What is Sensory Play & Why it’s Important:
Sensory play is any activity that helps children focus on their sense of seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, and feeling. It is play designed to encourage kids to really be hands on and explore their world and use their senses. They learn so much just by being present and sensing and they retain the information better when they are more engaged.
Sensory activities help children with brain development, vocabulary growth, problem solving skills and more!
My favorite part of sensory play is how easy and simple it can be and it’s just fun!
In this blog I will give you some fun super simple sensory play ideas and tips to try with your kiddos.
Three Main Things to Remember:
- Always supervise sensory play.
- Let it be child led, let them make the decisions and choices.
- Be prepared for a mess. Allow your child the freedom to be messy. Choose a place where it is easy to clean up then use tools and equipment that can get ruined like an old table. Put a mess mat (plastic sheeting, table cloth, shower curtain) on the floor, wear old play clothes.
How to Create a Sensory Bin:
- Large plastic bin or sensory table
- Sensory base, such as water, sand, dry or cooked pasta, rice, dry beans, dry cereal, water beads, or play-doh.
- Tools for the bin that will help them scoop, pour, stir, and dig. If you are doing a theme based sensory bin you can add extras like people figures, animals, tubes, popsicle sticks, cars, etc.
Remember, there is no right or wrong way to do sensory play. Creating sensory bins is one of my favorite learning centers to set up. They don’t always have to involve a lot of prep work. The kids love it either way and it will keep them busy long enough for you to sit and enjoy your coffee!
Below is a list of the top 5 favorite sensory bins I have used in my classroom. Be sure to check back for more fun sensory play ideas!
- Base: Water beads Tools: cups, spoons, funnels, marble run tubes, & water bottles
- Base: sand Tools: buckets, shovels, sand molds Extras: gems(buried treasure)
- Base: planting soil Tools: flower pots, shovels, rakes, water cans Extras: take flowers
- Base: Soapy water (water & dish soap) Tools: play dishes and sponges (They love to wash dishes. You can use your kitchen sink for this sensory bin)
- Base: rice Tools: alphabet magnets Extras: magnet wand and cookie tray. (Hide alphabet letters in the rice and have them find the letter and put it on the matching letter on the cookie tray)
For even more easy sensory fun, join Ms. Lori for a virtual Sensory Sensations on October 8, 2020. Register here: https://bit.ly/2DJ2YqE to reserve your spot and your supply kit!
Written by Ms. Lori, STPL Children’s Programming Coordinator