SENSORY ACTIVITIES FOR DEVELOPMENT

What are Sensory Activities? 

 
Sensory activities are activities that stimulates one of the senses - see, smell, hear, taste, touch. Any activities that promotes body awareness are also considered sensory activities.
 
Sensory play is very beneficial for your child’s physical and cognitive development. It also fosters creativity, emotional regulation and learning. This style of learning can be especially helpful for kinesthetic learners that might struggle to learn through visual or auditory methods.
 
For more on early development, check out this post!
   
Every child has a different threshold for sensory input. Some children seek out extra sensory input, while others are avoidant, due to a hypersensitivity.
 
Children that seek out extra sensory input, might love spinning, being hung upside down, chewing on everything, and wanting to touch everything around them. Children with increased sensitivity to sensory input might demonstrate dislike for loud noises, dirty hands, clothing tags, and certain textures of food.
 
Toe walking can be a symptom of both hyposensitivity and hypersensitivity to sensory input. To learn more about toe walking, causes, and treatment ideas, check out this post!
EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT TOE WALKING 
 
Wherever your child falls on the spectrum, sensory activities will benefit his overall development.
 
Just keep in mind that every child is different. What is fun for one child might be too much for another child. Be intuitive and sensitive to your child’s needs (and his limits) when it comes to sensory play.
 
If you have concerns about your child, talk to your child’s pediatrician. Some children are diagnosed with sensory processing disorder, and benefit from working with a physical therapist and/or occupational therapist.
This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Please see my full disclosure for further information.
 

50 Sensory Activities for Development 

 
These sensory activities are designed to be affordable and simple to set up. Most of them can be easily prepared with items from around the house.
 
Please be sure to supervise your child during the following activities, as some of the below ideas involve water, choking hazards, etc.
 
1. Sensory Bags 
 
DIY sensory bags are easy and fun to make! Fill a zip lock bag with: rice, buttons, water, pompoms, dried popcorn, or anything else around the house.
 
2. Sensory Bins 
 
The sky is really the limit with this one! Fill a bin with anything around the home that has an interesting texture to it. Some of my favorites include: rice, pompoms, cotton balls, or water beads. You can also give your child little items or toys to find in the bin of sensory material, along with scoops, cups and tongs to explore with.
 
3. Sensory Bottles 
 
Fill old medicine bottles or other plastic containers with items around the home. Food colored water with oil or glitter in water can be visually fun for your child. Popcorn, rice or dried noodles can be a fun hearing sensory activity.
 
4. Foam Play 
 
Blend approximately 3 cups of water with 1 tablespoon of dish soap for about 1 minute. Pour the contents into a shallow pan or bin. You can put toys in the foam for your child to find, and/or scoops and cups to use.
 
5. Pouring Station 
 
Provide your child with different sizes and types of containers partially filled with water. Demonstrate for your child how to pour and transfer the water between containers. You can also add different colors of food coloring to each container of water to add the element of color theory for your child!
 
6. Play Dough 
 
This is an awesome play dough recipe from Smart School House that we have used before. If you don’t have cream of tartar, this playdough recipe from Sisters, What! also works really well.
 
7. Slime 
 
I love this edible slime recipe by Mother Could. Check it out!
 
8. Finger Painting 
 
9. Bubble Wrap Walking 
 
Put out 1 to several large pieces of bubble wrap on the floor, and allow your child to walk barefoot on the bubble wrap.
 
10. Bubble Wrap Painting
 
Wrap pieces of bubble wrap around each of your child’s feet. Given him a large piece of paper or cardboard on the floor with spaced out globs of paint. Your child can walk through the paint with his bubble wrapped feet for a unique sensation and to create interesting designs.
 
11. Fabric/Ribbon Bag
 
Fill a bag or container with different textured and colored pieces of fabric and ribbon for your child to explore. Left over scraps from different sewing projects are perfect for this activity!
 
12. Muffin Tin Exploration 
Take a muffin tin and place different items from around the house in each muffin space. Examples of items I have used are, keys, a cotton ball, a scrunchy, a set of measuring spoons, a sponge, etc.
 
