Regulating. Stimulating. Enriching. Motivating.
We’re going to break down the why and how of our play space! Why did we create it the way we did, and how does your child benefit?
Each section of our play space was created to build upon developmental milestones for ages 0-6, including;
- Gross motor and balance
- Fine motor
- Social interaction and attachment
- Language development
- Sensory processing
- Cognition and play
Gross Motor & Balance
As your child develops their motor skills, they often need to be challenged! From our toddler soft play climbing piece to our rock wall, your child can practice their motor skills in a safe way. Your child will be climbing, sliding, swinging, pulling, and pushing their way to continued gross motor skill development.
We provide a variety of differently sized items to fit even the smallest hands for fine motor practice. From pushing large pegs into a foam board to shaking musical instruments, your child will be able to practice their fine motor skills in exciting ways.
Social Interaction & Attachment
Many of our items were chosen because they can be used by more than one child at a time. Our rocking boat can fit 2-3 kids, the wind tunnel can be used by one child for throwing items and one for catching them, and our sensory room can fit 2-3 kids for shared regulation with our sensory items. Whether your child is anxious, avoidant, or extroverted, there are opportunities for social practice all throughout our space.
From beginning sounds to long conversations, our play space supports your child’s understanding and use of language. Items are chosen seasonally to focus on topical vocabulary. In addition, our focus is on social language; using words or gestures to ask for help, answer yes or no questions, or initiate an interaction with a peer. All along the space are printed vocabulary boards that can be used to support your child’s language use.
Our space was created to fulfill each child’s sensory needs; whether your child needs a lot of movement, is calmed by flashing light, or is nervous about graded floors, we have created a space that is regulating as well as stimulating. Our space has a limit to the number of people so it never gets too overwhelming, our lights are on dimmers so it never gets too bright, and our music stays at an appropriate level so it never gets too loud. Our sensory room is a great safe space for kids who get overstimulated easily and need a break.
Cognition & Play
We prefer loose parts and open-ended toys, in which your child needs to be creative and imaginative to decide how to use them! We don’t purchase toys that have only one use or have too many lights and sounds. When your child encounters a veggie garden, an assortment of plastic cones, or mirror blocks of different shapes, it’s up to THEM to decide how to play! At SPL, we value children’s ability to engage in a variety of different play styles, from lining up mini cars to engaging in complex pretend play in our kitchen.
Some Final Notes on our Play Space…
The items in our play space are meaningful and intentional, and we love moving them around! Every few months you’ll see new seasonal items, as well as a rotation of equipment and toys. We love seeing the joy (or confusion) in each child’s eyes when they approach a play space that’s been reorganized from the night before. This creates an opportunity for flexibility and for kids to try out items they may not use previously if it didn’t catch their eye.
Many of our items are therapy-grade, in which they are also found in speech/occupational therapy clinics or medical centers. As specialists in the field of special education, we study the current research on newest products that support a child’s therapeutic goals too!