There are a number of sensory play ideas that can be found on Pinterest or by following a number of different Facebook pages/groups. What is the big deal and really who has time for this???
When our little man was an infant or toddler, I often beat myself thinking I did not prepare enough activity for him. The fact is kids can have fun and enjoy a variety of different experiences without much work from you. Sensory-based activities are the smells, sounds, touch, taste, and sites your child is exposed to.
Sensory activities do not have to be elaborate. Children benefit from changes in the sensory input and output that they are getting. These activities can reduce boredom, calm children, or rev them up. You will soon discover what results your child will get from certain activities.
Here are some fun and easy ideas..
1. Making a fort
Throw a blanket over a chair or table and let your child explore.
2. Throw down a tunnel
You can get a collapsible tunnel that you let your little one explore through. For added fun, you can attach it to a fort.
3. Make your own ball pit
Throw a bunch of plastic balls in an indoor tent, blow up wading pool or large plastic container.
4. Climbing in and out of containers
If you have some empty containers your child can climb in to let him. There were many of times I would turn away for a moment and look back to see that our young man was sitting in the container of toys.
5. A bowl of ice cubes or snow
Let your child play with ice cubes or snow. You can give them a truck or some cars to drive through the ice or snow. You can offer mittens for them to use while playing.
Let’s be real! Baking for little ones is all about eating what you are trying to bake with. This is a great chance for them to learn how different things taste and a great opportunity to learn how to properly test food.
7. Water Play
Fill up the sink and let them play. I would throw a towel on the floor so I would not have to worry about a wet floor. This would (and still occupies) our young man when I was trying to cook or clean up the kitchen. He wanted to be involved so I would throw plastic containers and plates in the sink to be “washed”. Now at 6, he can legitimately wash dishes!
You can also add a number of items to the water to make it a different experience. A favourite in the Toddler Room I worked in was a plastic doll the children could wash. A favourite here was when we would throw in some plastic dinosaurs.
This is when you add 2 parts of cornstarch to one part water. Be prepared to have a fun experience!! When you touch it, it seems hard but when you pick it up it melts 🙂
I love Goop but this was not something our little man enjoyed.
9. Smelling Spices
It is just as easy as it sounds! Let your child smell different spices. If you are up for it let your child taste the different spices as well, Get your camera ready as there may be some weird expressions!!
10. Building with cans
I would put some cans on the carpeted floor and let him build with them. I would show him how to do it and then he would get creative. This did not always keep his attention for long but it changed his mood (and mine for the matter).
11. Make music!
Pots and pans are awesome for this. I would bring out a bunch of pots and wooden spoons and let him hit them. to reduce how loud things would get I would put a dishcloth inside the pot to reduce the noise.
These examples were very basic. You can get way more elaborate but at the end of the day if your child is happy or at least had a few happy moments your job is done for the day!!
The video below is a video I did to explain how to make sensory bins. It will help you establish your own bins that can help meet your child’s sensory needs.