Learning about the five senses – sight, smell, hearing, touch and taste – is an important part of a child’s development. Sensory play is a great way to encourage this development! By using their senses during play, children learn valuable motor and cognitive skills, as well as how their senses help them interact with the world.
Sensory Development Activities
Creating fun activities for sensory play can be done using household items and easy-to-find ingredients. Try these four simple sensory play ideas with your children today!
- Play dough and kinetic sand: Play dough and kinetic sand provide hours of creative play. Children can mold and build the materials into different shapes, then tear them apart and start over. They can squeeze the dough in their hands, smash the dough flat or roll the dough into a log.
- Beans: Fill a bowl or tub with various dried beans. Watch as children dig their hands in the bowl, try to pick up different beans or sort beans by color. Picking up and dropping beans helps build fine motor skills and teaches cause and effect as the beans are dropped.
- Finger painting: Finger painting taps into multiple senses as children touch the paint and paper, and see a picture unfold as they draw on the page. Use tempura paints or finger paints for easier hand-washing and cleanup.
- Water: Water is an excellent material for sensory play. Pour water from one container to another, or test which toys sink or float. Add water at different temperatures to a few different bowls and ask children which is warmer and colder.
For more information about encouraging healthy sensory development, visit helpmegrowmn.org.