13. Nature Basket 
 
Collect interesting and textured items from outside and place them in a bin for your child’s exploration. Items could include: dried leaves, moss, flowers, sprigs of pine, rocks and anything else you can think of!
 
14. Shaving Cream Art
 
Cover a baking sheet with a layer of shaving cream, to explore and/or draw pictures.
 
15. Colorful Spaghetti 
 
Cook a box of spaghetti then drain and rinse with cold water. Divide the spaghetti evenly into 3-6 different ziplock bags. Add food coloring and a drop of vegetable oil to each bag of noodles, seal the bags shut and shake until the color is dispersed. Open the bags to let the noodles air out for about 30 minutes prior to playing with them.
 
16. Jello Rescue 
 
Make a batch of jello and add small waterproof toys or figurines to the jello before it cools. Let the jello cool in the fridge for a few hours, then have your child, remove the toys from the jello.
 
17. Ice Cube Play
Give your child a tub of ice cubes or of water with ice cubes in it. You can also provide scoops and other containers, so your child can scoop, dump and transfer the ice cubes.
 
18. Listen to Music 
19. Sing, Stomp, Clap
20. Blindfold Game
 
Place a blindfold over your child’s eyes and guide him to a specific location or to a toy using verbal and tactile instructions.
 
21. Sensory Plate 
 
Create a sensory plate of food for your child with all different tastes and textures. Some ideas are: sweet, sour, spicy, salty, chewy, crunchy, juicy, etc.
22. Blow Bubbles
 
23. Blow Out Candles 
 
24. Blow Up Balloons  
 
25. Straw Play
 
Place a bunch of cotton balls or pompoms on a flat surface. Have your child attempt to move the cotton balls or pom poms across the surface by blowing through the straw.
 
26. Shadow Puppets on the Wall
 
27. Flashlight Play  
 
Turn off the lights and let your child experiment with moving the flashlight to make light designs on the wall or ceiling.
 
28. Smell the Spice Rack 
 
29. Smell Essential Oils
 
30. Smell Different Teas 
 
31. Aromatic Nature Walk 
 
Guide your child to walk around your yard, garden or neighborhood. Let you child smell different flowers, herbs or other plants with an aroma.
 
32. Spin on Spinning Chair 
 
Have your child sit in an office chair and spin them around in it. You can vary the speed and the direction of spinning.
 
33. Play Ring Around the Rosie 
 
34. Parachute Play
 
You can use a parachute or a blanket to parachute up and down with your child.
 
35. Jump on the Bed or a Trampoline 
 
36. Bounce on Ball Bouncer or Bouncy Horse 
 
37. Dance to Music
 
38. Practice Somersaults
 
39. Roll Down a Hill 
 
40. Swing 
 
41. Jump into or Crawl through a Pillow Pile 
 
42. Crawl through a Tunnel 
 
43. Swing in a Hammock or Blanket Held by 2 Adults
 
44. Blanket ride
 
Let your child lay or sit on a blanket, while you slide them around your home. This activity works best on wood or laminate, versus carpeted flooring.
 
45. Go Down Slides
 
46. Hang Upside Down
 
Sit on a couch or chair and have your child sit on your lap facing you. Help your child lean back so that his head and neck are past your knees. His head will be oriented upside down in this position.
 
47. Throw and Catch a Ball
 
48. Pushing Activity
 
Give your child a partially filled cardboard box or laundry basket to push across the floor.
 
49. Balance Beam 
 
You can create a balance beam by placing a strip of tape down on the floor or a chalk line on the sidewalk. Have your child attempt to balance along the beam.
 
50. Hop like a Frog
I hope you enjoy trying these sensory activities with your child!
Keep in mind that it doesn't have to be expensive or complicated to give your child meaningful sensory play opportunities!
 
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6 thoughts on “SENSORY ACTIVITIES FOR DEVELOPMENT”

  1. These are such great tips! I hadn’t thought of mixing the dish soap in the blender, my daughter will love it! She’s one of those kids that loves being hung upside down or spun around

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