OBJECTIVE. We examined the empirical evidence to answer the research question, What is the relationship between play and sensory processing in children ages 3–12 yr?
METHOD. The PRISMA guidelines were followed to complete a systematic review. Academic databases were searched using play, leisure, sensory processing, and sensory integration as primary search terms. Of 6,230 articles initially identified, 35 full-text articles were screened for eligibility. Of these, 8 met the inclusion criteria.
RESULTS. All 8 studies were conducted within the United States. The evidence of the relationship between play and sensory processing fell mainly into the low levels of evidence: case studies and cohort studies.
CONCLUSION. This review provides occupational therapists with an emerging understanding of the relationship between play and sensory processing based on current evidence and its importance in the occupational development of children. Rigorous research is needed in the area.