Babies, Toddlers and Kids should be engaging in Sensory Activities. Follow my guide to some great Sensory Activities for Babies and Toddlers. What is Sensory Play? Sensory play includes any activity that stimulates children’s senses! Encourage your child to learn, explore, improve creativity, intrigue and intelligence through playing!
Your baby needs to explore, experience and learn! As a parent, you can introduce your child to a simple Sensory Activities! Your baby doesn’t want to play with blocks all of the time. Let’s get creative and offer a Sensory Activity to stimulate your baby’s mind and development!
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Here are some awesome, yet simple ideas for baby to enjoy Sensory Activities:
Sensory Activities: Make a Sensory Board
This particular Sensory Activity was a very special, DIY birthday gift from my sister to baby Harry. He enjoyed this Sensory Board for his first birthday, and continues to enjoy it now!
I specifically asked Auntie Becki to make this sensory board as a gift to him because she is creative, she knows what trinkets he loves to play with and I knew she would make it with love!
Boy, did she deliver! She put so much thought and research into creating his Sensory Board. My whole family was very impressed with her efforts and creativity! And this was a huge hit for Harry!
His Sensory Board includes: a spinning wheel, a calculator, a chalk board, a roller, some measuring cups, a few locks to work with, a few squishy items, and trinkets to push back and forth. She included lots of interactive ideas! He loves it.. check out that beaming smile!
If you have a bit of time to research and create it, a sensory board would be a wonderful sensory activity for your toddler! *Bonus Tip: Create a Sensory Board that changes out the items every few months. Your toddler will love the fresh play activities!
Spaghetti Play Sensory Activities Idea:
This activity is a blast! You simply cook the spaghetti and then add some food coloring to it! We added green and blue food coloring for the spaghetti play activity. My Baby, Harry LOVED the texture! He was timid at first, and once he saw me playing with it and twirling it around a spoon he dove right in!
He was fascinated! He was entertained with the blue spaghetti for hours! I guarantee this will be a huge hit! You can read more about the Spaghetti Sensory Play Activity, in this Post.
Play with Marshmallow Dough for Sensory Activities:
Marshmallow play dough is all the rage! I am sure you have heard about it. It’s a huge hit in my play group! You make it yourself with very few ingredients, that you probably already have! And you add some food coloring to it all! Grab the Full Recipe Here for Marshmallow Dough Printable, AND Recipe for Moon Sand!
Overall, It doesn’t have the nasty smell of the Playdough brand dough. It’s natural, (but it also won’t last forever!) and they can eat it! You can make it any color you want, or mix the colors and make rainbow dough! Fun tip: you can even add a few drops of essential oils, like Lemon!
Check out these 2 Sensory Activities as a Printable: Click Here to Grab Yours!
‘Moon Sand’ is an Awesome Idea for Sensory Play:
So what is Moon Sand anyway? Moon Sand is extremely soft “sand” your kiddo can play with. It is natural and you can make it with ingredients you already own! Basically it just contains flour and baby oil! Click here for Full Recipe Printable for Moon Sand, AND recipe for Marshmallow Dough!
Sand can be so dirty… but Moon Sand is fresh and clean. Indoor play with Moon Sand is a blast! It has an awesome fluffy, smooth texture, and it is pure white. You can still mold it and make a castle, like playing with sand. You can also add a few drops of essential oil to this mix: I suggest Lavender!
Years ago, I would often make this Moon Sand for the kids I would Nanny. They were ages 3 and 5. They thought it was so cool! We would play indoors with this “sand”, and they would be entertained for hours! Even when I took them on outings to the beach, they said my “sand” was better. Hahaha.
A ‘Squish Bag’ for Sensory Activities:
Squish Bags are super easy to make. Simply, It is squishy gel, with food coloring in a baggie with some little toy items, if you want to add them. You can get as creative as you want with the toys and trinkets inside. Or you can even keep it simple and just leave it squishy.
You basically need 2-3 simple ingredients for a basic ‘Squish Bag‘:
- cheap hair gel
- quart or gallon size ziplock bag
- food coloring (if you choose)
- glitter (if you choose)
- little toys, magnets and trinkets to place inside (if you choose)
I made a squish bag for Harry a few months ago. I used the hair gel (a huge container of clear hair gel from the Dollar Store!), a quart size bag, and green food coloring. That’s it. I taped the zip closed as well (just to be safe).
In the future, I would even add some glitter, little alphabet pieces, maybe a few flat small magnets, or marbles, or tiny toy fish to squish around in the bag! But he really loved playing with it!
You should always be with your child as they play with a squish bag, for safety reasons. You need to be sure your baby doesn’t bite it or open it at all!
Sensory Activities: Indoor Snow Play
On a particularly freezing & snowy day this winter in Chicago, I really wanted to take Harry out to play. I had a happy, fun fantasy of us playing and laughing in the snow together. Unfortunately, the -10 degree weather didn’t agree with our plan!
I still needed to give him a fun activity, he was getting all pent up inside. I decided to bring the snow inside! Some of my fellow brilliant mommy friends gave me the idea to make a snow bin and have your kiddo play with that inside!
He was confused and delighted, shocked and happy. He had no idea what it was… he had really never been that close to the actual snow that we see every day. After he explored it a bit, he decided he liked it! He played with it, he passed it between bowls, he mixed it and scooped it- and then finally he ate it! I knew that would happen. Hahaha.
