Sensory play is play that involves all the senses - taste, sound, sight, touch and smell. Sensory play is very beneficial to children. Research shows that sensory play builds nerve connections in the brain’s pathways, which lead to the child’s ability to complete more complex learning tasks. Sensory play is also very relaxing and rejuvenating to children.
This is a collection of my favorite sensory activities for toddlers, preschoolers and older kids. Depending on the activity, even babies can join in the play.
This activity is a fun way to paint if you have saved plastic Easter eggs from Easter. Kids can make different designs and patterns with the circle shape of the Easter eggs.
Make a fun sensory bag with hairgel, food coloring and other objects of your choice. Kids get to smush around the hair gel in the bag and have a fun sensory experience.
Can you transfer the water with the help of a sponge? The sponge will soak up the water, your child can squeeze it out to turn it into water again. Magic!
When the weather is warm, this is a good activity to keep the kids entertained with little setup and low cost. You only need water, bowls and sponges to keep your kids entertained in the summer. They transfer water from one bowl to the next.
This is a great activity for strengthening the muscles of your kid’s hands and fingers, and it is also a good way to cool off on a warm day.
For this activity you get to make a fun flower bouquet busy box. It includes a free printable that guides you how to cut out the flowers and vases.
Kids love painting on different mediums, and I always have foil in the house, making this a perfect kids activity.
Just supply a sheet of foil per child and add paint for an easy art activity for your kids.
Oh what a fun and messy activity this is! Kids splat paint with rice in a stocking.
I like this activity because it is a great gross motor activity, where kids use their arms and legs and have some messy fun. All you need are rice, stockings and paper and paint to do this activity.
Kids take the rice filled stocking, dip it into paint and make beautiful splat painting art with it.
I like simple to setup activities like this pom pom activity and my kids love transferring items from one container to another. It works on their fine motor skills and concentration. All you need are pom poms, tongs and a container to add the pom poms to.
I love 2 ingredient kids activities like this foil play. You just need playfood and foil to play. Kids can also unwrap the food and guess what is in each parcel.
This sensory quiet time activity is a very creative way of using your kid's teaset without using water or just air - use rice instead!
You simply fill a sensory bin with rice, add a toy teaset, and voilà - imaginary sensory play.
This activity is better with one kid at a time (except if you have two teapots).
I bet it’s fun for kids to see words, shapes or pictures form when they paint over the drawn on white crayon. And you can repeat this activity as over and over again with different designs.
This is such an interesting and easy activity. You freeze a block of ice and let your kids paint it.
I like how this cotton ball painting activity helps kids create a beautiful art work easily and kids of all ages can do this painting. You also only need a few supplies to do this activity.
This is a very useful activity to clean up any dishes left over from playing outside. Or your kids can wash some of their washable toys. Either way it’s a great activity to engage kids for a while.
It just takes a sensory bin, water, scrubbers, soap and some toys to entertain your kids for a long time.
Kids get to practice life skills in this sensory bin and copy you washing dishes.
Focus. Let’s transfer some ice!
Ice is fun to play with for kids and it's something everyone has in the house. This activity is great for the summer or warmer weather because one bin is filled with water and the other bin is filled with ice. You fill the bins and kids use tools to transfer the ice into the water.
In this activity your kids will use pom poms and a serving tray (or muffin tin) to sort the pom poms by color.
They will add all the red to one space of the serving tray and repeat it for each color, filling all spaces of the serving tray until the pom poms are sorted.
This activity uses only a few basic supplies and if you buy pom poms and a serving tray, you can repeat this activity as often as you like.
Kids can sort the pom poms by color and size and explore the textures of the pom poms in this quiet time activity.
Kids can make fun DIY paint brushes with different materials, like twigs and leaves, ribbon, pom poms and pipe cleaners.
This painting with water activity for kids are so simple and mess free. You just need water and cotton balls. Colored paper is great to have on hand. Just give your child some colored paper, a bowl full of water and cotton balls and they can paint with the water.
This is a one ingredient quiet bin - just pipecleaners. Kids can twist the pipecleaners into chains for bracelets and other jewelry. Just cut the pipecleaners into smaller bits and it's ready to go.
I like the idea of making a fun and educational diy toy for my kids that they can play with over and again. In this activity you get to make a cute ice cream felt play set from felt with pompom decorations. Kids build different types of ice cream. You can also ask them to build ice cream with different number of scoops.
Just print out this socks printable,cut it and optionally laminate it. Then your kids can play match it with the socks.
I like this activity because it is a very simple activity where you only need paint, paper and paint brushes to do the activity with your kids.
This butterfly painting activity is really simple and something you can do with your kids without needing too much supplies. You only need paint and paper and a paintbrush to do this activity.
I like this activity because kids of different ages can play with it in their own way and you don't need too many supplies or a big setup. All you need are pipe cleaners and straws and a storage container. If you keep it in a sensory bin it will contain some of the mess.
With a little creativity you can turn regular rice and pom poms into an Easter themed sensory bin. Just dye rice green to look like grass and add colorful pom poms to look like Easter eggs. You can also add plastic eggs to the bin if you have it. My kids love sensory bins and this Easter themed one is a lot of fun.
I always thought that making rainbow rice would be complicated, but it's actually very easy, and it dries in about 1 hour or less.
It looks so much more fun to play with rainbow rice than with plain rice and you can keep it, so your kids can play with it again and again.
I always have paint and cardboard rolls in the house so this is a nice and simple activity to do with kids. You can make different cuts in the roll and have different designs.
This bubble foam sensory activity is squeaky clean messy play.
Take tear-free bubble bath, and whip it up with water and food coloring. Make as many batches of different colors as you need.
Kids can use their imagination and play with this bubble sensory bin any way they choose.
This is really an awesome recipe for a soft and long lasting playdough.
It’s a treat to play with, and when stored correctly it last a long time.
Make sure you always keep playdough ingredients at home to quickly whip up some quiet time play.
Sometimes it is really worthwhile to make your own diy toys and activities for your kids, like this felt button quiet activity. With a few simple steps and supplies you can make a fun and educational toy for your kids to keep them busy and away from screens.
This color match clothes pins activity is great for learning different shades of color and it is tricky enough to keep kids busy for a long time.
This activity for kids is messy play without the mess.
Everything is contained in a bag which minimizes the mess and gives a nice sensory effect.
I like simple activities like this one where you only need a few items to make a great educational toy. You take sandpaper and yarn to create a yarn drawing board. You can also create pattern boards for your kids to replicate. Or they can create designs on their own.
I like how you create new fun paint brushes with this cotton ball painting. Just pinch cotton balls with the clothes pins and your kids are ready to play.
This frozen paint art and sensory activity is so simple and it makes painting interesting again. Depending on the temperature of the weather it will be a different experience. In warmer weather it will be quicker to melt and in colder temperatures it will be slower to melt. But either way it will be fun to paint with frozen ice and can go together with a frozen theme.
“Dirty, dirty animals. Let’s wash you” - my son, aged almost 4 (who loves washing things).
My kids enjoy playing with water and dirt so this activity will keep them busy for a while. You just need dirt, animal figurines, soapy water and washing tools for your kids to play. They can dip the animals into the dirt and then wash them in the soapy water.
Your kids can play with items they already have with this I spy tray activity where they learn vocabulary skills. You just need a tray or bin of some sort and some toys or household items to play. They take turns and say what they spy.
This activity is an adventure for your kids: to discover what is hidden in the Easter eggs that they’ve rescued. Is it a letter? A number? A fun toy?
Tape a few plastic Easter eggs in a sensory bin in a few different ways and let your kids rescue it with a laddle. For Easter you can add a few chocolate eggs to the bin.
I like this activity because you can use any Easter eggs in this activity but plastic eggs are best because you can add interesting items to the plastic eggs such as letters numbers and other small items. It's great hand eye coordination practice and are sure to keep your kids busy for a while.
This is a great activity when the weather is warmish. It only uses a few things that you have at home and kids usually love playing with water and bubbles.
“Let’s see how big a bubble you can blow with this straw and bubble solution!” or “See how mummy blows bubbles”. You say to your kids as they shriek with delight. Bubbles are fun!
I like this activity because it is so simple, requiring only a few basic supplies and you can make your own bubble solution. Older kids can blow the bubbles themselves and younger kids can play with the bubbles as you blow. Just add bubble solution to a bowl, add food coloring and blow away, letting your kids play.
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup bubble bath or dish soap
I can see kids sit in wonder as they spy the different buttons through the rice or sand in the bottle, keeping them busy for a decent amount of time. You can color the rice if you like or use colored kinetic sand for the filler.
My kids love playing with water and painting. This activity combines both - painting with water.
You just need colored paper, paint brushes and water for your kids to paint with water.
Explode. Color change. Wow! “Let’s do it again, mommy”, your kids say as they watch the magic of a color changing volcano unfold.
Most kids have seen and participated in traditional volcano eruption kids activities but most haven’t seen a color changing volcano activity. It’s so easy to take two colors and let the volcano change to the mixed colors.
I like this activity because kids get to practice their creativity skills, by making their own weather painting from scraps and paint.
It’s a great fine motor and sensory activity, and they get something that they can be proud of at the end.
This is a low or no cost activity that my kids enjoy doing. They both like pouring and water play and you can use whatever equipment you have.
This activity is great for when you have no energy left, and you just want the kids to keep themselves busy for a few minutes.
Sensory activities, like soap foam bins, are some of my kids’ favorite activities to play with.
They love pouring and scooping, and this activity adds the ocean theme which makes it even more fun.
You can add any color or figurines to the soap foam to change it up. You can do it themed according to the holidays or your kids’ favorite animals.
Ice Ice baby! Ice is interesting for kids to transfer and in this activity they will do just that - use tongs or laddles to transport ice from water to another bin.
Sensory bins are sure to keep my kids busy for a while so that I can get a short break. This ice and water sensory bin is so easy to setup and doesn't require too many supplies. You just need to make sure you have ice in the freezer. Add the ice and water to a bin inside a bigger bin, add utensils and bowls and invite your kids to play. This activity is great for warmer weather but can be done indoor as well.
I like this activity because it involves kid’s large muscles in a gross motor activity and it is also educational, teaching them colours.
You just draw large coloured circles on concrete, or you can use DIY sidewalk paint. Then your kids can hop around the colours of their choice or the colours you call out. Either way, you and they can have a lot of fun with this easy kids activity.
Playdough is great to play with - it's cheap and you can play in so many ways with it. Like this activity where kids gets to practice slicing with plastic knives (under supervision if course).
Dried beans is a sensory delight to play with, and one kids are sure to love playing with over and over again.
I like this activity because it is simple, inexpensive, and you can use different types of beans (or a combination) for your kids to play with.
You just need some beans, a big bowl, a sensory tub, scoops and a few smaller containers to play.
This kids activity not only looks inviting, but it also uses things that you probably already have in the house: paper towel or toilet paper tubes, coloured paper, pom poms and tape.
In this activity you get to make a simple and fun toy for your kids. They get to scoop and transfer pom poms into the turkey's mouth.
If you keep felt and pipecleaners in your home, you can easily do this activity with your kids.
You can cut either flowers or leaves out of felt, or do both.
This activity takes painting to the next level, by using kitchen tools as paint brushes.
A potato masher would make awesome prints if paired with paint and paper. And I wonder what a fork and cookie cutters would look like. Fun!