The 5 benefits of sensory play with Crystal Creatures
Doesn’t your stomach just sink when you hear “mom, there’s slime, yay, can I have some?” And all the shops just know that they have to put them right at the till so you really can’t avoid them. Your mind races to all the mess on clothes, couches and generally everywhere. Slime toys aren’t anything new, whatever it is about ooze, slime, gunk and goo, kids are really into it. And while there is undoubtedly an enormous mess most times it’s actually a good toy to be so into! By encouraging the use of all of a child’s senses (sight, touch, hearing, taste, smell, motion, and balance) through play, you can support cognitive growth, language development, gross and fine motor skills and much more. Using their senses is one of the most natural and most basic ways for children to learn new information about the world around them.
I recently came across a toy that I thought I was going to despise yet ended up loving! Crystal Creatures Mega Construx (Mattel). They come in a shimmering crystal shaped egg about the size of two hands for a child, which you open up to reveal a glittery slime surprise which is made up of small Mega Construx pieces which you build into mystical creatures, and you never know which one you’re going to get. You can build the creature from the instructions or you can use your imagination and build your own custom creation because of their configurable bodies. The crystal then holds the creature and the slime for no mess storage!
The 5 benefits of sensory play with Crystal Creatures.
Building nerve connections
Research demonstrates that as children actively use their senses in conjunction with one another, this helps to build pathways between nerves within the brain. Crystal Creatures is therefore a perfect toy to do this. Crystal Creatures establishes a foundation for children to be able to work towards more complex tasks like searching for and building the mystical creatures while following the pictures on the instructions.
Children first learn to understand new things via their senses. Each time that they encounter something that is cold, sticky, or wet, as they do with Crystal Creatures, it reinforces their understanding of which types of objects typically have these characteristics. Since playing with Crystal Creatures ,Mini Me often points out similar toys through touch and sight.
Improving social skills
During sensory play with their peers or siblings, children will watch how others use the same materials they are playing with. Children communicate amongst each other different ways that they can use the material and together will uncover new ways to shape, move, hold or manipulate a substance or object. I noticed this a lot between my two boys. They loved building the creations and digging in the slime together.
Strengthening fine motor skills
Sensory play activities often involve touching, pouring, pinching, sorting and moving actions. Children primarily use their hands to explore, and in doing so, they build upon their fine motor skills that will later be used for writing, buttoning clothes, zipping jackets and tying shoes. As I’ve mentioned, the Mega Construx pieces you find within the slime are small building pieces and require a lot of fine motor skills to build. I thoroughly enjoyed watching and helping both my children try, fail and try again.
Enhancing language skills
Through the exploration of new tastes, smells and textures through sensory play, children will discover new ways to describe objects they find in the world around them. For example, Slime becomes more than just slime the more they play with it. It becomes, sticky, wet, squishy, stretchy, squashy, hard, fun and enjoyable! Mini Me spent ages building slime castles with the crystals and rehiding the Mega Construx pieces in the different colours of slime. They also thoroughly enjoyed mixing the different creatures and colours to create their own creatures.
Crystal Creatures Mega Construx by Mattel offer a great sensory experience which is motivated by the aim of finding all the pieces of your creature. This is a great toy for both children who are a bit sensory adverse and for those who love it. The slimy goo is also a wonderfully tactile toy on its own and the Mega Construx pieces are perfect for fine motor skills! The skill of following the pictures and the instructions and working together with mom to complete the Crystal Creatures also provide many hours of creative imaginary play! We thoroughly enjoyed discovering this toy, just remember to play on the tiles!!!
Brand: Mega Construx distributed by Mattel in South Africa
Recommended age: 4-10 years, however, I comfortably let my 2 year old dig in the slime for the Mega Construx pieces too as I was always around while they both cracked the crystals, dug in the slime and built the creations!
Here are some other sensory play ideas for indoors!
For entertainment ideas on how to increase a childs Gross Motor Skills have a look here: