Toddlers love to explore their senses. Sensory exploration is excellent for building neural pathways in our brains and helping us learn more about the world around us. Most importantly, it can be a fun way for toddlers to play.
Here are a couple of my favorite sensory activities to play with kids under three.
- Homemade Playdough – There are probably a million great recipes online already, but I will try to make a post soon with my personal recipe from the science museum, as I have a secret way of doing it that makes it come out really smoothly. People usually think I’m crazy when I show them how to mix it, as it takes a bit more time to do it my way, but the result is worth all the effort!
- Sensory Hide and Seek – I think I’ll devote another blog post just to this topic, as it’s B Boy’s favorite game at the moment. Basically, I set my phone to play music through a portable Bluetooth speaker and then I ‘hide’ it somewhere in the kitchen. He’s almost 2, so I try to keep it relatively easy for him to find (somewhere he can reach easily, for example). He loves to play this game again and again.
- Rainbow Rice Sensory Bin – This was an activity that was as fun to prepare as it was to play with. I encourage you to let your kids help you prepare this! I divided 20 lbs of rice into several gallon bags and added a few tablespoons of different colored tempera paint to each bag. I sealed the bags and used my hands to coat the rice in the paint. When the rice was evenly coated, I spread it out on cookie sheets and left it to dry for a few hours. When it was dry, I broke up any clumps with my hands and mixed all the colors together in a large (but shallow) tupperware-style storage bin. I then added a few different little toys and tchothckes, so that kids can hunt for treasure. Pro tip: Always use a tablecloth or mat under the rice bin, so that you can collect any spill over and return it back to the bin when you’re done!