Play time is vital for babies and toddlers and sensory play activities are a fun way to get little hands and feet messy and learning about textures, shapes and colours. Most sensory play activities are really easy for you to do at home and don’t require a lot of shopping or expensive props. If you want to have a go at some sensory play activities check out 5 of our favourites that we have found online:-
- Kids love anything sparkly and shiny; and this fantastic flowers and fairies sensory box from Anna over at Imagination Tree has created a brilliant magical world to encourage story telling, imagination and full of sensory props such as rice, flowers and sequins. If you have little princesses or flower fairy fans this would be the perfect box of escapism and is incredibly quick and easy to put together and something that can be adapted and added to as your toddler grows up.
- Shaving foam play - big cheap cans of shaving foam are great for going wild and messy play and particularly good fun outdoors in the summer. Use straight from the can, mix with food colouring and you can create rainbow foam for the kids to enjoy the texture of, and by adding PVA glue it can become a stick paint that you can make pictures with.
- Rainbow goop – loads of fun and boys love this as it’s like gooey slime! To make simply take 1 cup of water to 1.5/2 cups cornflour and mix until the gloop is combined; it gets pretty sticky so get those arms working. By adding food colouring into the mix you can create a myriad of colours in the gloop and use different utensils to make patterns and swirls. If you have plastic cookie cutters try dipping them in the gloop and pressing onto paper to make bright print pictures.
- Create your own tickle sticks – great for having some free time with no clothes on tickle sticks are a tactile and sensory stimulation for babies and toddlers. Take wooden sticks, like lollipop sticks (plenty on eBay) and attach short lengths of wool, feathers, pom poms and anything else that feels nice such as tissue paper etc onto coloured ribbons. Just attach them to the sticks using rubber bands. They then become perfect tickling sticks for tiny toes, little fingers and tummies. Not the sort of toy to be left unattended with as there are choking hazards but a brilliant 1:1 toy for mums and dads.
- Have a go at creating monster or deep sea puddles in the backgarden; simply put food colouring into puddles and add in plastic fishes, monsters, eyeballs and other spooky fun objects for little ones to go splashing in with their wellington boots! If you’ve not got puddles create aquariums using tubs of water dyed blue with food colouring and get the kids hunting in the tub to find mystery items.
So get preparing your tubs of goodies for the weekend and have fun with textures, smells and tastes. Sensory play is a hugely important part of child development, giving your child the chance to play with different types of textures,tastes and objects helps them to build new ways of talking about the world. It brings the world to life around them and makes inanimate objects fun and part of a game. Water isn’t just wet, it can be rough (waves) or slippery with bubbles or cold and translucent when frozen or clear and still.