Sensory Play Activities are a fun way to help your young children explore and learn about the world around them. Different sights, sounds, smells, tastes and textures can be incorporated easily into play, providing important sensory stimulation for little ones. Below are five of my personal favorite sensory play activities to do at home! Of course, supervision is always necessary with little ones, especially those that are mouthing. Enjoy!
There’s something that little ones just love about playing with rice – scooping, pouring, running it through their fingers. It’s not like anything else. This is my first recommendation for an easy sensory play activity to put together at home. Buy a bag of white rice in bulk, and use it again and again to fill a plastic storage bin for play. Add measuring cups and kitchen utensils, or use play utensils and dishes. Make sure to include spoons and cups for scooping and pouring! This is not recommended for babies or toddlers that are still putting everything in their mouth.
Use plain or food-colored water in a large storage bin as the base for a variety of sensory play activities. We have made alphabet soup with bath letters, a farm animal wash (by adding our farm animal figurines), a car wash, and a simple scooping and pouring water station (by adding cups, bowls, bottles, and pitchers). Water Play is great for babies and toddlers!
Homemade Dirt & Mud
If your little ones love bugs, dinos or monster trucks – this is the perfect sensory activity for you (and it smells delish!). You can make homemade dirt with flour, cocoa powder, and vegetable oil! Or, you can make homemade mud with corn starch, cocoa powder and water. Once again, add to a large storage bin to contain the mess (with an old tablecloth underneath for double protection).
Poms are always a hit, and a craft supply that I always make sure to have on hand. If you’re looking for a “clean” sensory play activity, then pom poms are the perfect sensory play material for you. Here’s a photo of our pom pom tea party! Use cupcake liners and tea cups for filling. Or, add colored cups or bowls and do some pom pom color sorting!
Cooked or Dry Pasta Bin
Cooked spaghetti noodles make for a squishy fun time. And they’re perfectly safe if your little one decides to go in for a taste! Simply put the cooked noodles in a large container, and let your little ones explore. The possibilities are endless here – pretend the noodles are worms, use the noodles for scissor practice, or engage in some imaginative play and start an Italian restaurant! You can also dye dry pasta with vinegar and food coloring for a different sensory experience.