Sensory play is any activity that stimulates the senses like touch, smell, taste, sight, and hearing. It is a great learning activity for kids. Stimulating these five senses help children develop thinking, physical skills, social skills, emotional skills, and language skills.
Sensory play supports language development, cognitive growth, problem solving skills, and much more. And as an underrated benefit, sensory play develops and enhances memory.
You can use sensory play as a great way to calm frustrated and anxious kid. And you can start rather early. The moment your baby can open his hand from a fist and reach for things, you can start with sensory play. As a general rule of thumb, your baby is ready to start sensory play from four months old.
1. Baby Safe Cloud Dough
Sensory dough is a classic game. You can even mix things up. For example, start one month with one kind of dough, and move to another in the next month. The key is to use ingredients that are safe for your kids to touch and explore.
Our picks for sensory dough are organic baby rice cereal and coconut oil. The goal is to limit the sensory play to non-edible items.
2. Hair Gel Bag Sensory Play
This game is safe for your kids to touch items, explore their shape, and play without the risk of swallowing them. Fill a bag with hair gel filler content. You can try different bags, but the cinderella party confetti works best. Go for items that have more dimensions. But also be careful of the textures and shapes. After all, your kid needs to touch them and grasp they have different textures.
3. Sensory Hola Hoop
This sensory play helps your baby get tummy time. This gives your baby the opportunity to lift his head and begin to put weight on the arms and legs. Physical development is crucial in baby’s life. It ensures that your baby strengthens his muscles and is ready to use his body to crawl and eventually walk.
We recommend supervising your baby while playing with the hula hoop. After all, it is a baby. You cannot leave him alone. Also, make sure there are no small items that can pose a choking hazard.
4. Tugging Box For Fine Motor Development
Kids have a natural response to pull at things and see what happens. If you give them a box of tissues, they will end up all over the floor within seconds. This tugging box solves that problem and puts your baby in a loop. Loads of fun for sure.
5. Peek-A-Boo Sensory Board
Peek-a-boo is a classic game for kids. You can play this game forever. Kids smile when they play peek-a-boo. Well, when they are little, you can try this game and let him explore what is behind the closed door. Expect a mess after a while.
6. Felt Board
You can make your own felt board in less than 15 minutes. It is easy and cheap. Then, you can use the felt board to tell stories, create stories, or build designs with pictures and shapes. Felt board is a great addition to the home, and you can use it until first-grade classroom. Here is a guide on how to make your own in less than 15 minutes.
7. Scent Sensory Cards
Kids need to develop their smell as well. This game works great for that. Just remember, your kid cannot smell more than three or four different scents in a short time period. It is the same way you test perfumes. Let your baby smell some scents, than give him a pause and time off. Continue after a while.
8. Sensory Footprints
Your kid touches things with his hands primarily. But do not forget his feet as well. You can try a reverse way to play sensory games by letting him touch things with his feet. But you can play this game once your baby starts walking.
9. Sensory Blocks
Your baby can feel when an item is rough or soft. He can feel if it is smooth. This game allows him to explore textures. You can make these blocks in less than 30 minutes. And your baby will play with them for hours. You can even use them again and again. Repetition helps learning, right?
10. Butter Slime
We established that kids love to touch things and see how it feels. Butter slime doesn’t have butter in it. The name is because of the buttery-like texture. Depending on where you get it, or how you make it, it can be less or more stretchy.
The most important thing is to make it moldable and fluffy. And of course, you want a non-toxic buttery slime.
11. Montessori Learning Busy Board
Montessori learning is practical learning with everyday items. This type of learning helps refine motors skills and learn new skills. Simply put, Montessori learning is a way to learn while living your normal life. Learning doesn’t feel like learning. It feels like living.
And you do not have to send your kid to some special school. You can do a lot of things at home. There are many activities that keep your baby busy. Here are some ideas you can try.
12. Mystery Box
The adrenaline, the squinted look, and the face your kid makes. Mystery boxes are great for learning and playing. The game is simple. Your kid keeps his eyes closed and reaches for something in a box. What is inside?
13. Sensory Bottle Ideas
Sensory bottles are a fun challenge for you and your baby. They are great for calming down an anxious baby. Some even call them calm down bottles.
Fill a bottle with items like glitter and other slow-moving ingredients, and your kid will watch them. Kids are mesmerized by watching slow descent. This will calm his breathing and help him regulate his emotions. You can find bottles for sensory play at your local grocery store, or order them on Amazon.
14. Rainbow In A Bag No-Mess Art
The best part about this game is that your home will stay clean. Your baby will play for hours with the colors inside. And he will love how the shape and color changes every time he touches the bag.
15. Stretchy Resistance Band
This game is great for kids who seek proprioceptive input. They get the input their body needs. But they are also a great tool for fidgety kids. You can easily make resistance bands at home. Some experts say they are great sensory tools for kids with autism.
16. Toddler Busy Board
Babies are very curious and want to explore everything. They want to explore anything that catches their eye. But we have to set limits and boundaries. This game keeps your baby occupied, but also teaches him what he shouldn’t go near.
At the same time, the board helps kids explore new items. During the early stage, it is important to develop fine motor skills, and this game does exactly that. Your kid can grab, pull, turn on, turn off, lock, open, and close things.
17. Glittery Sensory Bag
We had a couple of different takes at the glittery bag. It is one of the simplest and most common sensory games. The premise is so simple, yet so effective. But the most important thing here is that your house stays clean. The glitter is inside a bag. And there is no way to get it out.
18. Bubble Runway Popping
Here is another game you can use to let your kids touch things with their feet. They will love the feeling of bubbles popping under their feet.
19. Colored Beans Sensory Activity
If your kids love playing with dyed materials, we have a game for you. You can dye anything you like. The list includes rice, beans, pasta, and more. And you can dye them in a different way. It is great sensory game for play and craft. We recommend these beans which are easy and fun to make. And they help your baby develop motor skills. You can use the same process for anything you like to dye.
We hope you enjoyed our list of sensory play games. And if you have any other ideas, share them around. We mothers have to stick together.