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Okay, so everyone talks about them- but, what are SENSORY ACTIVITIES?

Sensory activities are anything involving the 5 senses (sight, touch, taste, sound and smell). Children and adults learn best and retain information when all the senses are engaged!

There are two other senses that are not as commonly talked about but are just as important. These are:

  • Body awareness- the internal understanding of where the body is in space.
  • Balance- the vestibular system is the sensory system that contributes to the sense of balance.

By engaging all of your child’s senses, you are forging new pathways in their brains and helping with general brain development.

By encouraging sensory play, you are putting your child in situations with different sights, smell, sounds, textures and noises with no judgement or expectation.

It helps them if they come into a situation that may have made them uncomfortable but they have already experienced it during sensory play!

This list contains general sensory activities and sensory bins.

These are the basics to get started with sensory bins although I’m sure you can scrounge something up from around the house!

41 qt bin (large)

19 qt bin (small)

Plastic table cloth

Without further ado, here is a giant list of SENSORY ACTIVITIES FOR TODDLERS!

MOON SAND

KINETIC SAND/MOON SAND/SENSORY ACTIVITIES FOR TODDLERS

Moon sand or kinetic sand. This one gets a bit messy so mentally and physically prepare for that. All you need to do to make your own moon sand is:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup baby oil (or melted coconut oil)
  • food coloring (optional)

Mix the ingredients together and throw it into a big bin like this one. The bin is nice because you can put the lid on after and store the moon sand to use again. Add some sand toys and voila, you’ve got hours of sensory fun!

*hot tip- place a plastic table cloth from the dollar store under the bin to catch the spills.

PASTA THREADING

This is super easy to set up. Plop a blob of play-doh onto a plate. Stick two spaghetti noodles sticking straight up into the play-doh. Have your toddler thread other pasta noodles like penne or something like beads onto the spaghtetti noddles!

SENSORY BEAD WINDOW

Have you seen water beads yet? They expand in water and are oh so cool! However, I would like to issue a warning here- These require intense supervision. They are NOT to be swallowed. So use caution!

Fill a bag with re-hydrated water beads, squeeze the air out, seal, tape to a window and let your toddler go at it!

Grab the full tutorial from Parenting Chaos here.

SUPER CRAZY BUBBLE FOAM

Bubble foam is just water and soap whipped together. Simple, and genius! Add some food coloring and toys, you’ve got fun for hours! Our recipe has a secret ingredient. Check out the tutorial here!

SENSORY BALLOONS

Get some balloons from the dollar store and funnel in some different fillings like:

  • rice
  • water beads
  • sand
  • flour
  • dry beans
  • pom poms
  • cornstarch and water

Be sure to double knot the balloon and I would recommend still playing with these over a bin or at least the table just in case!

CHEERIOS ON PIPE CLEANERS

This one is exactly like it sounds 😉 Get your toddler to thread cheerios onto a pipe cleaner! And they get to snack while doing it!

POM POM DROP

This is soooo easy to set up and will provide so much entertainment for your toddler! Grab an empty toilet paper or paper towel roll, tape it to the wall and have your toddler drop pom poms down through it into a dish!

You can read the full tutorial here.

PUZZLE HUNT

Visit the tutorial here.

What a great idea for toddlers! Not only is this sensory but it helps them to learn the alphabet (or shape or numbers depending on what you have). 

WASHING FARM ANIMALS

Visit the tutorial here.

This is enthralling for toddlers. They love to get something dirty and then clean it! A simple concept that provides so much fun and sensory play!

POM POM WHISK

Grab your kitchen whisk- stuff it full of pom poms.

Have your toddler try to take them out one at a time! This is a great fine motor activity for 1-3 year olds.

 

STUCK IN THE MUD

Visit the tutorial here.

What an amazing idea! I’m sure most of us have made the goop from cornstarch and water, that hardens when you squeeze and liquefies as you let go? Simple Learning Kids added a delicious ingredient to make it mud colored- check out the tutorial!

PIPE CLEANER CHALLENGE

Grab a colander (pasta strainer), grab some pipe cleaners and give these to your toddler. Have them thread the pipe cleaners through multiple holes.

So much fun!

GREEN PEA SENSORY BAG

Visit the tutorial here.

This works great with frozen peas. They’re fun to feel and mash more slowly since they start frozen. Make sure to seal the bag well with tape!

CUCUMBER WATER

Add some water, food coloring of your choice and cucumber slices to a sensory bin! Your toddler will love playing with and eating the cucumber slices! Let them go wild and don’t give any directions. Get the details at Kids Play Tricks on IG.

SCOOP AND POUR SENSORY BIN

This is something that can be done with ANYTHING around your house! Place the sensory item (popcorn kernels, dried beans, lentils, water beads, packing peanuts, sand, water and ice cubes, etc) in a small tub. Place that tub inside a bigger bin and add different sized bowls/measuring cups. Give them something to scoop with and have them pour into the bowls/measuring cups!

How did your sensory activity turn out with your toddler? If you have any other tips or ideas for sensory activities, add them below in the comments❤

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ULTIMATE LIST OF TODDLER ACTIVITIES

DIY SENSORY TABLE