Sensory activities are an important part of playtime for toddlers. They assist with fine and gross motor abilities, as well as hand-eye coordination development. Sensory activities can also be a great way to calm a toddler who is feeling overwhelmed or frustrated.
However, coming up with new concepts and making them more entertaining can be challenging. We’ve put together this list of 10 fun ways to make sensory playtime more enjoyable for both you and your little one!
Sensory Activities for Toddlers and Infants
Playing with food
- Give your child different kinds of foods to touch, feel, and squish, such as dry beans, jelly, whipped cream, uncooked rice, or pudding.
- Make homemade playdough using flour, water, and food colouring. You can also use marshmallow play dough as an alternative. Kneading dough is a fantastic method to improve fine motor abilities.
- Make edible paint using mashed fruits or vegetables mixed with a little water. Let your child use their fingers or paintbrushes to create masterpieces on a piece of paper or canvas.
Spark your toddler’s natural curiosity with this easy sensory activity. Let your toddler explore how different tubes different sound when they are shaken, tapped, or hit.
All you need are some toilet paper rolls, duct tape, and a few small objects to shake inside the tubes. But if you’re not fond of DIY, there are plenty of sensory sound tubes available for purchase online.
Bottle jars are a great sensory tool to soothe and calm a fussy toddler. The calming effect is created by the slow movement of the liquid inside the bottle.
To make your own calming bottles, you can fill the plastic bottle with water mixed with white glue and a bit of food dye, and glitter to make this sensory experience more fun.
Sensory Activities for Toddlers in Daycare
Swing, swing, swing
Sensory play activity isn’t all about keeping still, in fact, some of the best sensory activities involve movement.
Swinging is a great way to get your child’s vestibular system (the part of the brain that controls balance and movement) working. It’s also a great way to tire them out so they can focus better when it’s time to sit down and learn.
Make a garden
This activity for children is a great learning experience for them. Gardening helps develop their fine motor skills as they dig in dirt and plant seeds. It provides opportunities for children to explore their common senses as they feel the different textures of the soil, smell flowers, and discover different plants.
Not only is this a fun sensory activity, but it’s also a great way to teach your child about the life cycle of plants.
This is like a science experiment for your toddler, and they will be so excited to see the bread rise. This sensory activity engages your child’s sense of smell as they watch the bread bake in the oven. It also allows them to explore different textures as they squish and knead the dough.
Primary Colours Squishy Bag Experiment
Squishy bags are a great sensory activity for toddlers because they are easy to make and can be used over and over again.
This squishy bag experiment is a great way to engage your child’s sense of sight and touch as they explore different colours. And you will only need simple materials such as ziplock bags, food colouring, clear hair gel or hand soap, and a cup or bowl.
10 Ways to Make Playtime More Fun
1. Have a variety of games, toys, and activities available
Children easily get bored if you let them play the same game or activity over and over again. Make sure to have a variety of options available so they can mix things up and keep playtime interesting.
2. Create an area for playtime that is safe and encourages creativity
It could be a corner in your living room with some cushions, blankets, and pillows. Or you could set up a small table and chairs for them as a playhouse.
The most essential thing is that the play area is child-friendly and free of any dangers. It’s also crucial to build a space that encourages cooperation and sharing, as well as offering everything children need to be creative.
3. Talk about the rules before starting any game or activity
If you are about to do an activity that requires following rules (e.g., Simon Says, playing catch, etc.), take a minute to explain the rules to your child before starting. They’ll know what they must do and will be able to fully engage in the game.
Not only will this make playtime more fun for everyone involved, but it will also help avoid any frustration or arguments.
4. Find out your child’s favourites
Whether it’s favourite colours, shapes, animals or foods, pick games, activities, and toys that include those. This will cause them to be more enthusiastic about playing and their retention period will improve. By taking their interests into account, you can make playtime more enjoyable and interactive for your child.
5. Involve other family members when possible
This will make it more fun for everyone and create lasting memories. If you have younger siblings, cousins, or other children in the neighbourhood, include them in playtime as well. Not only will this be enjoyable for your child, but it will also teach them how to share and cooperate with others.
6. Don’t forget to take breaks from time to time – children need their rest too!
They may be full of energy but, just like adults, children need to take breaks from time to time. Let them have a snack or drink and sit down for a few minutes before resuming playtime. This way they can recharge their batteries and be ready to go again.
7. Take them on outings so they can explore the world around them
Don’t limit your sensory activities to only indoors. Go outside and explore the world around you. Take them for a stroll in the park, a walk into the woods, or a trip to a local farm. There are so many things for children to see and do outdoors that they will never get bored. And you may even discover something exciting yourself!
8. Encourage them to use their imagination
The sky’s the limit when it comes to using their imagination. Encourage them to pretend they are in different places or situations and use their toys to act out scenes from their made-up stories. This is a great way to get your child’s creative juices flowing and have some fun at the same time.
9. Be silly and have fun yourself!
Who says you can’t have fun while playing with your child?
Don’t be afraid to be silly, make funny faces and release your inner child. This will not only make playtime more enjoyable for your child but also create a lasting bond between the two of you. So, don’t be afraid to join in on the fun and show your child that playtime is meant to be enjoyed by all.
10. Keep an eye out for when they’re bored or frustrated – if you see these signs then it’s time to switch gears!
Watch out when they are bored with an activity or are struggling with it. These are signs that it’s time to try something different. There is no need to be embarrassed about admitting that an activity isn’t working and attempting a new approach.
The most important thing is that your child is happy and having fun. So, if you see that they are bored or frustrated, don’t hesitate to switch gears and try something else.
Possibilities are endless to make playtime more fun!
Sensory activities for toddlers don’t have to be complicated or expensive. With a little imagination, you can easily turn everyday activities into opportunities for learning and exploration. These activities are not only great for developing your child’s senses, but they’re also great bonding experiences for you and your child.
Here at Okinja Early Learning Centre, your child is our number one priority. We have a variety of sensory activities for toddlers that are both enjoyable and educational. If you’re looking for more ideas, please feel free to contact us at 07 5479 2222 or visit our website. We are more than happy to help you make playtime more enjoyable for your child!