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Sensory play ideas and activities

Sensory play can be loads of fun and is often simple to set up, but it can be difficult for parents to think of ideas to help their child engage in sensory activities. Check out the list below for simple sensory play ideas that your toddler or preschooler will love!

Create a sensory bin

It’s simple for children to enjoy sensory play when you create a sensory bin for them to explore.

To create a sensory bin, simply fill a small tub or container with objects from nature such as leaves, rocks, and sand that have different textures for your little one to explore.

Or use foods, like pasta, rice, or beans, along with spoons, scoops, and small toys to bury and discover.

Remember, little ones often explore with their mouths in addition to their hands so be sure to clean all items, avoid choking hazards, and supervise play.

Playing with food

Yes, it gets messy, but allowing your little one to play with food — squishing, smearing, and tasting as they go — gives them a sensory experience that helps them learn. One small 2017 studyTrusted Source showed that preschoolers who participated in sensory play with fruits and vegetables were more likely to try not only the foods in the experiment but other new foods.

If you’re concerned about encouraging food play, you can always work to distinguish playtime and mealtime as different times. And as they get older you can talk about table manners. But when they’re young, food can be a great, safe way to explore texture, taste, and smell through experimentation and play.

Twisting noodles, smearing yoghurt, smashing beans — all of these activities can be satisfying to curious little hands and tasty on top of that!

Sound tubes

To create a sound tube for your little one and help them connect with the auditory world around them, you’ll only need a few simple supplies.

First, save a few empty paper towel rolls. Next, collect a variety of different materials to go inside each tube like uncooked rice, dried beans, or beads.

Finally, fill each tube with a different material and safely secure the ends of the tubes (duct tape can work for this). Your little one will delight in hearing the different noises these similar looking toys will make!

Playdough

Recipes abound for making your own dough using household supplies and even adding colors and scents.

If you’re not interested in making your own sensory dough, consider heading to your local big box store and picking up some premade dough. Play dough’s soft and squishy texture ensures that your child will enjoy hours of rolling, slicing, and chopping as they play.

Shop online for play dough.

Balance beam

You can always head to the local park for some balance beam play, but you can work on the same skills at home with some painter’s or masking tape. Simply tape lines onto the floor and challenge your kiddo to walk the line.

Shop online for painter’s tape.

Calming bottles

When the world feels out of control to a little one, it’s normal and natural for them to become overwhelmed and to act out their big feelings. If you’re looking for a way to help calm down your little one when those big feelings hit a calming bottle can help.

To create a calming bottle you’ll just need an old water bottle, water, clear glue, some food dye, and some glitter. To create, simply fill the bottle with water mixed with the clear glue and then add a few drops of food dye and a few shakes of glitter before glueing the lid shut.

When your babe is feeling angry or out-of-sorts they can shake the bottle and then take deep breaths as they watch the glitter resettle at the bottom.

Sandbox

If you’re itching to get outside or want your tot to feel the sun on their face as they play, consider investing in a sandbox and a few good sand toys to help them get a feel for the world.

You don’t need anything special to make a sandbox or sand table especially fun for little ones. Often, simple objects like shovels and cups are enough to spark their imagination and get them playing!

Swing, swing, swing

Swings are a favorite playground staple, but consider challenging your kiddo to use them in new ways. Encourage them to try swinging on their tummy, Superman-style.

Instead of pushing from behind, gently pull their feet and then release. Twist the swing in one direction and then allow it to spin back in the other direction.

Can’t make it to the park or outside? Use a blanket to create a hammock that you and another adult can gently swing back and forth.

Plant a garden

This is a fun activity you can do together that involves an ongoing sensory benefit. You don’t have to go big — you can even plant small seeds into the cups of an egg carton.

Digging in the dirt, sorting seeds, watering, and smelling the flowers or herbs you plant will all stimulate the senses.

Shop online for kids’ gardening supplies.

For more please go to https://www.healthline.com/health/childrens-health/sensory-play#activities

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