Sensory play has been reported to help children’s brains develop. Sensory stimulation promotes and advances linguistic development, motor skills, coordination, problem solving, and general cognitive growth.
Sensory play encourages children to use all their senses while they play.
It is all about learning, exploration, and experimentation.
There are lots of products and paid experiences out there aimed at allowing children to engage in sensory play. Some can be reasonably priced, some can be very expensive.
But you don’t need to spend lots of money for your children to be able to have valuable and worthwhile sensory experiences.
There are lots of things that you can do from home, either with things you already have laying about the house, or things that are very cheap to buy in your weekly grocery shop.
Here are our top three at-home sensory activities for toddlers, give them a go and let us know what you think!
1. DIY Playdough
We all know Playdough. It’s been around for decades.
A great way to make it even more fun and to make it toddler-safe (boy do they love putting their hands in their mouths) is to make your own DIY Playdough.
Here’s a very simple recipe.
All you need is: plain flour, table salt, warm water, food colouring, and vegetable oil.
First, mix 8 tbsp of the flour with 2 tbsp of salt in a large bowl. In a different bowl mix together 60 ml of warm water and a couple of drops of whatever colour of food colouring you have gone for.
Then, combine the two mixtures.
Turn the dough out onto a dusted surface and knead the mixture for a couple of minutes. You are aiming for a soft, smooth, pliable texture.
You can keep your DIY playdough in the fridge to keep it fresh, and it’s ready for playtime. It stimulates sight and tactile senses, and it’s 100% safe for toddlers who put everything into their mouths.
2. Digging Trays
A fun and cheap way to stimulate the tactile senses in toddlers is to make little digging trays for them to hunt through and find objects with their hands.
You can use sand, packaging peanuts, or shredded paper, and then whatever you bury is totally up to you.
It could be toys, balls, packaged treats, or anything that your toddler will like to pull out.
This exercise is great for their senses and it also stimulates their problem-solving skills. It might make a bit of a mess, but it’s well worth it.
You can do it outside or on top of a plastic sheet if you really don’t want to make a mess, though.
3. Food Squishing
No doubt your toddler does this already, but you just don’t call it sensory play.
If your toddler likes to play with their food, it is a great idea to let them do it in a controlled environment.
Try making pasta, vegetables and other food items and letting them cool.
Then give them to your toddler not as a meal, but as something to touch and explore.
There’s no pressure to eat, and they can do whatever they want with the food.
This activity works with multiple senses: sight, smell and touch.
And everything is safe to go in their mouths when it inevitably does.
What sensory activities do you use with your children?
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