Sensory activities are so fun for toddlers! We’ve tried them a couple of times in the past but our dear Dragon just tried to eat everything. We recently had a couple of days where the stars aligned and we had the perfect set-up for impromptu sensory activities without prior set-up or organization, without worrying about him eating the goods, and without too much mess – bonus! The first activity was sorting and rinsing black beans. Dragon likes to help with anything that involves being at the counter. He helped with sorting, then putting the black beans into the bowl a handful at a time.
After I filled the bowl with water he enjoyed grabbing handfuls of beans and letting them fall back into the water. He proceeded to dump handfuls of them on the plate and counter and back into the water over and over and over again. Thankfully at 21mos he was able to help pick up all the beans that were a bit spread out at the end. He had so much fun experimenting with beans and water!
The next day he showed interest in exploring the spices that we keep on a Lazy Susan on our table. So while I was making dinner, I brought him up to the counter again and let him choose some spices. He could smell them in the bottle, then we would put a little on a plate to touch or taste.
He did decide to do some further experimenting with “rice” (table salt). He found it really fun to watch it pour out. That was a little bit of a chore to clean up, but well worth the learning experience.
What worked: Sharing tasks and tastes with my son was a lot of fun. He really enjoyed the change of pace.
What I would do differently: Next time I would put more dish towels down. They make clean up a breeze and you never know what is going to land where.
Helpful links, books, and websites
Articles on what sensory play is and why it is important:
PBS Kids Developing and Cultivating Skills Through Sensory Play
About.com Sensory Play
Teach Preschool Blog Everyday sensory play in preschool
Ideas for Sensory Play:
Creative Playhouse Blog ABCs of Sensory Play
Our Worldwide Classroom Blog More Sensory Tub Ideas
Teacher Tom Sensory tub blog posts
Creative Connections for Kids Why is Sensory Play So Important?
Play at Home Mom LLC Infant Sensory Play – Touch