Sensory activities are a FUN and engaging way to have a child play while exploring their senses; touch, taste, smell, sight, and hearing.
That is EXACTLY what a sensory activity is … an activity that involves anything using one or all of our 5 senses.
As a parent, teacher, or caretaker, you can get super creative with the type of sensory activities you can do with your kiddo. The sky’s the limit with what you can create!
BUT where do you begin? What are the benefits?
What are EASY and fun sensory activities you can do to enhance your child’s 5 senses?
We are going to explore some fun sensory activities for kids that can challenge their 5 senses and hopefully answer your questions that come to mind.
These activities are easy, engaging, inexpensive, and even a little messy.
Plus, we’ll dive into the benefits of why sensory activities are a go-to for many parents and what age you should begin sensory play.
Most importantly, how it can help your kiddo develop their senses while enhancing their developmental skills.
Now let’s dive in. 🙂
Touch Sensory Activity: Dry Pasta Sensory Bin
What I LOVE about this activity is it’s a fun hands on activity your child can enjoy while incorporating it into a learning game if you wanted too.
You can get creative with items already in your kitchen such as plastic cups, spoons, or measuring cups.
You can teach your kiddo measurements or numbers!
Have fun counting the pasta, measuring it out, or grouping the pasta together by certain shapes or colors (depending on the type of dry pasta you buy or if you get a variety of pasta shapes).
As you can see, you can tailor this activity to however you choose. 🙂
This is also a GREAT activity to help children who have movement challenges or motor delays in their arms, hands, and fingers.
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My nephew, who has cerebral palsy, has a BLAST scooping up the dry pasta in a cup and dumping it back in the bin. It helps him develop his fine motor skills in his hands and arms. He doesn’t even realize it either because he has such a great time doing it!
Activity: Sensory Bin Dry Pasta
- Plastic bin (suggested either a 20 quart or 30 quart bin) ==> Click here for the best current pricing <==
- Dry pasta of your choice
- You may already have these in the kitchen; measuring cups, spoons, or plastic cups
Your child will be enhancing and developing their fine motor skills by working their hands, arms, and finger muscles.
Fun tip: You can incorporate colorful pasta (to have your child learn a few of their colors) and also use a blanket for your child to sit on while playing with the bin of pasta. So when the little pasta pieces spill out over the bin onto the blanket it makes for a quick and easy clean up!
Taste Sensory Activity: No-Mess Nutrition Sensory Bin
I came across this sensory activity and it immediately caught my attention!
What an AMAZING way to introduce or reintroduce healthy foods to our kiddos. You can put all sorts of colorful fruits and vegetables into the bin to let your little one go wildly healthy. 🙂
This activity pretty much stimulates all senses but most importantly it encourages learning about yummy nutritious treats.
Feel free to introduce your child to one or the other (either fruits or vegetables) you don’t have to do them altogether in the same bin. Completely up to you!
- Plastic bin
- An assortment of fake wooden fruits ==> Click here for the best current pricing <==
- An assortment of fake wooden vegetables ==> Click here for the best current pricing <==
Your child will be enhancing and developing their fine motor skills by working their hands, arms, and finger muscles. They’ll also be learning healthy food options, shapes, and colors.
Fun Tip: You can always do a REAL fruits and vegetables nutrition bin or just start off with one food group, vegetables or fruit. It will be more messy but it’s such an amazing way to inspire your child to try out and taste nutritious treats!
Sensory Smell Activity: Scratch-N-Sniff Stickers
This activity takes me back to when I was little.
I can remember having a ball scratching and sniffing the grape and strawberry cartoon stickers. For whatever reason I remember those two EXACT smells.
Activity: Scratch-N-Sniff Stickers
- Scratch-n-sniff stickers with 17 different scents => Click here for the best current pricing <=
- Construction paper or plain white paper
Your child will be enhancing and developing their fine motor skills by working their muscles in their arms all the way down to the tips of their fingers. They’ll also be heightening their sense of smell while learning 17 different sticker scents (grape, lemon, strawberry, blueberry, raspberry, orange, apple, mango, pineapple, avocado, banana, watermelon, peach, gardenia, vanilla, lavender, and cola)!
