Benefits of Snoezelen for children
Children perceive many stimuli every day. They hear sounds, see objects, people and lights, smell all kinds of smells and feel different materials. It’s their way of discovering the world. Snoezelen stimulates that, but in a quiet environment. In this article we explain the benefits of Snoezelen for children.
What is snoezelen?
Snoezelen is a way to stimulate the senses. It uses stimuli: sound, light, smell and touch. Snoezelen is the contraction of the Dutch terms Snuffelen (to smell, sniff) and Doezelen (to doze). The doezelen refers to the atmosphere and the snuffelen refers to the discovering element of it. Children have a natural urge to explore the world around them. That urge to explore is stimulated with snoezelen. They feel, see, hear and smell everything. As a result, children discover new things, experiment with them and marvel.
Several childcare locations have set up separate rooms as a sensory room. These spaces are completely dedicated to snoezelen. It is also possible to offer the sensory material in other rooms, such as the group room to provide a quiet environment, so that children do not perceive other stimuli.
The effect of snoezelen on children
Children come into contact with many stimuli every day, both at home and outside the home and at childcare. Other people, all sorts of things, sounds of traffic, television and toys. Especially for babies, but also for older children, this can be very overwhelming. With snoezelen you remove that amount of stimuli and children focus on a single or a few stimuli. This has several positive effects:
- It provides relaxation
- It promotes pleasant feelings and reduces unpleasant feelings, such as fear, stress or anger
- It prevents boredom
- It improves sensory perception
- It promotes making contact, because pedagogical staff can use this to connect with the children’s perception of the world
Examples of snoezel material in childcare
There are all sorts of ways in which children can use Snoezelen. You can buy snoezel materials, also known as sensory material, but you can also make your own. Some examples are:
- Seeing: children perceive movements, light sources, colors or combinations of these. Think of a lava lamp, a projection of the universe, a nature film or Arte Viva’s Acoustic Cloud that creates a relaxed atmosphere with lights. You can also use mirrors for this, such as the Child Safe Mirrors from Arte Viva. You can play with lights with it and a mirror image can fascinate children.
- Hearing: Here children listen to sounds, music or a story. White noise is a good example of this for babies. For older children, think of rainmakers or piano music.
- Feeling: the senses of touch are stimulated. Babies find crisp books (also for hearing) or wipes made of different materials very interesting. For older children, think of a feel case. In that suitcase you put different types of materials, which children can take out themselves to discover them. Think of wool, down, wadding, a sponge, but also uneven play material with protruding circles.
- Smell: this concerns odors that you perceive in a room. By putting a few drops of essential oil in a scent atomizer or aroma diffuser, a wonderful scent spreads through the room. Chamomile, mandarin and lavender are especially suitable for this. The latter scent is even known to support sleeping.
Guiding children with snoezelen
It works best if children are reasonably calm before they start snoezelen. You can stimulate that by always starting with a calming ritual. For example, have children take off their shoes to make contact with the floor. Or all sit on a Floor Wall Mat from Arte Viva and breathe in and out a few times. The mat has a solid white or gray color and absorbent material. This makes it low-stimulus and pleasant to sit or play on. Once the children have become reasonably calm, you offer them the snoezel material. If the interest in this has diminished after a while, you can offer a different sensory material.
For babies it is a bit different. When a baby is upset, it also has a very calming effect to come into contact with sensory material. For example, put a baby in a playpen under an Acoustic Cloud – sensory lights. The lights shining on the ceiling will calm him or her down.
So take the interests of the children into account when snoezelen. The interest in sensory material will change as children get older. Babies are especially amazed by the contrast between shapes and colors. They can best use snoezelen with one type of stimulus. Toddlers can marvel at a storytelling print, a combination of seeing and hearing. For older children, for example, a shadow play with a lamp is fun to learn.
As a pedagogical employee, it is important that you stay in the background and do not supervise the snoezel activity too much. The need for discovery is stimulated the most if they can choose the material themselves and go on a journey of discovery with it. Children may use the material in a different way than you would provide it. That shows that they snoezelen and discover in their own way. Some children like it better if you hold their hand, feel the material together or name what you see. So find out what children need.
Snoezelen with the Acoustic Cloud – Sensory Lights
The Acoustic Cloud – Sensory Lights is ideal for snoezelen with children and creates a relaxing atmosphere in sensory rooms, kindergartens, and schools. Crafted from high-quality sound-absorbing materials, this cloud-shaped acoustic panel is designed to help minimize noise and create a more peaceful and calming environment for children to learn and play in.
Using the remote you can choose from 12 different colors or set to fade smoothly the entire spectrum from cool blue to warm red. The Sensory Lights feature provides a soothing and mesmerizing visual experience, with calming colors that help to promote a sense of relaxation.