Growing children rely on their senses from birth onward to explore and make sense of their surrounding world. Through sight, hearing, touching, tasting, smelling, and even moving, young children process the information obtained through their senses, which informs their development. By enriching infant’s and young children’s experiences with sensory play activities, families can support their little one’s brain development.
Sensory play can take many forms. Parents can use household items or DIY toys to encourage toddlers to understand better and navigate their world. The different forms of sensory play can enhance brain development in many ways. Learn how to engage your child with fun sensory play activities at home so that you can spur their development and nurture their well-being.
5 Sensory Play Activities Using Things You Already Have at Home
You may not realize it, but your home is full of a wealth of sensory items that you can feature during sensory playtime with your toddler. Here are just a few to inspire you to get started with sensory play activities.
Pasta comes in all kinds of fun shapes and sizes. All you need are some different pasta shapes such as macaroni, cavatappi, rotini, and some construction paper and non-toxic paste. Encourage your child to paste the pasta to create pictures like a circle, a square, or even more complicated items that you trace for them like a star or a heart.
Don’t have Play-Doh? No problem. Using a combination of flour, water, and salt, you can whip up a batch of salt dough to create fun seasonal ornaments. Children will enjoy squishing the dough, rolling it, and forming it into shapes using their hands or cookie cutters. After you bake the ornaments so they’ll harden, you and your children can paint and decorate them with small pom poms, ribbon, or other odds and ends.
3. Sensory Bin
Create a sensory bin with different items and leave it out for daily stimulation. Provide plastic measuring cups and other tools for children to touch and explore on their own. You can swap in new items to keep them interesting. Here are some examples:
- Dry beans
- Edible sand
- Little toys
- Cotton balls
- Shredded pieces of paper
4. Tea Party
Unless you’re having high tea with the queen, you don’t need a formal tea service to have a tea party. Plastic cups, some water, and a plate filled with cookies or apple slices will do just fine. The key is to let your child do the hosting. That means it’s their job to fill and refill your glass with ‘tea.’ It’s their job to serve your cookie.
5. Pots and Pans Band
Pots and pans, of course, make great drums. But there are many items around your house that children can use to make sounds. You can hand them a couple of spoons and allow them to make ‘music’ on the kitchen floor using items like pots, plastic colanders, boxes, and more.
Keep these ideas in mind as you prepare to engage your child in sensory play. One of the highlights of sensory play that we haven’t yet mentioned, of course, is all the fun you can have as you bond over these different activities. You’re sure to create some fabulous memories, so keep your camera handy!