Kids in their early years benefit from activities that stimulate more than one of the five senses at a time. This is also known as sensory play!
These activities improve their motor skills and can be easily set up at home. In fact, many of them won’t require any fancy equipment or tools. So simply utilise everyday items, most of which you’ll have around your home (which is brilliant for recycling too!)
Be warned, some sensory play activities can get messy! But getting your hands dirty is part of the fun. So here are our top ten sensory play for the home.
There is no easier way to get kids working with their hands. All you need to do is get a selection of paints, roll up their sleeves and let them have fun. It’s great for hand-eye coordination and you can use the activity to show your little one the magic of mixing paints to create new colours.
Playdough is incredibly cheap and easy to make at home. It’s an ideal activity for stimulating fine motor skills as the kids learn to squeeze, roll, twist and build with it. What’s more, it can be used to teach them colours too.
Use veggies as stamps in different shapes and sizes – it’s a great way to get the kids learning about colours and shapes. It’s not only affordable and easy but making play equipment from everyday items teaches kids creativity too!
Anything that involves pouring, splashing and bubbles is always a hit with the little ones! Whether you have them watching the ripples in the bath or out in the garden watering the plants, water play works can be used to stimulate the senses in so many ways.
Fill containers with various materials like rice or dried beans and you have yourself a safe, non-messy sensory play toy. Kids can have endless fun rolling and shaking these sensory bottles – making noise and watching the bits inside move around.
Have fun making shadow puppets out of various materials you have around the home and then put on a show, allowing the little ones to explore light and shade. It’s the perfect activity for storytelling.
Fill a large tub with couscous, rice or something similar and bury toy dinosaurs (or other figurines the children play with at home). Then have the kids ‘hunt’ for their favourite dinosaurs using diggers and brushes.
Explore textures around the home with nothing more than some crayons and paper. Place the paper on top of a textured surface and get the children rubbing over it with their colourful crayons. It’s a great way for kids to get to grip with the concept of texture and they can even do the activity outdoors and collect ‘texture snapshots’ to bring home.
Add a dash of food colouring or liquid watercolours to some dish soap and mix it all up in a big container. Put the magic technicoloured foam outside and let the kids get messy as they have fun swirling bubbles and building colourful foam mountains.
Use household items with strong scents such as cloves, pine needles, lavender and peppermint to help test your child’s deductive powers. Put the items into sachets that keep them visual and have the child use their sense of smell to guess what’s inside.
As you can see there is an endless number of simple sensory activities you can do at home with your toddler. Most of these don’t require any specialist equipment and can actually be more beneficial to your child’s early learning than more expensive toys, which often quickly get discarded as kids move onto the next, more interesting item. All it requires is a little creativity and ingenuity, and you’ll soon be on your way.
To learn more about sensory play and other elements of our approach to learning check out :