On this week, British Science week, we want to celebrate all things sensory and the fantastic benefits sensory play can have on our children. Specifically, I will be sharing some simple tips for how you can enhance your child’s bedroom and/or nursery space to encourage calm and exploratory play.

From birth (and even pre-birth!) babies use their senses; touch, sight, hearing, smell and taste, to discover and understand the world around them. We can support our child’s development by helping them to engage in sensory activities within a peaceful environment that promotes them. This will encourage problem solving and help them to build vital nerve connections in their brains.

Before I offer advice, it is important to keep in mind that not all children are the same, it is estimated that 1 in 7 people in the UK are neurodivergent, meaning their brain functions, learns and processes information differently to neuro typical people. Neurodiverse people, starting from childhood, can have a heightened sensitivity to certain senses and overstimulation may cause distress. Others may seek out additional stimulation in settings that don’t stimulate their senses enough. This Sensory Board for Toddlers is designed to help children relax and focus, introducing them to new experiences gently whilst calming them in stressful situations. Equally the Jaques Wooden Sensory Blocks will offer the same soothing qualities whilst developing their sense of sight, sound and touch.

With all that in mind there are some fundamental actions you can make to a child’s environment to achieve the best benefits from sensory play.

1.Make decisions together

No matter how young your child is you will be able to garner a reaction from them if they have a particular adversity or inclination towards a fabric, colour or pattern. Many homeware companies offer samples for rugs, flooring, paint colours, wallpapers, fabrics and more, giving you and your child the opportunity to try before you buy. Make your decisions together and your child will be able to play in a relaxed and familiar environment, something all children desire in their very big worlds!

2.Using colour to create a calm space

Children’s toys are created to stimulate the mind. Like the wonderful Colourful Musical Bench which will support your child’s sensory skills in creating an association between musical notes and colour. However, to be able to properly enjoy their toys the environment that a child plays in should be calm to promote focused learning. Consider pale soft tones that are easy on the eye. There is a reason that so many baby accessories are offered in soft whites, baby blue and pink. The colours are much easier to compute for little ones. Saying that, you don’t need to limit yourself to the classic baby palette. There is a world of colour out there and you can find soft and calming tones in almost any shade you like. My main snippet of advice would be to ensure the colour doesn’t dominate, it should provide a soft backdrop, so the activities your child engages in are their focus.

3.Keep the space tidy

Neuro diverse children find it difficult to take a lot in at once, it can be too intense.

Similarly young neuro typical children can become easily distracted. To best support your child’s learning they need to be able to focus, so your priority is to avoid mess (ha! I hear you all say!). As a parent, I understand that keeping order in your home is near impossible however, you can make some easy updates to support quick and easy tidying such as baskets and boxes that can be hidden away in wardrobes or toy boxes. Nowadays there are so many beautiful options out there you probably won’t want to hide them away!

Every day, as parents we make seemingly life effecting decisions for our children, I hope I’ve been able to help you with some of them. Happy science week!

Laura Henderson
Interior Designer
Interior Designer, Laura Henderson, lives in Surrey with her husband and two daughters. Taking a timeless approach to her designs and drawing on her love of colour, antiques, art, modernist furniture and photography she delivers luxurious compositions and peaceful sanctuaries within every space. Her previous experience in furniture design plays an integral role in the development of each of her projects, as does the time she spends getting to know her clients. She uses this to achieve beautiful, practical, reimagined layouts, resulting in projects that enhance a client’s lifestyle, reflecting their individual passions. To learn more see her website www.laurahendersoninteriordesign.com.

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