You’ve probably heard about the Montessori method of teaching. Maybe you’ve read online about the simplicity of Montessori materials or have heard about it from a friend. Either way, sensory activities may have floated across your path.
This “unique” style of activities is something your children already know how to do. Sensory activities in a Montessori setting are playing into your child’s intuition.
What Does Sensory Activities Actually Mean?
Sensory activities sound like what it is: A type of activities using all senses to achieve learning. Sensory activities use our abilities, like sight or touch, to physically ground your child’s learning.
In this stage of your child’s learning they begin to connect sensation to words. Beginning sensory activities early on can be as simple as a few blocks or as elaborate as describing textures from materials.
The Benefits of Sensory activities
In order to talk about the benefits of sensory activities, we first need to tell you what lack of sensorial activities does. The stage at which your child is learning things with their senses is vital. A lack of activities can negatively affect and may cause underdevelopment of the brain.
So how does this Montessori method of teaching benefit your child then?
Sensory activities enhance your child’s dependent plasticity/neuroplasticity.
Neuroplasticity is what allows your brain to adapt to learning. Your brain’s synapses change as the body matures. And activating these synapses through a form of learning reinforcement positively impacts your child.
Other benefits in sensory activities include:
- Enhances memory retention
- Developing fine and motor skills
- Encouraging problem solving
- Helps in language development
- Learning abstract meanings
- Available for anyone
There are plenty more reasons why sensory activities can benefit your child. At Inspire Kids Montessori, we take every benefit of sensory activities into your child’s learning. Learn more about our education program here.
What Creates a Sensory Environment
A sensory environment is more than a bright classroom. There is careful planning to create a true Montessori setting. And more importantly, sensorial activities are ingrained in our layout.
In fact, it’s a part of the 5 essential components in creating a Montessori environment:
- Practical Life
So how exactly do we make it sensory-friendly?
We first create a layout made from your child’s viewpoint. Each classroom is motivated by the need for engagement. Whether it’s sensory bins or scientifically designed material, our Montessori environment must promote sensory engagement.
By providing minimalist lessons, your child is able to explore with guided learning. Meaning they use their senses the minute class begins. Find out what other benefits a Montessori classroom can provide.
What motivated Maria Montessori to develop new material for learning came down to one thing: To use objects as a way of refining a child’s understanding of an environment.
In this way, Maria Montessori defined Montessori materials based on intent. This material performs:
- Focus by creating material with one to few qualities
- Create slight errors to promote problem-solving in material
- Material that is attractive to the eye
- Complete sets of material to promote completion of the task
- Limited amounts of material to promote sharing, patience, and other positive behaviors
- Are made to help understand the abstract
While it may seem like a lengthy list, Montessori materials are quite simple to adapt to your child’s home environment as well. Natural materials replace bright plastics. And busy patterns are replaced with memorable designs.
Our environment emulates these concepts with a child and Montessori-friendly environment. You can learn more about our sensory material by booking a tour.
One Montessori method of teaching is daily life activities. By incorporating common activities, like environmental or self-care, your child is experiencing a sensory activity.
Each activity represents eight categories of exercises meant to include a sensorial experience:
- Visual activities to understand similarities and differences through visual learning
- Tactile activities to connect visual touch with world learning
- Baric activities to learn about the differences in pressure and weight
- Thermic activities to understand temperature
- Auditory activities to activate listening of different sounds
- Olfactory activities to learn about the different scents in an environment
- Gustatory to learn how taste is activated and detects different tastes
- Stereognostic activities work to recognize and remember objects based on a sense
With our careful guidance, your child will experience these categories in a memorable way.
How to Make Sensory Activities Meaningful
The great thing about sensory activities is that it’s easily available. The only tricky part is making sure it’s meaningful.
Beyond 8 months your child is able to gather information through the use of multiple senses (instead of just one). This is an important stage where you have control over how meaningful sensory activities become.
So how do you bring meaning to sensorial activities? By implementing “control of error” and “isolation of difficulty”.
These fancy words are core principles in sensorial activities, which make the difference between regular activities versus sensorial activities.
Control of Error
Control of error is considered the intuitive response your child has in fixing a problem. That feeling that something isn’t right is what begins to activate your child’s learning. Imagine placing a square peg into a round hole.
By keeping sensorial materials simple, your child will be able to spot errors much quicker. Only offer guidance when it’s necessary. Your child should feel confident in problem-solving just as much as you feel confident in their abilities.
Isolation of activities
In order to make sensorial activities meaningful, you must also consider the isolation of activities. Isolation of activities is the intention behind sensorial materials. Each material has a specific function, quality, and action that must be performed.
This clarity behind your child’s activities allows for differences to be recognized. This focus becomes the best opportunity for your child to develop at a quicker pace, rather than being confused by complicated materials.
Making Sensorial Activities Memorable
More than anything, your child will remember the effort and time you put into creating positive experiences. There are plenty of amazing opportunities to test sensorial activities, and the best part is that it doesn’t have to be expensive. We hope the following information helps you figure out how to create meaningful sensory activities that both you and your child can enjoy for years to come.
Inspire Kids Montessori is a leading Montessori school in Arizona whose mission is to help our students reach their full potential. Learn more about Montessori teaching, tips, and tricks you can incorporate in your daily life.
For more information, contact us! We’re happy to answer any of your Montessori based questions.