He had a blast! It was a fun afternoon for him. I just had him sit in his high chair in the kitchen, and I put an extra towel on his lap, and his waterproof large bib on. Every once and a while I wiped his hands with a warm wash cloth to keep his hands from freezing as he played. Call me over protective, but I wanted him to be comfortable still! 😉
I am so glad I captured his face as he ate the snow for the first time. That adorable confused puppy look cracks me up…
Enjoy a ‘Food Art’ Sensory Activity:
Most of our fun activities take place in his high chair as you can see! This particular day, I decided to help Harry create some beautiful ‘art’ on a blank canvas… the colors were made using his favorite foods!
Harry is obsessed with blueberries right now and his other favorite food is avocado! I noticed how the blueberries also stain everything (including my child)… purple. I thought instead of fighting it that day, we would lean into it.
I brought him little sheets of paper for his tray and he covered his blueberry hands all over his paper. He made some beautiful designs as he smushed his hands into the paper. It turned out to be gorgeous ‘Organic art’ with the blueberry and avocado color techniques.
I thought it was a pretty clever way to help him express his love of food and art!
Make a Colored Sensory Water Bottle
My dad was famous for making color sensory bottles for me and my sister when we were younger. He would add oil and glitter to them too! It was like simulating a lava lamp. We could play with these for hours! We loved watching the elements mix and the bubbles and sparkles float around.
They’re a huge hit with kids and easy to make! In the future I would add confetti to the water bottle. Also, be sure to glue the top closed or tape it off so your kiddo won’t accidentally open it.
Sensory Activities: Puffy Painting
Not to be confused with ‘puffy paints’ for fabric. This is actually a finger painting project with shaving cream and Elmer’s Glue! The mix is really simple. The kids can finger paint it right onto construction paper and the best part: it maintains the puffy texture! The picture will be raised and jumping off the paper after it dries!
Here is the simple Recipe for Puffy Painting, You will Need:
- Elmer’s Glue
- Shaving Cream (I use men’s, Barbasol Saving Cream)
- Food Coloring (if you choose)
- Colored Construction Paper
Use equal parts shaving cream and glue, and add a few drops of desired food coloring (if you choose). Then have the kids finger paint it right on to the construction paper. Colored construction paper works best to see the mixture.
When it dries, it will remain puffy and raised. Let it dry for at least 3 hours! This is a great project for kids (not babies). Parental guidance is necessary during this sensory activity. Make sure they do not ingest the shaving cream mix, or apply to their face or eyes. Safety first!
Koosh Ball Sensory Activities Idea:
Koosh Balls have such a unique texture. Everyone loves to play with a Koosh ball… even adults! Koosh Balls are such a great sensory item for toddlers.
I see these on sale at Target all the time! I think the Dollar Store even carries them! The cool texture is what you’re going for! Get some in every size and color and plop into a bin. Your kiddo will be fascinated and entertained for hours!
Rice or Dry Pasta Sensory Activities Idea:
You can put 1 cup of pasta or rice into bowls and let baby mix it, touch it and pour it out. Add some spoons or measuring cups and let baby play and measure.
Or you can fill a 1-gallon storage container with dry rice or dry pasta and create an entire bin for sensory play! Throw in some small toys, alphabet pieces, or small animal figures. Your kiddo will love it!
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Water Play Sensory Activities:
Water play is always a huge hit! Besides bath time, we mostly let Harry do water play outside or on our patio. Pending the weather, your kiddo has so many water pay sensory options. You can setup buckets, toys, spoons, bowls, animal toys or sand play toys.
If your kiddo is all about the water play, you can even get a specific water play table for your kiddo to stand and experience their water play station!
Sensory Activity can be therapeudic for adults as well!
Think of adults using a stress ball in a therapy session… or playing with dough or even coloring! Adults can greatly benefit from these activities as well! They are all designed to calm us down, focus on the task at hand, and be mindful of our experience. Sometimes you can even ‘let it all go’ with one of the previously mentioned activities.
I love coloring, as an adult! Adult coloring books are huge right now because of these reasons! You are not alone, friend. 🙂
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Sensory Activity and Sensory Play Should NOT Break Your Budget:
Get creative with what you offer baby to interact with. Utilize items you already have in your home! Show your kiddo a different way to experience their toys. Overall, you can maintain your frugal side when it comes to playing with sensory activities for your kids.
If you are going to buy a new item, make sure it is a quality item that your kiddo can enjoy for years to come! Check out some of our favorites from Amazon!
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Hi, I am Kelly! Creator and administrator of Little Hat Family, I absolutely adore my squishy, smiley, 10-month old son, Harrison (Harry), and my kind and cooperative husband Stefan. Our little millennial, hipster family lives in Chicago and yes, we do love hats!
As a professional nanny for 11 years in Chicago, and now a new mommy myself, I have picked up so much useful, modern, mommy advice and life hacks! I would love to pay it forward to my fellow mommy tribe!
I also love creating thrifty projects, organization, an organic lifestyle, dancing, blogging, cooking and spending time with our large families!
I absorb every drop of Mama advice I can get; and I’ve created some Modern Motherly advice along the way! We Modern Mommies have to stick together! Subscribe to my blog today, and let’s connect our Modern, Family Tribes! ~Kelly