Sensory Play Activities for Toddlers

Sensory play includes any activity that stimulates your young child’s senses: touch, smell, taste, movement, balance, sight and hearing. Sensory activities facilitate exploration and naturally encourage children to use scientific processes while they play, create, investigate and explore.

The parenting team have listed some fun sensory activities you can do at home with your toddler, giving them the best start on their learning journey.

Snake rescue

Tweezers are a great way to develop your child’s fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. All you need to do is cut up some pipe cleaners into 5cm lengths (your snakes) and fill a tray with rice or play sand. Place the ‘snakes’ into the tray. Have your child pull them out and pop them in a jar using their tweezers. You can count as you do it!

Musical Saucepans

You might need some headphones for this one! But I promise you your toddler will enjoy this immensely!

Provide different sized saucepans, wooden and metal spoons and let your toddler’s musical creativity flow!

Sensory water beads

Have you ever played with water beads? They’re slippery, squishy, and a surprisingly fun and addictive sensory experience.

All you have to do:

  • Pour the tiny water beads into a small container for your child to add to the water
  • Scoop the beads and drop them in
  • Watch them grow!

This is great for teaching patience, and it’s fascinating to watch the beads absorb water.

Sponge painting

Sponge painting creates a fun sensory experience by exploring paint and paint filled sponges.

The learning benefits of this activity:

  • Self-expression with paint
  • Hand-eye coordination
  • Fine motor development
  • Sense of achievement
  • Colour recognition

Tea party with dried food

By simply adding some dried food to your child’s tea set helps to support language development, cognitive growth, fine and gross motor skills, problem solving skills, and social interaction!

Ocean scene sensory play with rice

To make this for your little ones at home all you need to do is, dye the rice blue:

Place the rice into a container with a lid. Add white vinegar and blue food colouring to the rice (the more food colouring you add the darker the colour). Cover the container and shake the rice for a minute or two. Spread the coloured rice on a paper towel or a tray in even layer to dry.

Once dry place in a large tray or pan and add sea creatures!

Mark making in flour

Mark making is an important pre-writing skill.

For young toddlers who are not yet ready for formal writing, encourage them to mark make with their fingers with this simple activity using just a tray and some flour!

Construction trucks in sand

To recreate this activity, you will need a large pan or tray, sand and construction vehicles for hours of fun!  This activity is very versatile, you can change the trucks with any small world toys you have in the house, for example farm animals or dinsours.

Play dough

For easy to make dough and lots of fun dough play ideas, click on our blog here!

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