A new sensory play room has been created in one of our residential assessment centres for vulnerable families. We are so proud of the effort the team put into make it for the children and parents they work with. We know play is important for children, babies and their parents. It helps them build stronger bonds and resilience.
How sensory play can help with parenting?
Sensory play stimulates the senses, touch, sound, light, taste and smell. Research shows sensory play helps children develop better problem solving skills, improves language and fine motor skills which is so important. But it also supports them emotionally and helps then build relationships, in our case with parents or their siblings.
St Michael’s team got creative
Staff have been working together to change the old play room into a sensory haven. A place where parents can take their small babies or children for quality play time. The team there specialise in working with parents with learning disabilities and difficulties.
They achieved all this with toys and materials donated from a local family, a small budget and looking at Pinterest for inspiration. Hannah, the deputy manager, and Ashley, one of the family social work assessment practitioners, have redecorated the room and built a sensory wall. One Pinterest inspired creation saw them use old sparkly material and a Hoola Hoop to create a dramatic cascade of colour from the ceiling.
Why a sensory room was important in the house?
Ashley said, “We really wanted to develop our sensory play room at 46 because sensory play is really important for children’s development and as a parent sometimes it can be difficult to know exactly what play to offer the child. So this is an environment where our parents can come. They can do one to one play with their children, exploring the different areas in the room. We also run a lot of play sessions, especially around sensory play to support them.”
The room with its new lights, equipment, surfaces to touch and special sensory boxes will encourage parents to get more involved in play.
Ashley also said, “The sensory play room does two things it stimulates babies and small children and creates a relaxing and engaging space where parents like to spend some time.”
Need to make parents understand the power of play
Our teams are dedicated to helping vulnerable parents better understand the needs of their children, showing them how to keep the children safe and also how to build their skills and confidence as a parents. Our sensory room will be another valuable asset in helping us achieve this and support us to get the best for children we work with.
If you would like more information about our residential assessment centres or referring families you can visit our website
There is also a sensory room at our young parents Friday group at the One O’Clock Club in Brockwell Park. These groups are for young parents under 24 in Lambeth and run in term time.
Here's a Ashley describing part of the room they built themselves.