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  • Richmond Toy Library

How Sensory Play Benefits Language Development

by Gabriel Cooper

Children learn best when all their senses are engaged at the same time. The information is also retained longer if the experience is associated with specific sounds, colours, flavours, and sensations. Sensory exploration also helps develop equilibrium and motor skills.

“When you think of the most memorable moments in your life, you’ll realise that most of them were highly sensory experiences. For example, the smell of the campfire, grandma’s homemade Christmas pies, fresh bed sheets, and so on.”, points out Audrey Bergen, HR officer at Rapidbiz.

In this article, we’ll discuss how sensory play can impact your child’s language development.


Squishy, boom, shiny, flowery, sweet, wobbly, deep

These are just some of the fun descriptive words that children can learn during sensory play. As their senses are engaged, they’ll search for words to describe how they feel. And that’s the perfect time to expand their vocabulary.

For somewhat verbal children, parents or guardians may try observing them first. Then, listen to the sounds your children make and try building their language from there. The Boikaido Musical Blocks is a good start!


Richmond toy library has many sand toys and play dough tools for borrowing to enable sensory play.

Learning how to form longer sentences can help your children communicate better and demonstrate mastery of the language. In addition, you can use sensory play to improve this aspect. For example:

Correct Modelling

Child: “Want carrot.”

You: “You want to play with the carrot.”

Response Transfer

You: “What toy do you want?”

Child: “Carrot”

You: “Which carrot?”

Child: “Cook carrots”

You: “You want to cook the carrots.”

Response Combinations

You: “What are you doing?”

Child: “Cooking”

You: “What are you cooking with?”

Child: “Carrot and mushroom”

You: “Do you like cooking vegetables?”

Child: “Yes, I like cooking vegetables.”

Here are some of the pretend-play toys that can encourage these conversations.

For your next play date, consider bringing the Camping Party Pack Games for endless fun and learning. The pack contains the following sensory-stimulating toys:

  • Chinese Whispers with the Forest Phone

  • Fishing games

  • Feel & Match with “Silishapes Sensory Circle Set”

  • Dig & Discover with “Play and Explore Bugs”


Sometimes it requires creativity to engage children in a discussion. Reading stories out loud can be an effective technique. Here are some helpful strategies:

  • Try to use props when telling a story, e.g., flashlight, fabrics, and sticks.

  • Ask your children how a specific object sounds. For example: “The bell of the castle rang. Can you tell me what a bell sounds like?”

  • Encourage them to tell a story using character cards using the Tell-a-Story Game.

There are lots of toys out there with audio-visual features which might be more enticing for children. However, simpler toys tend to do better in encouraging imagination, analysis, decision-making, and problem-solving. Fortunately, you don’t have to purchase a new set of toys as your children grow.

A membership to the Richmond Toy Library will give you access to thousands of toys per month. We also offer party packs with different themes, so you don’t have to worry about planning and logistics. Contact us now to know more!


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