Simple Sensory Activities
Sensory play is about way more than just making a mess. (Although messy fun can be a great way to learn.)
A good sensory activity helps children explore their world, focusing specifically on some combination of what the see, taste, touch, smell, or hear. This sort of hands on learning helps kids to build nerve connections in the brain.
But sensory play ideas have moved beyond just rice in a sensory bin. (Though that is still an awesome one!)
This page has amazing sensory activities for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers.
What's In This Post?
- What Is Sensory Play?
- Why Sensory Play?
- Simple Sensory Activities
- Simple Sensory Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers
- The Big Benefits of Sensory Play and Easy Activities To Try Right Now
- 5 Simple Sensory STEM Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers
- 27 Taste Safe Sensory Play for Toddlers and Preschoolers
- 5 Easy Musical Instruments to Make with Your Children
- Colored Rice and Other Rainbow Sensory Bin Ideas
- Ice Cream Playdough: The Best No Cook Playdough
- Peanut Butter Playdough: 2 Ingredient Edible Playdough
- Edible Marshmallow Play Dough
- Edible Gummy Bear Slime (and the Science Behind It)
- Edible Pudding Slime and The Science Behind It
- How To Make Chickpea Foam, A Taste Safe Sensory Activity
- DIY Easter Egg Bath Bombs for Kids
- Cauldron Bath Bombs for Kids: How To Make Bath Time Magic
- Hot Chocolate Sensory Bin: Ooblecks and More
- How To Create a Tasty and Fun Archaeological Experience
- Edible Ocean Sensory Bin Treasure Hunt
- The Science of Slime and the Best Homemade Recipes
- I Spy Bottles: Engaging Sensory Independent Play
- Edible Jelly Bean Slime
- Snow Sensory Bins: Must Do Winter Activities for Kids
- Non-Newtonian DIY Stress Balls for Kids
- Sensory Bag Number Hunt: Learning Numbers in a Unique Squishy Way
- Number Hunt: Colored Water Sensory Bin
- Edible Jello Slime (Fast and Easy Sensory Activity)
- Edible Sunbutter Play Dough
- Sensory Play FAQ
- Sensory Activities Are the Best
What Is Sensory Play?
As I said, sensory play is any sort of activity or playtime that allows kids to explore the world. This sort of sensory exploration focuses mainly on what you can physically perceive in the world.
Yes, this is taste, sight, sound, smell, and touch. But there is more. There is proprioception, which is the awareness of where your body is in space, and balance.
Activities that encourage kids to experience the world and get to know how their bodies move are sensory play activities.
Why Sensory Play?
So why do these things?
First of all, they are fun. Kids love sensory play because they engage their whole selves. These activities are worth any time put into them (though they can be really easy to set up).
Sensory activities also work fine motor skills and gross motor skills. They encourage vocabulary development. And they also work well with the scientific method (which in itself has amazing life
If you want to know all the big benefits of sensory play, you need to read this post. It goes into the detail of all the amazing things your children are learning. But trust me, they are very worthwhile activities.
Simple Sensory Activities
Here is a list of simple sensory activities to do with your kids.
You can start small with play dough or cloud dough. Maybe some shaving cream in a sensory tub. Try something and see how your kids like it. See what works best for you and your busy life.
A lot of these are super simple Some take a little more set up, but I have found they are very worthwhile. And please comment on what you and your kids have enjoyed!
Simple Sensory Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers
Must-Do Sensory Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers.
The Big Benefits of Sensory Play and Easy Activities To Try Right Now
Learn why sensory play is so important and get easy, no-prep activities for all 5 senses you can do today!
5 Simple Sensory STEM Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers
There is real STEM learning in sensory activities! Get fun ways to explore STEM (and they aren't all messy!)
27 Taste Safe Sensory Play for Toddlers and Preschoolers
Have a little one who puts everything in their mouth? No worries, these are all taste safe! And fun even if you don't take a bite.
5 Easy Musical Instruments to Make with Your Children
Learning music boosts math and reading skills! Make your own instruments out of household items and build your music skills.
Colored Rice and Other Rainbow Sensory Bin Ideas
Colorful rice will excite your kids and keep them busy learning. (And it's easy to make!)
Ice Cream Playdough: The Best No Cook Playdough
This tasty sensory experience builds imaginative play and creative thinking.
Peanut Butter Playdough: 2 Ingredient Edible Playdough
Make a super tasty 2 ingredient play doh: Peanut Butter! Get the printable recipe and ideas to make this the best play dough ever.
Edible Marshmallow Play Dough
3-ingredient homemade playdough you can make today! This is a tasty way to spend an afternoon while getting in some sensory fun. It's easy and colorful and your kids will love it.
Edible Gummy Bear Slime (and the Science Behind It)
Turn a tasty treat into a fun slime! This hands-on sensory experience is taste safe and a must do. Plus get the science behind how it works!
Edible Pudding Slime and The Science Behind It
Pudding slime? Yes! Learn how to turn this treat into a fun slime and get the science of how pudding turns into slime.
How To Make Chickpea Foam, A Taste Safe Sensory Activity
Turn chickpea water into a fun sensory foam! This taste safe sensory foam is perfect for babies and young toddlers, though kids of all ages love it. Plus it can be made into so many fun colors! Plus learn how it comes together.
DIY Easter Egg Bath Bombs for Kids
Make bath time even better by making your own bath bombs! Use plastic Easter eggs and at home ingredients to create bath magic.
Cauldron Bath Bombs for Kids: How To Make Bath Time Magic
These bath bombs are super easy to make and bring tons of magic to bath time. They are perfect forHalloween, Harry Potter fans, and anyone who likes magic.
Hot Chocolate Sensory Bin: Ooblecks and More
Turn sensory bin time into a creative adventure with these hot chocolate sensory bins. There are 6 bins for you here, including oobleck, taste safe options, and frozen hot chocolate.
Your children will adore the chance to play with their chocolate and you will love the learning that goes with it.
How To Create a Tasty and Fun Archaeological Experience
Have a dinosaur lover? Then this is a must-do activity. It's perfect for birthday parties or a fun weekend afternoon!
Edible Ocean Sensory Bin Treasure Hunt
Edible and fun, this ocean sensory bin is perfect for your little learner!
The Science of Slime and the Best Homemade Recipes
Kids love slime, but how does it work exactly? Get the science behind the slime and find some of the best recipes to make at home.
I Spy Bottles: Engaging Sensory Independent Play
These simple bottles are perfect for practicing observation skills and patience. They are also great for helping kids calm down or just as a quiet time activity. And you can easily theme them out!
Edible Jelly Bean Slime
We made this as an Easter activity, but it is fun year-round. Slime you can eat? Tasty and educational!
Snow Sensory Bins: Must Do Winter Activities for Kids
Bring winter inside (or create a cool activity for the hot months!) with simple snow sensory bins. Get 15 amazing ideas to make snow sensory bins that your children will adore.
Non-Newtonian DIY Stress Balls for Kids
Children feel stress too. A great way to learn to handle that is to find outlets to let them release some of the tension. These DIY stress balls are an easy and fun way to do just that.
Sensory Bag Number Hunt: Learning Numbers in a Unique Squishy Way
Squishy things are perfect for sensory play. This activity uses that but contains the mess for you. And it adds number sense to the fun!
Number Hunt: Colored Water Sensory Bin
Children love searching for hidden secrets, and this sensory game uses that to boost number sense. Colored water and a cup and you are in business.
Edible Jello Slime (Fast and Easy Sensory Activity)
Make a fruity and delicious slime your kids won't be able to get enough of, Jell-o Slime!
Edible Sunbutter Play Dough
You don't have to miss out on the fun due to a peanut allergy, try sunbutter playdough! Just as much fun as the peanut butter version but with an allergy-friendly twist.
Sensory Play FAQ
Do you still have questions about sensory play? I can help. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions on sensory play.
Sensory activities are anything that encourages toddlers to use their senses. Touch, sight, taste, sound, and smell are the big five. There is also balance and bodily awareness. This is known as proprioception.
Sensory activities encourage toddlers to experience their play fully. They are immersive learning activities.
Sensory play helps toddlers to build nerve connections in their brains. They are discovering the world around them and how it works. Sensory activities build vocabulary, fine motor skills, gross motor skills, problem-solving skills, and creative play.
What goes into a sensory bin or sensory table? Anything you can think of! A lot of bins include things like rice, beans, noodles, rocks, water beads, water, oats, jello, and more. Really anything that will engage your child’s senses works. If you can scoop and pour your material, even better.
What are you trying to encourage for your child? Do they have something they really enjoy, like dinosaurs or robots? A sensory table can be put together based on any theme.
You make sensory activities by creating times when your children can use their senses. Sensory bins are particularly good for this because toddlers and preschoolers can literally dig their hands in and feel the materials while they play.
Ask yourself, what can my child hear, feel, taste, smell, etc. That will help you build your activity. Get more ideas here–> The Big Benefits of Sensory Play
Sensory activities encourage learning and let kids explore their world. Toddlers learn best when they are active participants, meaning they are digging in and experiencing.
Toddlers need a safe space to play without fear of doing something ‘wrong.’ Sensory play is the perfect place to start that.
Sensory Activities Are the Best
So now the question is, which sensory activity will you try first?
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