Movement and Sensory

“Watching a child makes it obvious that the development of the mind comes from movement” – Maria Montessori

Having only being on the planet a short space of time, babies are very curious and explorative learners. They use all their senses to explore and learn about the world around them. They are primed to respond to sensory stimuli, starting from in the womb; touch being the first sense to form and then the others follow. It is important to provide a variety of sensory experiences from a very young age to support the development of the senses, and on more than one occasion. Repetition will give babies time to explore and investigate whilst making vital connections in the brain for future learning. This needs to be supported with a play-based approach as it is not a taught process. When engaged in movement play, children are working the brain and making incredible connections that will support their future movements. Movement is very important between the ages of 0-9 and supports children with links created in the brain.

How do we support this at Inspirations?

Providing children have access to space, resources and good role models, children will spontaneously make the movements and develop their brains, making the connections needed. At Inspirations, we always ensure we provide opportunities that support children in the five headings and what it supports:

  • Floor play- tummy and back. Floor play/ tummy time is really vital for the brain to make connections for early reading in future learning. If the baby is premature or has reflux, this will be really uncomfortable for them so it’s not recommended. Different textures such as bubble wrap, corrugated cardboard or a slightly deflated gym ball are good opportunities for this. Being on the tummy helps with connections to develop bladder control and the sense of need- heat, cold, drink etc.
  • Belly crawling/creeping. Supports bladder and bowel control, stimulates foot arch (walk on tip toes), hip rotation, physical alignment, lower palm rotation- mark making. Making swirly patterns in gloop supports the opening of palms.
  • Crawling supports the cross lateral part of the brain. This will help with making the connections in the brain to enable us to use a knife and fork for example. This allows more complex balancing/ coordination, the ability to remember, sort and filter tactile, aural and visual information. Children who haven’t crawled tend to find it more difficult to remember sequence, remember the last instruction given.
  • Upright. Sensory intelligence, balance and coordination, supports reaching and grabbing. The balance receptors in your feet are stimulated
  • Spinning, rocking, rolling and swinging. Eye tracking/ convergence- reading, complex balance ability, great coordination, vestibular awareness, help to centralise their body movements.

The ‘Bare’ Necessities

Toe flicking and spending as much time as possible with bare feet is one of the lesser know important aspects. Children who have not had much time doing this are often the children who kick out when laid down or kick whilst sat at the table as they are craving the feeling on their feet. The educators with the babies will often create a sensory walk for them to experience lots of different textures on their bare feet. We also allow the babies to strip down to their nappies when involved in sensory/messy play. This enables them to get a full sensory experience all over their bodies. A sensory activity is planned most days alongside the children’s interests for our babies and toddlers.


Being outside is a totally different sensory experience. Outdoor learning is a big aspect of our ethos that we provide all day, every day. The weather provides different experiences as well as the surroundings, growth, plants and herbs. Our toddlers enjoy adding paint, essential oils or bubbles to puddles and then lots of splashing and watching the changes emerge. They will hang foil blankets in the trees when it is windy to listen to the noises it creates. Our babies are out at least twice a day, no matter what the weather. We therefore provide full suits to enable all our children to have the full experience of all weathers, without any limitations. Our toddlers have the door open and can choose to go in or out all day. Preschool are based in an outdoor classroom with a yurt so experience all weathers all day.

Supporting our children’s developmental needs ultimately helps prepare them for future challenges, and an independent happy future.