Updated: May 15
Humans learn and experience the world through their five senses: sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing. From a young age, these sensory experiences play a vital role in our early learning. They are the most common tool for children to express their moods, feelings, emotions, and thoughts.
Parents and teachers can use colours within sensory play and activities to optimize and enhance the learning experiences during the early years. Young children depend much on visual learning during their early years and specific colours can enhance learning in a more attractive atmosphere. Although in some cases (like children with special needs) colours can be used differently to enhance and satisfy the learning experiences for sensory development.
Between the ages of 3-6 children usually depend most on visual aids and materials for learning to read and write. The colourful material helps them to associate some specific learning and differentiate between the main features and characteristics of the objects and languages to learn faster.
Using colours along with sensory play in a learning environment can affect student attention, behaviour, and achievement. Students with special needs react differently to the colors they see. This is how the colours can impact the cognitive and psychomotor skills of a child.
Depending on the sensory experiences, there are two main types of colours for sensory play:
a) warm colours
b) cool colours
a). Warm Tones: Warm colours are mostly used in pre-schools to activate the energy level of young learners. These colours are suitable for children with low energy.
Colours like red, orange and yellow stimulate creativity and increase energy. This may make them a good choice for individuals with reduced sensitivity but not a good choice for individuals with ADHD and similar disorders. So choosing colours for both types of learners is something very important.
b). Cool Tones: Cool colours are favoured for students who are highly energetic and find it difficult to relax and concentrate on a task.
Cool colours are a better option for individuals where you may need to reduce stimulation or hyperactivity, such as the students with ADHD or the hypersensitive variation of autism. The cool tones of green, blue, grey, and violet are suitable to promote peace, calm, and a feeling of well-being. Here are some basic colors which are mainly used for the sensory play of the young children, for visual and hands-on activities. Let us see how they impact the children sensory experiences:
Ø Blue colour lowers body temperature and brings the mood down to normal by enhancing the relaxation levels in individuals. Blue is also a good choice for children with visual impairment.
Ø Green helps to relax the nervous system and lessens feelings of stress. It is helpful to enhance communication and speaking skills.
Ø Orange enhances critical thinking and memory skills.
Ø Yellows are good to excite the children and cheer them up for any new challenge because of their vibrant appearance.
Ø Pink is neither warm nor cool and has a sedative effect. It reduces aggression and hyperactivity.
To support the cognitive and psychological development of children, parents and teachers should carefully choose the colors based upon the needs of the children to deliver the best sensory experience possible. Make sure to think about the colours and their uses next time your decorating classrooms, creating a playroom or inventing new sensory activities.