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11 Sensory Activities For Kids Of All Ages

File under "oddly satisfying," these sensory activities do double-duty: Half science experiment, half stress-buster.

Margo Gothelf · 10 months ago

  • art

Sensory activities are a great way to build motor skills and dexterity—and they’re powerful stress relievers, too. These fun and therapeutic sensory activities can help kids (and adults) of all ages experiment, explore, and exorcize those cooped-up-all-winter crazies. 

1. Edible Ocean Sensory Play

Edible Ocean Sensory Play

Fantastic Fun and Learning

Bring the ocean into your home with this edible ocean sensory activity. Fill up a deep baking sheet with blue gelatin and Swedish fish. Next, it’s time to go fishing! Let little ones use their hands to “go fishing” and see how many fish they can catch. Challenge older kids by only letting them use tongs or tweezers. Count all the fish up at the end of the activity and see how many each person caught! 

2. Fluffy Cloud Dough

Fluffy Cloud Dough

Southern Plate

You’ll need just two ingredients to make this super fluffy cloud dough. Simply mix cornstarch and a scented conditioner of your choice. After some thorough kneading, the dough will be set and ready to be mushed and molded into shapes. If you want to keep the dough, make sure to store it in an airtight container so it doesn’t dry out.

3. Oil and Water Sensory Bags

Oil and Water Sensory Bags

Everyday Chaos and Calm

These oil and water sensory bags are pretty much mess-free, making them great for an activity on the go. The oil and water combo creates lots of bubbles that keep kids engaged for hours. This activity is also great for babies who are just learning to sit. Simply tape the bag on the wall and let the bubbles move around. Your little one will love watching the liquids dance inside the bag, all while they strengthen those core muscles. 

4. Oil and Water Sensory Bottles

Oil and Water Sensory Bottles

MyBaba

Mix oil and water in recycled bottles to create bright-colored sensory bottles for babies. The bright colors help to develop your child’s vision over time. The different liquids keep everything separate, making it easy to use multiple colors.

5. Ice Excavation

Ice Excavation

Sweet Lil You

Improve your child’s motor skills with this ice excavation activity. Before bedtime, freeze small plastic toys in different shaped vessels—such as plastic food containers, cups, even foil cupcake liners. The following day, give your kids tools such as spoons, toothbrushes, or popsicle sticks to help free the toys. You can even give your kids salt and warm water to speed up the process (and include a small science lesson along the way!). Get the full rundown over on Sweet Lil You’s blog

6. Magic Milk

Magic Milk

Babble Dabble Do

Want to see milk dance? Just add a little dish soap and food coloring and watch it groove! The dish soap reacts with the milk to create an abstract pattern. Head to Babble Dabble Do to find out all of the details and see how to recreate this fun sensory activity. 

7. Rainbow Rice

Rainbow Rice

Eating Richly

This rainbow rice sensory activity allows toddlers to practice their motor skills, explore new textures and gives them a visually stimulating experience. Dyeing the rice is pretty simple as well. Just add some food coloring to the rice, distribute it around a plastic bag, and let it bake for a few minutes on a sheet pan. Eating Richly has all of the details on her site.

8. Frozen Pom Poms

Frozen Pom Poms

Happy Toddler Playtime

Freezing pom poms is an easy sensory activity that will keep your toddler entertained for hours. Place a few pom poms in the freezer overnight in a plastic container. The next day, have your kids separate them using paintbrushes and warm water. You might want to save this one for the summer, as it can get a little messy for an indoor activity. If you keep it indoors, just make sure you have a towel nearby. 

9. Easter Egg Rescue Sensory Bin

Easter Egg Rescue Sensory Bin

Happy Toddler Playtime

Practice those fine motor skills with this “egg rescue” sensory bin. Have kids use a large spoon or ladle to see how many eggs they can rescue. The catch? The bin is covered with masking tape in random spots, making it tricky to secure the eggs in a spoon. See the full tutorial on Happy Toddler Playtime’s blog

10. Sensory Writing Tray

Sensory Writing Tray

Messy Little Monster

Messy Little Monster’s sensory writing tray will help your kids practice writing their letters and numbers. Fill a tray with rainbow rice and give your child a paintbrush to use as a pen. Then, use flashcards or shout out numbers and letters to see how many they can write in the rice. 

11. Rainbow Sensory Bags

Rainbow Sensory Bags

Raising Dragons

If you are looking to work on your kid’s motor skills and pattern recognition, then this rainbow sensory bag is the perfect activity for them. In this rainbow activity, kids are focused on moving colored titles around to match the colors on the rainbow drawing. Watch Raising Dragon’s video on YouTube for the full breakdown of the activity.