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“25 Sensory Play Ideas for Babies and Toddlers”

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25 Sensory Play Ideas for Babies and Toddlers

Sensory play is a crucial part of a child’s development and helps them learn about the world around them through their senses. Here are 25 sensory play ideas that are perfect for babies and toddlers:

1. Go on a texture hunt

Gather a variety of items with different textures, such as fur, sandpaper, and bubble wrap, and let your child explore and touch each one. This helps them learn about texture and introduces them to new sensations.

2. Play with water and ice

Fill a large container with water and let your child explore the different properties of the liquid. You can also freeze small toys or objects in an ice cube tray and let your child play with the ice as it melts. This helps them learn about temperature and the changes that occur when water freezes and melts.

3. Make homemade play dough

Homemade play dough is easy to make and provides a great sensory experience for your child. Plus, you can add different scents, such as vanilla or peppermint, to make it even more interesting. Your child can squish, squeeze, and roll the dough to strengthen their fine motor skills.

4. Go on a nature walk

Head outside and take a walk through a park or nature reserve. Encourage your child to touch, smell, and listen to the different sights and sounds around them. This helps them learn about the natural world and the senses they use to explore it.

5. Play with a sensory bin

Sensory bins are a great way to provide a rich sensory experience for your child. Simply fill a large container with a base material, such as rice, beans, or sand, and add a variety of objects for your child to touch and explore. Ideas for objects to include in the bin are pom poms, marbles, rubber balls, and plastic figurines.

6. Experiment with light and shadow

Shine a flashlight on a wall or ceiling and let your child observe the patterns and shapes that the light creates. You can also use different objects, such as a cardboard tube or a piece of lace, to create interesting shadows. This helps your child learn about light and shadow and how they interact.

7. Play with soft and fluffy materials

Gather a variety of soft and fluffy materials, such as feathers, cotton balls, and stuffed animals, and let your child touch and explore them. This helps them learn about different textures and softness.

8. Explore different smells

Gather a variety of objects with different smells, such as lemons, coffee beans, and vanilla extract, and let your child smell each one. This helps them learn about different smells and how they can be used to identify objects.

9. Play with finger paints

Finger paints are a fun and mess-free way to introduce your child to art. Simply mix a small amount of paint with equal parts water and let your child use their fingers to explore the different colors and textures. This helps them develop their fine motor skills and creativity.

10. Play with sand and water

A sand and water table is a great way to provide a rich sensory experience for your child. Fill the table with sand and water and add a variety of toys, such as plastic shovels and buckets, for your child to play with. This helps them learn about the properties of sand and water and how they interact.

11. Play with scents and spices

Gather a variety of scents and spices, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves, and let your child smell and touch them. You can also add a small amount of the spices to play dough or sensory bins for an extra sensory experience. This helps your child learn about different smells and how they can be used in cooking.

12. Play with bubble wrap

Bubble wrap is a fun and inexpensive way to provide a sensory experience for your child. Simply let them pop the bubbles and feel the different textures and sensations. You can also use the bubble wrap to make prints by painting over it and pressing it onto paper.

13. Play with a water and color mixing station

Fill a shallow container with water and add a few drops of food coloring. Encourage your child to mix the colors and observe the different shades they can create. This helps them learn about color mixing and the properties of water.

14. Play with different types of fabric

Gather a variety of fabrics, such as silk, cotton, and wool, and let your child touch and feel the different textures. You can also use the fabrics to create a tactile collage by attaching them to a piece of paper or cardboard.

15. Play with a homemade xylophone

Make your own xylophone by attaching different sizes of metal spoons to a cardboard tube with hot glue. Encourage your child to hit the spoons with a wooden spoon or drumstick and listen to the different sounds they make. This helps them learn about music and sound.

16. Play with a homemade musical instrument

There are many homemade musical instruments you can make with your child, such as shakers, maracas, and drums. Simply gather a few household items, such as empty containers, rice, and beans, and let your child create their own musical masterpiece. This helps them learn about music and the different sounds that can be made with everyday objects.

17. Play with a homemade lava lamp

Make your own lava lamp by filling a clear jar with water and adding a few drops of food coloring. Then, add a small amount of oil and watch
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as the food coloring droplets rise and fall through the oil. This helps your child learn about the properties of oil and water and how they interact.

18. Play with scented play dough

Add a few drops of essential oils to your homemade play dough for an extra sensory experience. You can use scents such as lavender, peppermint, or citrus to create a variety of smells for your child to explore. This helps them learn about different smells and how they can be used to create new sensory experiences.

19. Play with a homemade rainstick

Make your own rainstick by filling a cardboard tube with dry beans or rice and sealing one end with tape. Encourage your child to turn the rainstick upside down and listen to the soothing sound of the beans or rice falling through the tube. This helps them learn about sound and the different sounds that can be made with everyday objects.

20. Play with a homemade tambourine

Make your own tambourine by attaching small bells or jingle bells to a paper plate or cardboard circle with hot glue. Encourage your child to shake the tambourine and listen to the different sounds it makes. This helps them learn about music and the different sounds that can be made with everyday objects.

21. Play with a homemade drum

Make your own drum by attaching a drumhead, such as a stretched piece of fabric or plastic wrap, to a cardboard box or oatmeal container. Encourage your child to hit the drum with a wooden spoon or drumstick and listen to the different sounds it makes. This helps them learn about music and the different sounds that can be made with everyday objects.

22. Play with a homemade xyloband

Make your own xyloband, similar to the ones used at concerts, by attaching small bells or jingle bells to a headband with hot glue. Encourage your child to shake their head and listen to the different sounds the xyloband makes. This helps them learn about music and the different sounds that can be made with everyday objects.

23. Play with a homemade kazoo

Make your own kazoo by attaching a piece of wax paper or plastic wrap over one end of a cardboard tube. Encourage your child to hum into the other end of the tube and listen to the different sounds the kazoo makes. This helps them learn about music and the different sounds that can be made with everyday objects.

24. Play with a homemade guitar

Make your own guitar by attaching rubber bands or string over the top of a cardboard box or oatmeal container. Encourage your child to pluck the strings and listen to the different sounds the guitar makes. You can also add small bells or jingle bells to the strings for an extra sensory experience. This helps them learn about music and the different sounds that can be made with everyday objects.

25. Play with a homemade maracas

Make your own maracas by filling empty plastic containers with dry beans or rice and sealing the lids shut with hot glue. Encourage your child to shake the maracas and listen to the different sounds they make. This helps them learn about music and the different sounds that can be made with everyday objects.

Sensory play is an important part of a child’s development and there are countless ways to provide sensory experiences for your little one. These 25 sensory play ideas are just the beginning and with a little creativity and imagination, the possibilities are endless!

For more information on the benefits of sensory play, check out this article on sensory play.

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