For quite some time now, people have recognized the benefits of sensory play for children with Autism and ADHD, and for babies and toddlers in general. Sensory play is important because It helps build nerve connections in the brain, leading to a better ability for the children to complete more complex tasks. Better yet, it supports language development, cognitive growth, and so much more! It’s such a vital part of growth, education, and development—everyone should take a look at these awesome sensory play activities and ideas listed below.
Sensory bins are a huge thing in the sensory play world. It keeps the mess in one area and allows for better exploration than if it was atop a table. You can add different items into the bin with the rice, such as black beans or various sand toys. Making the colored rice is easy—all you’ll need is a cup of rice, a tablespoon of vinegar, and a few drops of food coloring. You can shake it all up in a closed Ziploc bag—the kids will love to help with this. Once you’re done making the different colored rice and letting it dry, dump it in a bin and let the play begin!
Messy sensory play is even more fun for kids. Rainbow slime is a great choice, and it lasts for months. Better yet, the recipe we have is only three ingredients, so it’s quick to make and fun to play with. You’ll need some bigger batches of liquid starch, school glue, and either liquid watercolor paint or food coloring. Combine equal parts of liquid starch and school glue—as much as you need for the batch you’re making. Mix it well. Then, divide the white slime into different batches and add in the watercolor of food coloring—you’ll get beautiful bright colors, perfect for play!
Another bin activity, this sensory play idea can be as creative as you make it! Grab a deep bin that will hold some water, some dish soap (or baby shampoo for sensitivities), food coloring, glitter, whisks, spoons, and cups for play. Pour some water into the bin, add dish soap, and watch them enjoy the bubbles. Further encourage their excitement when you add food coloring and glitter to the mix. You’ll want to play with them too!
Digging for Dinosaurs
Digging for dinosaurs is a lovely activity for those with any sensory processing difficulties. Any dinosaur toys and figurines are needed for this, as well as a bin and quite a bit of sand. The idea is to have the children dig around to find figurines. You could also make it a sorting game by having them sort dinosaur by color, or by putting other items in there that they’ll need to separate as well.
Mermaid Fabric Sensory Board
Remember those pillows that were super popular a year or so ago? The sequined fabric was one color if you rubbed it a certain way and a different color if you rubbed the opposite direction. This sensory board is a bigger version of that, allowing kids to make big, sweeping motions o draw letters. You’ll need one yard of mermaid fabric, a large piece of cardboard, and a hot glue gun. Glue the fabric into place on the cardboard, and then stretch the fabric as you glue. It’ll quickly become a favorite in the house!