10 Fabulous Sensory Play Ideas for 2-4 year old kids!
Have you ever noticed how quiet your child is and then you discover they managed to open and squeeze out your favourite moisturiser and smeared it all over themselves, the floor and anywhere else they were playing? Well your child is in need of some sensory play! Children as early as 1 will love sensory play (for 1 year olds ensure they are playing with edible sensory play – as they tend to put everything in their mouths!) We’ve teamed up with Eman from @Tala_and_mommy to bring you some of her best sensory play ideas. Ever since I started my homeschool journey I have followed Eman’s journey with her daughter Tala on Instagram. We absolutely love their sensory play ideas so I contacted her to share some of her fab ideas with all of you! Here’s Eman sharing her top 10 fave sensory play ideas below:
1. Play Dough
Whether homemade or bought, it’s kids’ favourite kind of sensory play. My recipe for making it is
- 2 cups of flour
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup salt
- 2 tablespoons cream of tartar/ or vinegar/ or lemon juice
- Up to 1.5 cups boiling add gradually
- food colouring / watercolour / paint (optional)
Kids can enjoy play dough with lots of loose parts, invitations to play, letter formation, and improving their fine motor skills.
Plain or coloured, it’s been my daughter’s favourite of all our sensory play ideas. You can set up a lot of activities using coloured rice as shown in the photos, for improving fine motor skills like scooping and pouring, alphabet/number, letter formation, cupcake invitation and even small world formation etc.
Ice is another favourite sensory play medium for kids. You can use it in alphabet recognition, ice cream making, cause and effect play, freshening up on a hot day or to freeze some nature finds. It all works! The best part is that it’s so simple to do! All you need is water, food colouring, moulds, and a freezer!
4. Cloud Dough
I usually make a 2 ingredient recipe of oil (1 part): flour (8 parts). For the colours you can add oil based food colouring or just dissolve the colour you wish in oil or you could simply mix it with the flour before adding the oil. Tala loves making cupcakes a lot so I created an invitation to play to make and sprinkle the cupcakes with cloud dough. It’s a win win situation for a simple birthday invitation to play! Cloud dough is great to scoop, transfer, and mould. It soft and simple and your children will love it!
I don’t what it is about bubbles, but kids love playing with them! We use our bubble bath wash and below we painted a rainbow on the bubbles. We created a scene so we can talk about colours., where the sky is blue and the clouds are white and how a rainbow forms! We also made a bubble blowing elephant. It was so much fun!
6. Cooked Spaghetti
Spaghetti is nice for early cutting skills, formation of letters or small world play. All you have to do is cook it regularly and then put it in a plastic bag, add a little bit oil, add a few drops of watercolour or food colouring and mix! Tala enjoys them in rainbow colours a lot.
In the Winter, kids will most likely enjoy playing with snow outside building snowmen or igloos. But you can enjoy snow inside too. Tala loved playing outside with the snow but because she felt too cold, we could not stay long enough outside. So I decided to bring the fun inside, where she can enjoy the snow and feel warm. So I made an ice cream invitation to play with real snow, which I coloured by spraying or pouring cold coloured water on it. And she enjoyed scooping and making different flavoured ice cream. And if you live in a country where there is no snow or it rarely snows, you can enjoy fake snow. Like the house scene I made for her. Fake snow can be bought or made with simple ingredient. A great fake snow recipe is, mix 2 1/2 cups of baking soda with 1/2 cup of white conditioner.
Sand can be used as it is for lots of sensory play. You can also add a little water and play with wet sand. Alternatively you can try my recipes below to use the sand to make sand dough, sand cloud dough or even kinetic sand.
- A sand cloud dough recipe that I have tried is I mixed 1 cup of sand with 1 cup of flour, and then I added 4 table spoons of baby oil or until you can feel it’s easy to mould.
- A kinetic sand recipe that I tried is 1 cup of extra fine sand (I used sand from the beach and you can buy fine sand for a better result) 1/2 cup of corn starch, 1 table spoon of dish soap. And ¼ cup of water. Colour is optional. Mix the ingredients together and let it dry out overnight.
- A sand play dough recipe that I tried is 1 cup beach sand, 1 cup flour, ¼ cup salt, 2 table spoons veg. oil/or baby oil, 2 tablespoons cream of tartar/or vinegar, or lemon juice and add hot water as you need.
You can enjoy these recipes to make a sand castle, or small world formation, adding lots and lots of loose parts like we did in my pictures below.
Making small world invitation to play with soil, as the farm invitation in the picture below or just planting some pretend or real fruit and veggies.
Ooblek (Non-Newtonian fluid) is a suspension made of corn flour (2 parts) and water (1 part). It has interesting physical properties, because it’s liquid and solid at the same time. Here I added some colour to the divided mixture and froze it using an ice cube tray. Then Tala enjoyed playing and painting with it.
This was a guest post written by Eman from @Tala_and_mommy . Eman is a Pharmacist by profession and is currently a Stay at Home Mom. She is mommy to 3 year old Tala. She loves sharing her arts and crafts, play ideas, kids activities and books over on her social media handles. You can check out Eman’s journey with Tala over on Instagram and Facebook! Head on over to her pages to show her some love and support for these great sensory ideas and recipes!
How cool are these ideas?!
Do your children love sensory play? What do they enjoy the most? Share with us in the comments below!