Studies show that sensory play helps the brain to build connections with the rest of the nervous system. These connections strengthen a child’s ability to complete increasingly more difficult learning tasks. Sensory play develops motor skills, problem solving skills, language development, social interaction and more. Here’s a list of 10 excellent sensory play activities to support your little ones as they grow.
1. Moon Sand
Playing with sand will help children develop motor skills and promotes creativity and imagination. Here are some easy-to-follow directions for making this activity that will send your toddler over the moon and back.
2. Natural Play Dough
Here’s a less messy, inside-friendly version of the Moon Sand. Head over to Mama Instincts for some directions to make a natural, toxic free play dough that will let you be more worry-free in case your little sculptor decides to get a taste.
3. Sensory Tubs
Sensory tubs can not only help children develop motor skills, but can also teach or review particular subjects such as colors or the alphabet. I Can Teach My Child has 18 great ideas for building meaningful sensory tubs.
4. Sensory Boards
Sensory boards are especially helpful for developing visual, tactile, and auditory skills. They do require assembly, but the pay off is worth it. These are a must have for parents with children who have physical disabilities such as hearing or sight impairment. Check out Learning And Exploring Through Play to find out how to make your own.
5. Sensory Bag
You and baby will be “gellin'” with this sensory activity. All you’ll need is dollar store hair gel, small toys and other knick knacks, a gallon sized Ziploc bag, and some duct tape. Get the all the details here.
6. Fine Motor Development with Pipe Cleaners
Here’s an easy-to-build sensory activity that will help your children work on fine motor dexterity, tripod grasp (your child’s teacher will thank you for this down the road), and eye-hand coordination. Kids have fun creating little works of art by shaping the pipe cleaners and can also develop color matching skills if you label the holes by color. Learning and playing at the same time… what could be better?
7. Rainbow Discovery Bottles
Here’s a bright idea for developing visual sensory! Bring your toddler’s investigator skills to life by creating an I-Spy book in a bottle. Fun At Home With Kids gives all the details on her blog.
8. Rainbow Sensory Writing Tray
The Imagination Tree shares this great idea for helping children develop language, writing, and math skills without killing their enthusiasm for learning. The best part is watching how excited your little ones get when they expose the colors under the salt or sand. It’s like a new surprise for them every time!
9. Sensory Hula Hoop
Apartment No 12 shows that the Hula Hoop has never been so much fun! Attach all sorts of textured items and other objects that will make for the perfect attention-keeping activity for baby.
10. Fine Motor Letter Matching
No need to force workbooks and writing pages on your little explorer before he/she starts school. Create a simple letter matching box instead and keep the learning alive. Schooltime Snippets shares her ideas here.