What is sensory play?
Sensory play means play that is not just enjoyable but actively engaging,
stimulating a child’s sense of touch, smell, taste, sight, hearing, balance
A sensory rich environment features a variety of different props to encourage
the child to explore their exciting new environment, building their knowledge of
the world as they investigate and explore.
As they do so, they process and respond to sensory information and their brain
creates stronger neural connections.
This helps them to refine their understanding of different sensory experiences.
For example, some children find it difficult to play appropriately alongside
others when there their environment is confusing for them.
1. Sensory play builds nerve connections within the developing brain’s neural
pathways which in turn lead to the ability to complete more complex learning
2. Sensory Play supports language development, cognitive growth, motor skills,
problem solving skills and social interaction.
3. Sensory play aids in the developing and enhancing of memory function
4. Sensory play is great for calming an anxious and frustrated child
5. Sensory play helps children learn vitally important sensory attributes (hot, cold,
soft, hard etc)
Using the Senses to learn…
Our senses of touch, hearing, sight, taste, smell, balance and movement are the
things that we use to gain new knowledge.
They work together as tools to build up our knowledge of a situation or an
All learning and growth happens when we bring together this information from all the
senses and relate it to our past learning.
From birth through to early childhood, children use their senses to try to understand
the new, exciting world around them. They are interested in everything - touching
surfaces, putting things in their mouths, listening curiously to new sounds, moving their
In doing so, they are taking in new information through their senses, and in turn their
brain is forming neural connections and works to turn the information into meaningful
Children learn more from birth to four that during any other time of their life.
It is why a sensory rich environment can be a magical journey of learning for a child.
Children do not learn best by listening or watching adults. Instead, they need as much
hands-on sensory stimulus as possible.
This sensory stimulus supports cognitive growth, language extension, motor skills, social
interaction and problem-solving skills.
Mission statement and ethos of the sensory hub
1. To provide an environment which is inclusive, stimulating, safe and inspiring.
2.To encourage children to experiment, problem solve, discover and explore.
3. To provide support to families enabling them to form natural supports with other
families facing the similar challenges
Our aims are:
- To support families before their difficulties reach crisis point
- Improve the child’s educational experience
- Build resilience, confidence and self-worth in children and adults
- Strengthen family relationships and help parents to feel more supportive, capable and
By meeting these aims we work towards positive outcomes for family relationships, more positive
school and nursery experiences, whilst increasing resilience to deal with life's challenges. We
the SHANARRI outcomes
We'd like to thank our supporters:
Building on a dream
Sensory Hub Glasgow has been designed and created by Gail Macdonald.
Following a long career in childcare (Nursery Owner) and subsequently owning and
running sensory classes for young children in the mainstream sector Gail had a desire to
help children and families with sensory impairment issues overcome hurdles to being
Her wish was to open the “Sensory Hub”, an environment which is inclusive, stimulating,
safe and inspiring where children and their families can feel comfortable, respected
and understood. A specially designed sensory space, allowing families to better their
quality of life and help their child develop a greater functional independence.
Since 1986, after graduating Gail has been involved in Child Care she has since 1991
owned and managed her own nurseries in Glasgow, and thereafter run sensory child
development classes locally.
The Sensory Hub is the realisation of her long-held ambition to develop a sensory space
suitable for young children, with or without additional sensory support needs. The
sensory play that the Hub offers makes full use of children’s five core senses, while
also stimulating their movement, balance and gross motor skills.
A sensory environment can help with language development, cognitive skills, motor skills,
problem solving and social interaction. There is a lot of research to show that sensory
play builds neural connections in the brain’s pathways, which extends the child’s ability
to complete more complex learning tasks.
The Sensory Hub experiences
As The Sensory Hub grows and develops organically, we hope to offer opportunities for
families to network and share experiences along with using the fabulous sensory rich
space we have created meeting the needs of all children under the age 4 years old or
potentially older if there is a specific concern or sensory impairment.
There will be stay and play sessions, staff led activities, small group sensory classes and
networking opportunities eventually.
We will also hope to specialise in signposting parents who may have concerns about their child’s
development to local health professionals, charities and support agencies.