Along with our well known 5 senses – sight, smell, sound, touch and taste, we also have another 2 very important senses. Our Vestibular sense affects balance, and our Proprioceptive sense affects body (or spatial) awareness. Play items that stimulate the vestibular sense are things that encourage head and body movement such as slides, swings and merry go rounds. The proprioceptive sense is stimulated by items that help our body to recognise the distance between our body and other surfaces. For example tunnels, monkey bars and climbing items.
During childhood, the senses are all learning to talk to one another or “integrate”. It is vital that children get enough sensory input from each of them to develop an efficient and well-rounded central nervous system. It affects their brains just as much as their body.