Sensory play is beneficial for children with autism because it stimulates multiple senses at one time. Making a sensory bin for your child is an excellent way to encourage sensory play. Sensory bins can be particularly helpful for children who struggle with language, children with developmental delays, or those with food sensitivities. Let’s go over some of the benefits of sensory bins for children with autism.
What is a Sensory Bin?
A sensory bin is a container filled with objects used to activate and engage a child’s senses. Usually, these include toys, sand, shredded paper, rice or beans, buttons, cotton balls, etc. Be creative about what objects you have in your child’s sensory bin. The great thing about sensory bins is that they are entirely customizable and can be modified to fit your child’s needs.
Sensory Bins Stimulate Senses
The most significant benefit of sensory bins is that they allow children to explore multiple senses simultaneously in an enjoyable way. These include touch, smell, sight, sound, and even taste. Learning to engage with and stimulate multiple senses at once in a healthy way is incredibly rewarding. It is a good idea to include specific items that activate certain senses. For example, you can use plastic letters to help with sight—and reading or even singing toys to engage auditory processing skills.
Develops Fine Motor Skills
Fine motor skills refer to small muscle development which enables a child to hold a pencil or button a shirt. It includes eye-hand coordination and eye-finger coordination, finger strength and control, and muscle development of the toes, tongue, and eyes. Children can use sensory bin fillers to pour, scoop, roll, pinch, rip and break. You can also add utensils like plastic scissors, rolling pins, cookie cutters, measuring spoons, and plastic knives to further develop fine motor skills.
You can also increase your child’s learning with a sensory bin by asking them questions about what they are seeing, feeling, and experiencing. To help your child with language development, you can ask them specific questions about what’s in the bin, such as:
- Can you describe what you’re feeling? Is it hard or soft? Warm or cold?
- What else feels similar to what you’re touching?
- When a child assesses an item and sorts it with other similar objects, they’re improving their logical thinking skills.
Improves Social Skills
Additionally, sensory bins do not have to be individual activities. In fact, they make wonderful group activities. Playing in the bin together helps your child socialize and learn communication, cooperation, and teamwork skills.
The Connections Therapy Center
The Connections Therapy Center serves families of children and adolescents with disabilities and special needs. We are a team of experts in pediatric speech, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, and behavioral sciences. As a team, we offer intensive hands-on therapy for children and adolescents, as well as informative and useful resources for families. If you are interested in learning more about what we can do to help your family, visit us online or give us a call at (301) 577-4333. Want to get more information on how to help your child thrive? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest.