Sensory Play Time

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There are so many benefits of sensory play time for babies and toddlers. Sensory play time is a great way to set up fun activities while also helping your child’s brain development.

For many of the activities, the set up involves everyday items that you have lying around in the house. While some sensory activities can be messy, you can easily contain the mess to an area in the house.

What is Sensory Play?

Sensory play is allowing your child to play with things that stimulates all their senses. It involves any activity which where they can use their sense of smell, taste, touch, sight and hearing.

The simplest way to engage a child with sensory play is to let them explore outside as there are so many colors, textures, smells and sounds.

Benefits of Sensory Play Time

  • Helps the development of thinking, fine and gross motor skills
  • Aids the development of nerve connections in the brain
  • Acts as a stress reliever
  • Promotes problem solving
  • At meal times it can be a great way to introduce new foods into a toddlers diet (baby led weaning)

Sensory Activities

Rice Pit

You can use a small bowl or a larger tub and fill with rice. You can throw in some plastic cutlery or some small toys and they kids can dig around for them.

Edible Sand

This is another great one for a different texture and you don’t have to worry about the kids eating something they aren’t allowed! Check out how to make it here.

Shaving Foam

Fill a tub with shaving foam or squeeze it out onto a bin bag. Have you kids draw their names or make shapes in the foam. You can add food colouring if you want but keep in mind it might stain their hands!

Colour Match

There are lots of different ways that you can do this. The easiest would be to get different coloured cups or bowls or you can paint them if you can’t buy them, and get matching different coloured pom poms. You can also grab different coloured pieces of paper and a bunch of lego.

From Rachel Swannie’s Instagram Story

Bubbles

An easy way to keep a kid occupied is to get an electric bubble machine and let them interact with the bubbles. You can also make big bubbles if you want by making a big bubble wand. You can use two sticks and some string. Alternatively grab two long straws and string and thread the string through the straws having them on opposite sides to each other (it should look like a square so the kids can hold a straw in each hand).

You can also turn this into a bubble bin. You will need a plastic bin, water, dish soap or baby shampoo, food colouring, whisks, glitter and some cups. Let your kid, add the food colouring, play around whisking the bubbles and add the glitter.

Water Bead Bags

These come in many different colours and don’t be worried about the kids eating them as we have a hack for you. Grab a sandwich or zip lock bag and fill it up with the beads. Tape it to the window at their height and let them squish them around.

You can also do this bag on the wall with hair gel, some glitter and a few craft supplies like googly eyes!

Handmade Rattle

Grab a plastic bottle and fill it will things that will make a noise when shook. Fill with cut up plastic straws and rice to make it sound like rain falling, or add in some stones to make it a bit louder!

Sensory Bin

Fill up a large plastic tub with different textures and materials. You can add in play dough, pasta, papers, ice cubes and so much more. For a bin just focused on one thing you can use, dinosaurs, letters and numbers, cars and bubbles for a car wash, spaghetti cutting, pom poms in water, cups and water for pouring or items of a certain colour.

**TOP TIP**

Create themed sensory weeks. With more time on your hands you can create a whole weeks worth of sensory activities. You can create activities surrounding a theme like the ocean, dinosaurs, colours, or holidays like Easter, Christmas and Halloween.

These ocean themed bins are from a YouTuber called Rachel Swannie and she has recently made an Instagram account specifically filled with fun activities called Mindfully Mini.

For the sensory bins it is easy to fill it with things associated with that theme. If there is a birthday coming up it is a great way to familiarise them with certain items. Add in the edible sand, oats or rice, birthday candles, cupcake moulds, spoons, sprinkles and confetti.

Sensory Boards

This is a great thing to be able to take out and put away, without all the mess. You can DIY it and make it yourself. All you will need is a thin piece of wood and stick/nail items to the wood. You can spell out the childs name in wooden letters, stick on numbers, a fidget spinner, a little wheel, a buckle, a zip, a fuzzy brush and any other household items that a child can play with.

From @busyboards123 Instagram

Pinterest and Instagram are great platforms at your fingertips for some more sensory play time inspiration.

Letting your kids get messy is so important for toddlers as it gives them endless ways to learn and develop. It can also be fun for the parents too because it can keep them occupied for a long time!

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