Everyday items for sensory play

07 August, 2023

Sensory play may sound fancy, but it’s simply kids playing in a way that encourages them to use and develop their senses. And chances are, you’ve already got everything you need to have a go at home.

We use our senses every day to gather information and make decisions about pretty much everything, so it makes good sense to help children develop their senses. Sensory play encourages children to explore and experiment, think creatively and develop language and motor skills. But perhaps even better, sensory play can be a lot of fun! Here are five ideas for you to try:



This activity can get messy, but kids love it! Mix two cups of cornstarch and one cup of water in a large bowl to make “Ooblick” and encourage your child to explore how it feels. Poke it to feel a solid mass, run your fingers through it to feel a liquid and then pull and stretch it out like slime.



Set out a sample of different tastes for your little one to try. Choose something sweet, sour, wet and dry, such as a lemon slice, vegemite, honey, cinnamon or flour.  Ask them to describe the flavours or perhaps draw a picture of how each item made them feel. Older children may enjoy trying this activity wearing a blindfold!



Ask your children to sort a group of objects into colours and then make simple patterns. Depending on the age of the child, you could raid your sewing box and do this activity with buttons or rolls of thread. Craft shops have bags of coloured paddle pop sticks and pom poms, or just use coloured pencils or crayons.



Scented playdough is irresistible to little hands. Whip up a batch using this simple recipe and add scent from your pantry – think vanilla or peppermint essence or spices such as cinnamon or ginger. Essential oils such as lavender work nicely too and can be soothing after a busy morning. Ask your little ones to close their eyes and concentrate on the smell and how it makes them feel.



Pull out a handful of Tupperware containers and a selection of dry ingredients from the pantry. Encourage your little one to fill the containers to make a variety of maracas, paying attention to the different sounds they make as they pour and then shake them. Use whatever is at hand. You could try different types of dry pasta, rice, dried peas, beans, lentils or even salt or sprinkles.


You could also try these five ideas for sensory play at home!


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