Stimulation plays a huge role in the development of children, especially when they’re under the age of one and their brains are growing nonstop. Being stimulated helps develop their senses and process information, and also helps improve their attention span, focus memory, motor skills, and more.
Many things can stimulate a child - or anybody, for that matter! Listening to music, eating food, playing games, reading books, and going on walks are all stimulating - and fun. Even just holding your baby is great stimulation.
However, some children may not be as easily stimulated. This could lead to boredom, which could lead them to find other ways to entertain themselves - or get in trouble. It also can cause lack of motivation, trouble focusing, or anxiety.
Luckily, if you think your child may need a little extra stimulation, playing with sensory balls is an effective, easy, affordable solution - that happens to also be a toy. They also are versatile, and can be used in many, many different ways and situations, depending on what your child likes.
What is a Sensory Ball?
Sensory balls are balls made of various materials and textures designed to give someone tactile and sensory stimulation. They can be very beneficial for children who may need extra stimulation, or who have sensory processing difficulties, but also can be just great toys with additional benefits. Adults also can use them to help with relaxation and focus - have you ever heard of a stress ball?!
Sensory toys are a big fixture in school environments, and often used and recommended by child development experts. However, they are just as fun as they are beneficial, and can be played with by anyone, at any time.
Sensory balls come in all different shapes, sizes, colors, and materials. The Original Sensory Balls by Edushape are an absolute bestseller and have over 20 variations! They have different textures, like bumps, ridges, or spikes. Some even make noise!
Why Are Sensory Balls So Important?
Being appropriately stimulated is key for growth and development, and sensory balls are accessible, easy ways to stimulate children. Not only do sensory balls engage your senses, but they can help with motor skill development, hand-eye coordination, relaxing, and socializing. Plus, of course, they are at their core a toy, and can be great fun!
Children, and even adults, learn best and retain the most information when they are stimulated. This is because like physical exercise strengthens muscles, stimulation strengthens your brain. Sensory balls are great exercise for your brain.
How to Know if Your Child Needs Additional Stimulation
Everyone has unique tastes and preferences for different activities. However, some children may be more consistently under stimulated and need additional support to be more engaged.
Signs that your child may benefit form additional stimulation from a sensory ball include:
- Lack of interest: If your child seems disinterested or unengaged in activities, toys, or games that used to excite them, it could be a sign of understimulation.
- Restlessness or fidgeting: If your child is understimulated, they may have difficulty sitting still or staying focused. They may fidget, squirm, or move around excessively in an attempt to seek more stimulation.
- Low energy levels: A child who is understimulated may appear lethargic, tired, or disengaged. They also may not want to participate in activities or play with friends.
- Delayed development: If your child is not reaching developmental milestones or is falling behind in certain areas, under stimulation could be a cause.
- Emotional swings: Children who are understimulated may become easily frustrated or anxious.
If you notice any of these signs in your child, it may be a good idea to talk to a healthcare professional or child developmental expert to determine if additional stimulation or support may be needed.
What Stimulating Activities Can I Do With My Child Using a Sensory Ball?
Sensory balls are easy, non-disruptive, affordable ways to stimulate your child. For example, if a child is bored in class at school and struggles to pay attention, having a sensory ball to squeeze throughout the day can help stimulate them enough to focus or sit still.
Here are 10 great activities you can do using a sensory ball to engage your child and help stimulate them:
- Roll and chase: Roll the ball to your child and encourage them to chase after it. This helps develop gross motor skills and hand-eye coordination. You can even set up a mini-bowling alley!
- Sensory exploration: Allow your child to explore the ball with their senses by touching, smelling, and even tasting it (if it's safe to do so).
- Texture hunt: Place different textures around the room and encourage your child to roll the ball over them to feel the different textures.
- Relationship building: Use the ball to play catch with your child, or roll the ball back and forth to each other. This is also a great way to grow their social skills.
- Color sorting: Using different colored sensory balls, have your child put them into corresponding colored bins or containers.
- Sensory bin: Place the sensory ball in a sensory bin filled with other materials like sand, water, rice, or beads and let them have at it!
- Counting and math: Use a sensory ball with a pattern like dots or spikes and work with your child to count how many are on the ball. This helps with basic math concepts like addition and subtraction.
- Musical play: Put on your child’s favorite song and have them bounce the ball to the beat of the music.
- Sensory bottle: Cut open the sensory ball and fill it with different materials like glitter, beads, and water to create a sensory bottle (or bowl). Don’t forget to buy a new ball, though :)
- Balancing act: Place the sensory ball on different parts of your child's body and challenge them to balance it without letting it fall. This helps develop balance and coordination.
Encouraging stimulation can be just as fun as it is beneficial for your kids! Sensory balls makes it easy - for both you and your kids.
The Bottom Line on Sensory Balls for Under Stimulation
Playing with sensory balls is a fun and engaging way to stimulate your child and support their learning and development. There are many varieties of sensory balls that you can buy, depending on the specific needs or preferences of your child, and infinite ways to put them to use! They also can be used to support other development issues, such as overstimulation. Edushape works specifically with research and development specialists, child psychologists, teachers, and parents to create toys to maximize their benefits.
If you notice any signs that your child may be under stimulated it may be a good idea to talk to a healthcare professional to discuss if additional support may be helpful.