Sensory exploration is one of the fundamental ways that a baby or child learns about the world around them and is a key part of their development.
We all know that the key senses are sight, smell, hearing, touch and taste. This is why babies put objects in their mouths to explore them and children love toys with flashing lights, things to touch and that play sound.
As a parent, you can often feel that your home doesn’t provide enough toys and activities to keep your child stimulated. Fortunately, sensory play centres have increased in popularity in recent years and there are now more rooms like this to take your baby or child.
Sensory rooms are excellent for children who have difficulty with sensory integration or those with autism or a sensory integration dysfunction disorder, as well as being a fun place for children of all ages and abilities to play too.
They are designed to provide an interactive experience between both adults and children and also for children with other children. The beauty of sensory rooms is that they are relaxing and provide a peaceful environment where children are calm and will therefore take in more and explore their feelings in a safe setting. You can expect to find soft play, special lights, ball pools, animated projections and tranquil music playing at most sensory play centres. It is also worth checking with your local children’s centre as many run special sensory classes for limited periods, which you will need to book.
My Mum’s Diary’s pick of the best sensory play centres in Merseyside:
Jake’s Sensory World
Glovers Lane, Netherton, Merseyside, L30 3TL (Inside Netherton Activity Centre)
Jake’s Sensory World is the idea of Jo Hall and Ruth Garrett, whose son Jake has a rare neuro transmitter disease. Thanks to their efforts, Jake’s Sensory World is now open in Sefton and Jake and children in the area have a sensory centre where they can play. It includes a fabulous sensory room with lights, music and soft play and a big soft play room, with slide, ball pools and sit-on toys.
66-76 (The Rear), Tulketh Street, Southport, Merseyside, PR8 1BX
Features a soft play area and dark room with UV lighting.
Wavertree Childwall and Woolton Children’s Centre
Rudston Infant School, Rudston Road, Liverpool, Merseyside, L16 4PQ
Has a fully equipped sensory room with special lights, picture projections and soft play.
West Derby Children’s Centre
Blackmoor Park Infant School, Leyfield Road, L12 9EY
The sensory room is kitted out with lights, soft play and toys to stimulate your baby, toddler or child’s senses.