holes, connecting puzzle pieces… all of these activities require the coordination of muscle groups, enhancing your child’s ability to control movement.

Cause And Effect And Cognitive Growth:
If I bang this drum softly I will hear a quiet thump. If I hit this drum really hard, the noise will be much louder. This ice is cold to touch. If I put this ice in my water, my water will get cold too. The last time I threw this box of crayons on the ground, they spilled everywhere and I had to pick them up. If I throw them again, the same thing will happen. Observing the effects of what they do helps children understand what they can expect if they take certain actions in the future.

An Understanding Of Self:
As your child interacts with their environment they develop a sense of the world as it relates to them personally. They can process how certain things make them feel as they experience them and develop preferences: they begin to discern their own likes and dislikes. I like the smell of lemons, and I do not like the smell of pickles. I like the way a smooth rock feels, but I do not like to touch sandpaper.

Play The Montessori Way

Allowing your child to explore the world around them by providing safe and interesting opportunities to interact using all their senses will help develop a strong foundation for lifelong learning. Sensory play helps your preschooler develop language skills, understand math and science concepts, refine motor skills, and develop a sense of self. Sensorial play is one of the 5 key subject areas of Grey Matter Montessori Preschool programming. 

Our team of educators at Grey Matter Montessori are committed to providing the highest quality of preschool education at our Calgary campus. We believe in the importance of focussing on individualized and comprehensive learning, helping your child build the foundational concepts that pave the way for educational success. We seek to educate the whole child in a supportive, nurturing, and stimulating classroom environment.

If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of sensorial education or if you would like to explore the Grey Matter Montessori program, contact us to book a time to visit our NW Calgary location. We are accessible just off of Symons Valley Parkway in the NW community of Evanston. Call 587-707-4739.


Q: Does my child need special toys for sensory play?
A: Dr. Maria Montessori has designed some specific materials utilized in a Montessori classroom to facilitate sensorial learning. But children will develop important skills with all sensory play. Break out the playdough, dig in the sand, try new foods, stack blocks, wash the windows. Your child will always benefit from exploring their environment.

Q: Will my child learn enough if all they do is play at school?
A: Sensorial play is a form of learning and very important as your child begins to understand the world around them. But it is only one component of our programming. The other subject areas we teach are:

  • Practical Life
  • Mathematics
  • Language
  • Culture and Science

You can learn more about these subjects here.

Q: Where are you located?
A: Grey Matter Montessori is located in NW Calgary, Alberta in the community of Evanston. Close to many amenities, we are easily accessed via Symons Valley Parkway NW.

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