Let’s talk about sensory play, primarily the sense of touch through tactile hands-on play. Our favorite sensory activities for toddlers to preschoolers include sensory bins, slime (especially taste safe slime for younger kids), water play, messy play, and more. We have tons of examples of sensory play for you to use at home or in the classroom. Sensory activities don’t have to be difficult to set up and you will find our sensory recipes use common kitchen pantry ingredients.  Let’s get your kids set up for some fun sensory play time today!

FUN SENSORY ACTIVITIES FOR TODDLERS AND PRESCHOOLERS

WHAT IS SENSORY PLAY?

Sensory play is any type of play that involves the senses! This page is mainly about the tactile sensory play which includes the sense of touch. Whether you dig into a sensory bin, shake a sensory bottle, or squish a sensory recipe, we have you covered.

Find unique sensory activities for the entire year that are both easy to set up and budget-friendly. We cover the holidays, seasons, and any time with fun ways to explore textures.

Of course, you will see that some of these recipes smell great and are visually appealing. Additionally, you will find quite a few taste-safe sensory recipes that appeal to the sense of taste.

Sensory play is suited for all ages with plenty of supervision for the younger kiddos. Toddlers especially love sensory play but please make sure to provide only appropriate materials and watch for putting items in the mouth. Choose sensory fillers or recipes that will not be a choking hazard and supervise play at all times!

WHY IS SENSORY PLAY IMPORTANT?

Sensory play makes for awesome hands-on fun and learning for young children, as they explore and discover more about the world through their senses! Sensory activities can also calm a child, help a child to focus, and engage a child. I would love for you to read our story, Connecting Through Sensory Play.

THE BENEFITS OF SENSORY ACTIVITIES:

  • Motor Development Skills ~ Sensory play helps a child explore, discover, and create using motor skills, like dumping, filling, scooping.
  • Play Skills {emotional development} ~ Great for both social play and independent play, sensory activities allow children to play cooperatively or side by side. My son has had many positive experiences over a bin of rice with other children!
  • Language Development ~ Sensory bins increase language development from experiencing with their hands all there is to see and do which leads to great conversations and opportunities to model language.
  • Using 5 Senses ~ Many sensory activities include a few of the senses! Touch, sight, sounds, taste and smell are our 5 senses. Children can experience several at a time with a sensory bin.  For example; imagine a bin of brightly colored rainbow rice: touch the loose grains against the skin, see the vivid colors as they mix together, hear the sound of sprinkling over a plastic container or shaken in a plastic egg!
  • Calming tools ~ Sensory play recipes are calming for many kiddos who are anxious or worried. You might find that one works better than another for your kiddo. Some sensory play materials can settle and soothe and some can help keep kids’ attention and connection with you. Download the free calming activities poster here.

CHECK OUT: 10 Things To Include In A Calm Down Kit

SENSORY BINS

What is a sensory bin?  A sensory bin is a simple container filled with a preferred sensory filler in quantity.  There are only a few basic things you really need to make a sensory bin; a container, filler and fun play tools. Sensory bin play doesn’t have to be too messy either, we tell you how here.

Sensory bins have been a huge staple in our house for a number of years.  They are an easy play option for toddlers to preschoolers that you can change up frequently, create new themes for and vary with the seasons or holidays!

Some of our favorite sensory bin fillers are…

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: 10 Best Sensory Bin Fillers

EARLY LEARNING SENSORY BINS

Want to include a fun sensory bin as part of a Math or Literacy activity?  Check out these ideas…

MORE SENSORY BIN IDEAS

SENSORY BINS BY HOLIDAY

SENSORY BOTTLES

An awesome calm down and anxiety relief tool, glitter bottles are easy to make, reusable, and low cost too! Glitter bottles take very little time to make but offer numerous, lasting benefits for your kids. The gold and silver bottles are AMAZING!

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: 15 Sensory Bottles For Kids

Kids love these cool sensory bottles and they are easy to whip up with materials you already have on hand or easy to grab at the store. Whether you make an I SPY style bottle to take along with you or a science-filled discovery bottle, you won’t be disappointed!

TRY THESE FUN SENSORY BOTTLES:

OR WHY NOT MAKE A GLITTER JAR

MORE SENSORY ACTIVITIES

Below you will find a variety of sensory play ideas, which include homemade sensory recipes.

HOMEMADE PLAYDOUGH

If you’ve never whipped up a batch of homemade playdough before, you are missing out on a great experience with the kiddos. See how easy it is and watch a short video of the process.

Click here to get your FREE Flower Playdough Mat

Playdough is excellent for many reasons! It is a great sensory tool for hands-on early learning activities like letters, numbers, and colors.

Playdough is also a great muscle strengthener for little hands getting ready to write. It is relaxing to knead, roll, stretch, flatten, pound, and whatever else is fun!

Plus, playdough adapts to themes like a charm. Playdough loves to pretend, create, build, imagine, and discover.

Check out>>> 17+ Fun Playdough Activities

CLOUD DOUGH

Cloud dough is soft and moldable. Sometimes called moon sand or moon dough as well. You can make it completely taste-safe too depending o the oil you choose to use. Additionally, it can be made with a gluten-free flour mix!

KINETIC SAND

You don’t need to buy it, you can make it! This fun sensory activity is perfect for any day of the week. Add fun items for exploring the cool texture and kids will have a blast digging into it.

ALSO CHECK OUT: Colored Kinetic Sand

CORNSTARCH DOUGH

This fun dough-like slime is made with common kitchen ingredients. It has a nice movement to it and is a cross between slime and a play-dough.

Looking for easy to print activities? 

We have you covered…

Click here to get your FREE Rainbow Playdough Mat

OOBLECK

Oobleck is the coolest sensory play around because it’s part science too! Easy to make with simple kitchen ingredients for less that $1, oobleck will amaze the kiddos.

Is it a liquid or a solid? Learn about Non-newtonian fluids as you dig your hands into our easy homemade oobleck recipe.

SAND FOAM

Kids love this messy sensory play activity that combines shaving cream and sand. Perfect for the outdoor days!

HOMEMADE SLIME

Slime makes an amazing sensory play activity, and we have so many easy slime recipes and cool slime ideas for you to try.

For younger kids, you will want to use a taste safe and borax free slime recipe.  Older kids will love hands-on sensory play with one of our simple slime recipes.

TASTE SAFE SLIME

If you are looking for a slime that is borax-free, taste-safe, and non-toxic, we have an awesome collection of slimy, taste-safe, sensory play ideas that fit the bill.

SOAP SLIME AND SOAP FOAM

STRESS BALLS

These sensory or texture balloons are really easy to make yourself. There are different filling you can use to create various sensory experiences for your kiddos. Check our stress balls made with flour, Halloween stress balls, as well as these sensory balloons for lots of ideas.

AWESOME SENSORY ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS!

If you are looking for more ways to engage your youngest kids, check out our neat preschool learning ideas.

No more having to print out a WHOLE blog post for just one recipe!

Get our basic slime recipes in an easy to print format so you can knock out the activities!

—>>>  FREE SLIME RECIPE CARDS