An introduction to sensory play

I heard a mum the other day say “my sister does sensory play with her children but I don’t bother because I don’t know what I am doing”.

I think this is a shame as it really doesn’t need to be that complicated.


To me, sensory play is any sort of play with a strong appeal one of the senses. If it appeals to more than one sense at a time, even better.

That’s it. It doesn’t need to be overly complicated or expensive.


Some ideas for sensory play include:

  • A bag of fabric off-cuts with different colours and textures
  • A bowl of noodles you have cooked, cooled and drained
  • Uncooked tri colour pasta
  • Colour changing bubble bath
  • Smelling herbs, spices or flowers
  • Playing with jelly
  • Playing with glow sticks in the bath with the lights off
  • Blowing bubbles with bubble mixture
  • Digging in sand or soil
  • Playing with ice cubes
  • Trying and touching new foods
  • Some time in the sensory room of your local play centre




Why as parents should we bother ?

Sensory exploration is a child’s way of examining, discovering, categorizing and making sense of the world. Sensory play can help develop fine motor skills and can be very calming for children.Β Spending time stimulating their senses helps children develop cognitively, linguistically, socially and emotionally, physically and creatively.


Do you engage in sensory play with your children? What sort of things have you tried?

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  1. That is a shame but i’m sure thats a common misconception. Good post to help πŸ™‚ Thanks for linking up #bigfatlinky

  2. Great post – and great ideas!
    We have a free sensory room at the library in town and it’s great!
    We also do planned and accidental sensory play (accidental being where Boo has raided my cupboards and spread food everywhere)

  3. I love doing sensory play with my toddler. There are some ideas in the list I haven’t tried yet though. Thanks for sharing. #twinklytuesdays x

  4. Some great ideas here. My speech delayed son loves bubbles and by using bubbles we encouraged him to Stert using the word ‘more’. I have also done spaghetti play with my kids but they do get a bit confused and eat it. I think I will try the different fabrics at some point though as they can’t eat that ;-). Another great one is cornflour but it does get a bit messy :-). Sensory play is great and my kids love it.


  5. I’ve never really done intentional sensory play with Elsa at home, but she has been going to Sensory classes once a week since she was 3 months old and we made use of the local children’s centres sensory room when she was a baby. I have started to do a few more bits now she is older though.

    I think it can be hard if you aren’t particularly creative or confident doing that sort of thing with your kids, which is why I have always preferred to pay for led sessions. I do plenty of other things with her so I don’t feel bad that I allow someone else to provide that.

    1. That’s great that you have easy access to things like that. Often those sessions seem to just be for babies, so if you have several children you are automaticlaly excluded which is a shame. Thanks for reading πŸ™‚

  6. There are some great ideas here! πŸ™‚ We’ve done some sensory play at home β€” pasta β€” wooden items β€” bubbles β€” sand β€” but the REALLY messy sensory play gets done at nursery!! They do all sorts of things, mud printing, blue coloured cornflour, LOTS of things that I’ve shied away from at home πŸ™‚ Best of both worlds, I think πŸ™‚ Thanks so much for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday

    Caro |

  7. Hi,
    Great post about the importance of sensory play. I haven’t done as much with my second son but I have been thinking about changing this and this post has just re-emphasised it so thank you x

  8. I think the thing that puts me off is the potential for mess and worry it’s going to take ages to set up – but actually never that bad and R does love it πŸ™‚ Great post, thanks for linking up to #Thelist

  9. Great post. I really wish that I did more of this when the boys were younger but I did the approach that you mentioned “I don’t know what I am doing so I wont do it” Now though I am much more open minded and would have given this a go. To the point that even though the boys are 6 and 4 we are doing it now. #bigfatlinky

  10. This is fab ideas and I am so crap at doing sensory with my kids and it’s so important for their learning I keep saying I will start with a few things here and there really need to keep my word. You have motivated me. Thank you so much for linking up to Share With Me #sharewithme

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