Are you looking to keep your little one busy these holidays? We’ve got some sensory play ideas to keep your children away from the screens while continuing the learning at home. Follow this guide for sensory play ideas that offer a playful way to stimulate their senses.
Sensory Play Ideas for Kids
As parents, we’re constantly reminded of the importance of sensory play for our children’s brain development. However, understanding what sensory play truly entails and why it’s crucial can be a challenge.
Supporting children’s development by embracing the joy of getting dirty is at the heart of many brands including OMO. They believe that every stain carries a significant experience: mud stains symbolise thrilling adventures, grass stains signify exciting explorations, and fruit stains are the delightful remnants of discovery.
With that mission in mind, here’s some exciting ideas to unravel the wonders of sensory play and explain why it’s a necessity for your young child’s growth and development. Moreover, we’re thrilled to share our carefully curated list of the top ten sensory play ideas that are sure to captivate your children. Whether you’re looking for indoor activities or outdoor adventures in any weather, we’ve got you covered with exciting options that will build your little ones’ confidence by getting them good and messy, and then eager for more.
And then we’ll be there to sort out all the dirt afterwards. Say it with us – dirt is good!
Let’s get playing!
What Is Sensory Play & Why Is It Important?
Each one of us, including children, have five senses: touch, taste, sight, hearing, and smell. Sensory play is an activity that stimulates one or more of your child’s senses into a playful, fun activity. Stimulating a child’s senses through play is vitally important for a variety of reasons, including:
- Helping the child learn to link what they see with what they hear, feel, touch and taste.
- Helps a child make sense of the world through this concept
- Enables them to understand cause and effect, which helps their emotional development
- Develops their attention span
- Can help to stimulate and improve their language
Apart from all these amazing benefits, sensory play is also fun! Children learn through play. They are little busy bodies that need to explore every inch of their surroundings for their brains to learn and grow. The best thing we can do, as parents, is to facilitate sensory play sessions in which they can have fun in, and not worry about the mess around them. Leave their messy, stained clothing up to OMO, we’ve got you covered.
Should Sensory Play Always Be Messy?
Sensory play does not necessarily always have to be messy. Children love to mess, so it can make it more fun when it’s messy and not structured but it doesn’t always have to be. Read on to find out more about sensory play ideas for toddlers and sensory play ideas for kids that can be both messy and not, and be done both outside and in.
10 Sensory Play Ideas That Every Child Will Enjoy
Fun Beading Activities
Threading beads onto string is a very good sensory play idea that stimulates your little one’s sense of sight through colour and is also really good for their fine motor skills too. You might need to start with larger beads and string if they are small, but as they get older you can begin using finer needles, string, and smaller beads.
Kids Love Painting
If you’re ever stuck for a sensory play idea, just get painting. Take out an old sheet and cover a table outside with it. Get a range of old paper or paper plates to paint on. Set up their paints and let them turn into mini-Picasso’s. Encourage them to use paint brushes or even their hands for different textures. They’ll no doubt end up painting their own bodies too. What fun!
Help Them Make Homemade Musical Instruments
What child doesn’t love music, right? Allow them to create their very own shaker with a used buddy bottle and some stones, beads, or grains of rice. Or tape an egg shaker between two plastic teaspoons to create a homemade castanet.
Show Kids How to Plant a Garden
Creating their own garden is a wonderful outdoor sensory play idea that children love and that can be done no matter how big or small your garden is. You can get them to paint and decorate a few small pot plants and then plant herbs like basil and rosemary which are easy to grow in pots. Or, if space allows, help them to clear a piece of garden bed to create their very own vegetable patch. The digging and planting of the soil is a wonderful sensory experience for them.
Life is a Balancing Act: Let Them Play on a Balancing Beam
Balancing is a relatively hard concept for little ones and takes a lot of mastering. Create your very own homemade balancing beam with a few planks of wood in between two chairs or steps. Make sure you’ve placed cushions underneath to enable a soft landing though.
You Can Never Go Wrong with Play Dough!
Children of all ages love play dough. The little ones will love mushing and rolling and tearing it into pieces. Older kids will love moulding it into real shapes and creating an imaginary world with their creations. By using their hands to mould and mix the play dough, they are getting great sensory stimulation all the time.
How About a Taste Test Challenge
When it comes to edible sensory play ideas, this one takes the cake – excuse the pun! Line up a few bowls of different edible foods in a variety of textures – like sugar, salt, jelly, ice, and fruit to name a few. Blind fold the kids and get them to taste the food and guess what they are tasting. This is a fun idea that can be done with whatever you happen to have in the fridge or pantry.
If you’d like a few more edible sensory play ideas, read our blog on Edible Sensory Play For Kids – Fun With Food now.
Jelly Slime Fun
Playing with jelly has never been so much fun. You can create your own home-made jelly or buy a store bought one that is safe for kids. They will love creating imaginary baking games with it or putting a range of toys like animals and dinosaurs into to – all of which is stimulating their touch senses and desensitizing littles ones to the feeling of ooey gooey textures.
Create a Sensory Bin
Sensory bins are excellent forms of sensory play ideas especially for the more sensitive to touch children. Create a serious of bins with different textures in like sand, beans, rice, water, and mud and place different plastic (cleanable) objects into the bins. Ask your child to find all the items out of the bin and place them on the side. This forces them to have to put their hands into squishy, cold, differently textured areas which is great for their touch sense.
Kids Love Solving Puzzles
Building puzzles is an amazing sensory game which also builds a child’s analytical brain. They must use their sight, and their sense of touch to work together to solve the puzzle. This is a great inside sensory play idea, especially for those rainy days.
At OMO, we want you to worry about your child’s happy development and not about the mess they might make. Leave their dirty, stained laundry up to us and remember Dirt is Good.