We just love sensory activities! Most active toddlers love to spend time doing this too. It is amazing how long your little one will be absorbed in these toddler activities (by toddler standards). It’s great fun for you and your toddler to be playing together.

What are Sensory Activities?

Well, other labels are messy play, sensory play or tactile activities. Basically it’s getting stuck into stuff that feels gooey, soft, rough, interesting, and…. well, generally making a mess but most importantly it’s enjoying learning about the world and it’s wonders”

Edible Play

If everything goes straight in your toddler’s mouth, it’s best to stick to the edible sensory activities. So cook and cool when appropriate.

Put them in a wide, shallow bowl or onto a tray and let your toddler squidge it about, fill containers with it, make swirls in it or whatever he thinks of doing with it.

Parenting tip for toddler: Do these sensory activities in a different place to where she normally eats or you could find her a little confused and starting to play with her food too! The best place is on the floor. Put newspaper under the bowl to make cleaning up easier.

Or you could try this sensory activities…

Parenting tip for toddler: The best way to clean gloop is to let it dry, then sweep it up with a stiff bristled brush (broom) and then wipe what’s left. It’s worth the effort though. 🙂 Let your toddler help with this and make it another activity.

Nil By Mouth

These sensory activities will need close supervision because it’s important that they are NOT eaten.

They start small and when soaked in water they ‘grow’ larger as they hold the water and then feel dry when the excess water is drained. They come in many colours and can be play with in water or dry. Perfect for toddlers to explore with plastic clear tubes from a hardware shop or pouring among other uses.

Simple Equipment

Of course a commercial sand and water tray table is ideal as it is the correct height for your toddler and the least messy. But don’t let the lack of one stop you from doing these activities. A cat litter tray is a really good buy (not the one your cat uses of course) or you can use a washing up bowl, turkey roasting tin or baby bath. The best container is shallow enough to play in with those short arms and deep enough not to spill contents everywhere. Placed on the floor she will be able to reach in better than if it was on a table.

Parenting tip for toddler: If you put newspaper under the container that they do the sensory activities, cleaning up is quicker and easier.

Older Toddlers and Children

This next sensory activity is for your older toddler. It is wonderful fun and older children will love it too.

Rainbow Jelly

You will need
– clear gelatin powder
– hot water
– spoon
– a high sided bowl and a shallow bowl
– syringes – you can use the ones you get to administer medicine to your children
– poster paint made to a pouring consistency. (You can use water colored with food colouring but the gelatin disintegrates faster and the colours aren’t so dramatic.)

Make up some clear gelatin using the instructions on the packet and put it to set in a bowl.
When set, turn out, upside down into a shallow bowl so it resembles a hill or mound.
Let your child push the colours into the mound using the syringe.
If you use two or more colours she can see them mix. For instance you can use blue and yellow and she can see that when they meet the colour changes to green.
When all the colour in the syringes are used up then she can just squidge it all together with her hands. Ooh, gooey!
As we mentioned, we love playing with sensory activities. Roll your sleeves up and have a play… you may love it as much as your child. Model different types of play and you’ll be teaching her a variety of ways they could experiment with whatever you’re playing with.

*Credit goes to Play At Home Mom for sharing and inspiring the ideas on this page which are marked. 🙂

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