Play & Learn
Sensory Activity 101: Why your kids need them and 6 sample activities.
A common trouble for parents is making sure their kids’ brains are stimulated enough. Either to tire them out, or make sure they develop into well rounded individuals. One of the best ways to do this is giving them sensory activities to do.
Sensory activities for kids are hands-on experiences that stimulate the five senses: sight, touch, smell, taste, and hearing. These activities can help children develop their sensory processing skills and improve their focus, coordination, and overall well-being.
They are important because they help with a number of things such as the following.
Brain Development: Sensory activities help to stimulate the brain and support its development. By exposing kids to a variety of sensory experiences, they can build new neural connections, improve their cognitive function, and enhance their ability to process and respond to sensory information.
Emotional Regulation: Sensory activities can help children regulate their emotions and manage stress. By engaging with different sensory inputs, kids can learn to calm themselves and feel more balanced and centered.
Motor Skills Development: Many sensory activities also help to develop fine and gross motor skills. For example, activities that involve manipulating small objects or using tools can improve hand-eye coordination, dexterity, and fine motor skills.
Language Development: Sensory activities can also support language development by providing opportunities for children to describe and label sensory experiences. This can improve their vocabulary, communication skills, and overall understanding of the world around them.
Social Development: Sensory activities can also provide opportunities for social interaction and collaboration. When kids participate in sensory activities together, they can practice sharing, taking turns, and working together towards a common goal.
Here are examples of sensory activities for your little kids.
Sensory bottles: These are also known as "calming jars" or "discovery bottles,". It’s a simple and easy way to provide children with a visually stimulating and calming activity. It helps to develop their fine motor skills, observation and concentration. You can also make variations of the bottles like oil and water, paint and water, and many more.
Here's how to make one: Gather materials: You will need a clear plastic bottle with a tight-fitting lid (such as a water bottle or baby food jar), water, and various items to add to the bottle, such as food coloring, glitter, small toys, or beads.
Fill the bottle with water: You can use tap water or distilled water, depending on what you have available.
Add items to the bottle: This is where you can get creative and add different items to the bottle to create a visually interesting and unique sensory experience. You can add food coloring to create a colorful bottle, glitter for a sparkly effect, small toys or beads for your child to observe and explore.
Seal the bottle: Make sure the lid is tight and secure.
Shake and play: Shake the bottle to mix the contents and watch the movement of the items inside.
Supervise your child while playing with the sensory bottle.
These are a great way to provide children with a tactile and sensory experience. These blocks come in different shapes, sizes, and textures, which can help children to develop their sense of touch and explore different materials. Here are a few ways to make textured blocks for kids:
Wooden blocks: You can purchase wooden blocks or make your own by cutting blocks from a piece of wood. Sand the edges and apply a non-toxic sealant to the blocks. Once dry, use a variety of materials to add textures to the blocks, such as sandpaper, paint, fabric, or yarn.
Foam blocks: Purchase foam blocks or cut your own from a piece of foam. Use a variety of materials to add textures to the blocks, such as sandpaper, paint, fabric, or yarn.
Textured block sets: You can also purchase textured block sets that come with blocks in different shapes and sizes, each with a unique texture such as bumpy, smooth, or ridged. Textured blocks are a great way to provide children with a tactile and sensory experience and help to develop their sense of touch and fine motor skills. They are also a great way to encourage children to explore and experiment with different materials.
Sand and water play
This is a great way to provide children with a hands-on and sensory experience. It allows children to explore different textures and materials, develop their fine motor skills, and use their imagination. Here are a few ways to set up sand and water play for kids:
Sand table: Purchase or build a sand table and fill it with sand. Provide children with different tools such as shovels, and rakes to play with.
Water table: Purchase or build a water table and fill it with water. Provide children with different tools such as cups, colanders, and measuring spoons to play with.
Combination sand and water table: Purchase or build a combination sand and water table that has both a sand and water area. Provide children with different tools and materials to play with such as spoons and sticks.
These are a great way to provide children with a hands-on and tactile experience. They are easy to set up and can be filled with a variety of materials to create different sensory experiences. Just make sure the materials used in the bin are safe for children and non-toxic.
This is a great way to provide children with a fun and creative activity that allows them to explore different textures. It is a simple and easy activity that can be set up with just a few materials. Finger painting can also be a great tool to teach children about different colors and how to mix them to make new colors. Here are a few ways to set up finger painting for kids:
Gather materials: You will need non-toxic finger paints, paper, and a surface to paint on such as a table or easel.
Set up the painting area: Cover the surface with newspaper or a plastic tablecloth to protect it from paint.
Give each child a piece of paper and a small amount of paint on a paper plate or in a shallow container.
Encourage children to use their fingers to explore the paint and create different designs on their paper.
Clean up: Make sure to clean up the area and wash children's hands when they are finished painting. You can even employ their help to teach a little bit of responsibility.
This is a great way to provide children with a hands-on and interactive way to explore their environment. It allows children to use their senses to observe, explore, and discover the world around them. Here are a few ways to set up a sensory walk for kids:
Identify a location: Choose a location for the walk that has a variety of things for children to see, hear, touch, and smell such as a park, nature trail or garden.
Prepare for the walk: Dress children in appropriate clothing and footwear and bring along any necessary items such as sunscreen, water, and snacks.
Encourage children to observe and explore: Encourage children to use their senses to observe and explore the environment around them. Point out different textures, shapes, colors, and sounds they encounter.
Engage children in conversation: Ask questions and encourage children to share what they are observing and experiencing.
Collect natural items: Allow children to pick up natural items such as leaves, rocks or flowers, and to add them to a collection bag or basket. Just make sure the place you choose allows you to take them home.
Learned anything new today? Let us know if you did your own sensory activity too with your kids.