When it comes to early learning, there is more to it than just ABCs and 123s. Research has shown that incorporating a variety of sensory activities into your child’s learning routine can help them develop essential skills for success in school and beyond. Tactile activities help children stimulate the senses and promote brain development. Through hands-on exploration, kids learn about cause and effect, develop problem-solving skills, and better understand the world around them. Whether it’s finger painting, playing with clay, or simply exploring the outdoors, sensory activities provide an important foundation for learning. Looking for some fun and engaging sensory activities for toddlers? Here are seven of our favorites:
Playdough sensory bins
Playdough is a great material for encouraging exploration and sensory play. When placed in a sensory bin, it provides a perfect opportunity for little ones to use their senses to explore their surroundings. They can feel the different textures of the playdough, smell the different scents, and even taste it if they want to. Through this type of play, children can learn about cause and effect as they discover what happens when they mix different colors or squish the dough in their hands.
All you have to do is fill a bin with colorful playdough and add some fun toys or objects for your child to explore. You can also add different textures, like pom poms or pipe cleaners, to create a more sensory-rich experience!
Sensory bags are a great way to engage your child’s senses while promoting calm and relaxation. These sensory-rich bags can be filled with a variety of materials, like feathers, glitter, sequins, or even sand. The possibilities are endless! Not only are they fun to make, but they provide endless hours of sensory play for your little one.
To make your own sensory bag, choose a material you would like to fill it with and place it in a zip-lock bag. Then, add in any additional objects you would like your child to explore. Once the bag is full, close it up and let your child have fun!
Sandbox sensory play
There’s something about playing in the sand that screams summertime fun! Not to mention, it’s a great way to encourage sensory play. Digging in the sand allows children to use their sense of touch as they explore the different textures. They can also use their sense of smell to take in the sweet scent of summertime. And, if you add in some shells or other beach toys, they can also use their sense of sight and sound to explore. If you don’t have a sandbox, no worries! You can easily create one using a plastic bin filled with sand. Just add in some shovels and pails and let your child’s imagination run wild!
Gardening is a great way to engage your child’s senses while teaching them about the natural world around them. They can use their sense of touch to feel the different textures of the soil, plants, and flowers. They can use their sense of sight to see the different colors and shapes. And they can use their sense of smell to take in the sweet fragrance of the flowers. Gardening is also a great way to teach kids about responsibility as they help water and care for the plants.
To get started, choose a spot in your yard or patio where you would like to plant some flowers. Then, let your child help dig holes for the plants and add some fresh soil. Finally, add in the plants and water them well. Be sure to teach your child how to care for the plants so they can watch them grow!
Water sensory play
Water sensory play can help encourage exploration and sensory play. It provides an opportunity for children to use their sense of touch to explore the different textures of the water. They can also use their sense of sight to see the different colors and shapes. And, if you add in some fun toys or objects, they can use their sense of sound to explore as well.
To get started, fill a sensory bin with water and add some fun toys or objects for your child to explore. You can also add different textures, like sand or rocks, to create a more sensory-rich experience!
Taste test challenge
Encourage your child to use their sense of taste with this fun and delicious challenge! Simply set out various foods, like fruits, vegetables, or even candy, and let your child try them all. They can sample the different flavors and textures and see what they like best. You can also turn this into a game and blindfold them to see if they can guess what they’re eating.
Finger Painting allows children to use their sense of touch to feel the different textures of the paint. They can also use their sense of sight to identify the different colors and shapes. Simply mix up fingerpaint using washable paint and water to get started. Then, let your child have fun painting on a piece of paper or even on themselves!
Play is an important part of any child’s education, and sensory activities are an essential part of play. The seven activities mentioned above are just a few of the many ways you can encourage sensory play for your toddlers and preschoolers. So get creative and make learning fun and engaging!
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