Fun Tip: You can dive into sticker FUN with your kiddo by creating engaging activities such as a ‘matching’ game, making an ‘I Spy’ book, or work on body awareness by asking them where a body part is (such as their knee) and see if your child can place a sticker there. 🙂
Sight Sensory Activity: Beach Ball Word and Number Game
Your child can enjoy this activity indoors, outdoors, or on vacation! Plus, it’s super simple to create for a few bucks which is a steal in my book.
You will take a plastic beach ball and a sharpie marker to write with (a beach ball is suggested because it’s easier to write numbers or words in between the lines of segmented).
Of course, tailor this activity to what suits your child best.
Do they need to learn to count to 10 or maybe they are a little older and are learning more advanced vocabulary?
You can write whatever numbers or words you’d like on the ball to create the perfect game for them.
Activity: Beach Ball Word and Number Game
- Plastic Beach Ball => Click here for the best current pricing <=
- Sharpie Marker
Your child will be enhancing and developing their gross motor functions while improving their math and language skills.
Fun Tip: Toss the ball back and forth and when you catch or hold the ball, whatever word or number your finger lands on, you say that word. It’s nice to throw in a few words or numbers your child may already recognize to move the game along at a faster pace to inspire their confidence.
Hearing Sensory Activity: Sounds Sensory Jars
Do you have any empty jars with lids or small containers tucked away in your home?
If so, pull those bad boys out and turn a dusty item into an excellent hearing sensory activity for your little one!
If you don’t have empty jars or small containers on hand, no worries at all. They are super easy and inexpensive to find.
The goal of the ‘Sounds Sensory Jar” activity is to involve your child in putting different objects into the jar and allow them to discover what kind of sound it makes after they shake it.
What’s GREAT about this sensory activity is it can encompass ALL 5 senses; touch, taste, smell, sight, and hearing (depending on what you put into the jar).
- Plastic jars with lids => Click here for the best current pricing <=
- Your choice! Any objects lying around in your home or kitchen. Here are some suggested items kids enjoy; marbles, rice, beans, popcorn, coins, sand, glitter, gum balls, gems, buttons, cereal.
Your child will be enhancing and developing their fine motor functions, cognitive thinking, shape and color recognition plus their shapes too!
Fun Tip: With the suggested plastic jars with lids (mentioned above), it comes with a pen, spatula, and labels. You can turn this engaging activity into an educational experience too in a few ways:
- Label the items on the jar so your child learns the objects and words.
- Or turn it into an engaging math game by counting or guessing how many items are in the jar.
- The spatula is a perfect size for kids to play with to twirl, stir, or have fun with the objects. Plus, it can be used as an inclusive tool to help whoever is whipping up a yummy treat in your kitchen!
What Age is Best for Sensory Play?
Earlier the better. 🙂
A baby is ready for sensory play early on because you can stimulate their senses with daily activities.
As early as a few months old you can start introducing your child to the creative world of sensory fun OR anytime they begin opening their hand from a fist to reach for things.
What are the Benefits of Sensory Play?
A child explore’s their world through play!
That’s one of their ‘love’ languages when it comes to enjoyment, learning, and growing as a child.
When we create a joyful environment for our kids to have the freedom to play, the more we can encourage their curiosity and creativity through sensory exploration.
Personally, sensory play really helped my son’s speech develop early on with hands on activities.
The ‘touch’ sensory activities were a huge hit for him (and still is). It encouraged him to want to talk, point, listen, and socially interact.
Here are the 7 most common ways sensory play benefits a child:
- Encourages problem solving
- Supports language development
- Develops gross motor and fine motor skills
- Develops knowledge
- Enhances cognitive thinking
- Improves memory
- Learning differences
- Understanding cause and effect
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Stimulating our child’s senses is a playful way to hold their attention while incorporating educational activities and enhancing their developmental skills.
Sensory play benefits our child in so many unique ways! It’s a wonderful way to explore and tailor creative activities based upon our child’s individual needs.
Let’s be honest, as parents when our child is entertained, growing, and learning that’s the ULTIMATE bonus am I right? 🙂
Hopefully, the suggested activities added inspiration to your research efforts in finding a GREAT sensory experience for your child.
If there are other sensory activities you would recommend, questions you may have, or anything you’d like to add that I did not cover in this post, please feel free to comment below.
If you found value in this post, please share the love to hopefully help another parent explore a fun sensory activity for their kiddo.
I really do strive to make the content I create as helpful as possible for you…as a fellow parent looking out for their most precious gift.
Thank you for stopping by today!
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