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Sensory Bag Number Hunt: Learning Numbers in a Unique Squishy Way

Sensory bag number hunt: Simple Sensory STEM Activity for Toddlers

Toddlers love touching things. They like touching things that squish, smush, and they seem to have an extra attraction to things that can make a mess.

We can work with this.

Sensory activities are a perfect way to engage your child and help them learn. And while sensory play can get messy at times, there are plenty of ways to utilize sensory experiences without making a giant fiasco to clean up.

We can also create sensory play that encourages number sense skills like number recognition and counting. Here is a super easy and fun way to work on number sense through a sensory bag number hunt.

Number hunt squish bags Sensory Number Sense with picture of baggie of shaving cream for sensory play and number page to put under

Sensory Bag Number Hunt

This set up is pretty fast, but don’t let that fool you. It kept my kids busy for a long time.

Supplies for Your Hunt

This learning game uses items I bet you already have at home.

  • Resealable Baggie
  • Shaving Cream or Foam
  • Paper
  • Markers
  • Masking Tape
  • Dice (Optional)
  • Small Plastic Numbers (Optional)

How To Set Up Your Sensory Number Hunt

Step 1:

Take your piece of paper and trim it so it is the same size as your baggie. Write numbers on it, spread out, and in no particular order.

What numbers should you use? That’s totally up to you! I start with 1 through 10. But you can focus on odd or even numbers, just 1-5, whatever you want!

Step 2:

Take your resealable baggie and put shaving cream in it. I recommend getting it as close to the bottom of the bag as you can to make getting air out of the baggie easier.

You want to be able to close the bag and get as much air out as possible, then be able to move the shaving cream around. So start with a little bit and then add more. (Although if you put in too much you can always spoon some out too.)

Seal the bag.

Step 3:

Tape your paper with the numbers down on the table. Then line up the shaving cream baggie on top and tape it down around the edges as well.

Step 4:

Have your child use their finger to move the shaving cream around in the bag to uncover the numbers! Sensory fun and number sense practice, all in one.

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More Learning Games to Play

There are a few ways you can play with this activity.

Free Play

Never underestimate the importance of just letting your child free play with this. Let them explore and see what they find.

Your child might hunt down the numbers, or they just might enjoy the feeling of moving the shaving cream around. Both are good. Even if they don’t say a word about numbers they are doing important work.

(I like this option because it is the easiest too. Just stand back and let childhood do its thing!)

Count In Order

Have your child start with 1 and hunt down the numbers in order. This helps build counting skills and number recognition.

Use Dice

Grab a pair of dice (or just one) and let your child one. Can they find that number? This is a good way to practice number sense as they see the number two ways. Once as the number of dots on the dice, once as the number they find.

This option is a good way to make one activity work for kids of different ages. Your older child can add up the numbers on a set of dice and then both children can look for it in their sensory bag.

picture of a red dice with the number 5 showing and sensory bag of shaving cream with the number 5 revealed

Hunt for Plastic Numbers

If you have small plastic numbers you can put them right into the baggie with the shaving cream. Seal up the bag and tape it down like before.

Now, instead of hunting for numbers on the paper, your child can find the plastic numbers in the shaving cream!

This is a fun way to create a calm down activity for your kids. The numbers move so they change every time. This makes it easier to reuse over and over.

Take It Vertical

Instead of taping your sensory bag to a table, try taping it up to the wall. Suddenly it’s a whole new perspective!

You will want to make sure you get as much air as possible out of the bag so the shaving cream doesn’t just instantly fall to the bottom of the bag. But it is a fun twist and perfect for toddlers who are too busy to sit down.

If you have a window or glass door to tape your bag to even better. It adds a cool light effect to your activity.

Personalize Your Sensory Bag

You can make this activity fit any theme you want, which makes it extra fun.

Try using food coloring with the shaving cream to make fun colors. (Bonus, just add the drops and let your child mix it all together by squishing the baggie.)

If you are feeling daring you can add a bit of glitter to your bag for sparkle.

Decorate your paper with themed pictures to go with the numbers. Then your child can look for 2 Christmas trees or 3 umbrellas, for example.

There are many ways to keep this activity fresh and exciting.

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Why This Is a Must Do Activity

This seems so simple to do, is it really that great of an activity for kids?

Yes! Here’s why.

Benefits of Sensory Play

Sensory play is any sort of play that engages a child’s 5 senses. Kids are naturally drawn to this sort of activity as they give them so much information about the world.

Sensory activities create better learning and information retention, boost brain development, boost language skills and calming skills, and help with memory enhancement.

You can learn more about why sensory play is so important here: The Big Benefits of Sensory Play.

Number Sense

Learning about numbers is more than just learning to count. Number sense is understanding that numbers have their own unique values and that those values can interact.

For toddlers, this means learning numbers outside of just counting straight from 1 to 10. They can see 7 on its own and know this is a unique value, for example. This is the framework for future math skills.

You can learn more here: Number Sense for Kids.

easy and fun number sense sensory bag with picture of shaving cream bag and number page

Happy Squishing!


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