Our Story

The Sensory Room NZ began when we identified a need for parents and caregivers to have somewhere to explore sensory play without the pressure of messing up their homes. We began by holding sessions in Cambridge, in 2017 and enjoyed meeting local families. The sessions were, and continue to be a great chance for adults and toddlers to come along and have fun with sensory play in a small group environment. The benefits of sensory play are endless, helping children to develop physically, cognitively, creative linguistically, socially and emotionally. Research shows sensory play helps children to connect neural pathways that aids brain development in early childhood. 

At each session, we offer different sensory and messy mediums, which include any combination of slime, gloop, sand, water, finger paint, ice, shredded paper, balls, tunnels, natural resources and so much more. We also use flour, cornflour and salt on a regular basis.  The sensory opportunities on session allow children to explore and gain confidence with the various mediums.

Once we were established, we began exploring opportunities to share our knowledge and experiences with educators in the Early Childhood and Primary sectors as well as opportunities for sensory play to benefit those in our community with disabilities or learning difficulties.

Meet the Team

Behind the vision of The Sensory Room NZ are a mother and daughter-in-law team, Karen and Amy Purchase. They are both passionate about motivating children to learn and develop through messy and sensory play activities as well as supporting kaiako (teachers) to create opportunities for sensory play. Karen and Amy have a combined experience of over 35 years across the Kindergarten, Childcare, Playcentre and Primary Education sectors.

Karen Purchase

Founder and Director of The Sensory Room NZ

I am a wife, mother and nana. I have been in early childhood education for over 25 years working in different Kindergartens, a manager at a Home-based programme and I have also managed a number of childcare centres. 
Over the past few years I have had the opportunity to do some training around child centred play therapy and attachment, which I have thoroughly enjoyed. Sensory/messy play is my passion as I see the huge developmental benefits especially in the one to three age group, where young children's brains are developing very quickly. The Sensory Room is a passion that I have been working on for a few years, I love to see young children having fun and learning through play.
My favourite quote is by Fred Rogers, "Play is often talked about as if it is a relief from serious learning BUT for children play IS serious learning'.

Amy Purchase

Founder and Director of The Sensory Room NZ

I am a wife and mother of three children. When my first born came along, I gave up my full-time job as a primary teacher and became a full-time stay at home parent. I entered into a new world filled with a new identity and new challenges. I began attending SPACE and then continued on to our local Playcentre.  These two programs opened my eyes to the exciting world of play and for my second and third children in particular, what messy play was all about.
Our eldest is our only son and he has taught me about imaginative play, everything to do with farming and construction, and how to use every possible item you can find in your play. Our second child has taught me about how to make every experience into messy play and has encouraged me to be more proactive with initiating these experiences. So far our youngest has taught me everything is worth tasting, clean clothes are over rated and I look forward to learning all about her passions as she grows.
When Karen, my mother in law (whom I get along with, shock horror, I know!) discussed starting The Sensory Room NZ, I was really keen to be a part of it. It combined my passions for pre-schoolers and messy play, and it also has given us the opportunity to build relationships with the parents and caregivers who attend. I have always had an interest in education which makes professional development the perfect next step for us.