Sensory play supports language development, cognitive growth, fine and gross motor skills, problem solving skills, and social interaction. Describe what you are doing as you play with the different sensory activities e.g. “push”, “squeeze”, “pouring”, “scooping”, “finding”. Keep your comments short and then wait for your child’s response.
When exploring the different sensory activities, you can try and hide items or toys in them. Ask questions, such as, what do you see? What does it feel like? Affirm colours, shapes and textures.
Sensory bags are a fun way to get children’s hands moving and its great for tactile sensory input. You can be as creative as you want with the fillings, however, be mindful that the bags can split, and children like to explore with their mouths. You can get your child involved in the process of making the sensory bags. Give your child a choice of filling and encourage them to place the chosen filling into the bag. You don't want to use too much, or the bag will be overfilled.
What you need -
- a large tray or flat surface.
- Clear plastic zip lock lunch bags.
- Sticky tape
- Fillings – coloured gel and glitter, different coloured paints, coloured rice, pasta, pom poms.
- With the gel and paint fillings you can add different textured items such as buttons, googly eyes or even create a nature sensory bag and add some leaves.
How to make the sensory bags -
- Place filling into a zip lock bag.
- Seal the zip lock and use sticky tape to seal and strengthen the squishy bags.
- Place on a flat surface and enjoy!
Painting with ice cubes
What you need-
- 1 cup of water
- Red, yellow, green, and blue food colouring
- Short Popsicle sticks
- Ice cube tray
How to make the paint ice cubes-
- Pour your water into your ice cube tray evenly.
- Add just a tiny drop of food colouring into each cube.
- Place a short popsicle stick into each ice cube mould.
- Freeze for about 4 to 6 hours or overnight
- Pull on the sticks to remove from the tray
Get some car or paper and let your child get creative. You can put some newspaper down underneath your sensory area as the food colouring may stain surfaces.
You can explore the spaghetti in many different ways. You can use tongs to pick up the spaghetti or your hands. Pass handfuls from hand to hand and stir with a spoon. Let your child get creative. Exploring the spaghetti is great for your fine motor skills!
What do I need –
- Food colouring
- Large container
How to make rainbow spaghetti-
- Simply cook the spaghetti according to the packet instructions & place into a bowl.
- Add a few tablespoons of the oil (enough to coat)
- Add a few drops of food colouring and mix well.
- Let the spaghetti dry (an hour or so)
- Place into a large container and let the fun begin!
Rice play is a great way your child to playfully develop their fine-motor skills required for writing i.e. picking up tiny grains, passing handfuls from hand to hand. Children love exploring the rice texture and the sound it makes when dropping onto different objects.
You can place the rice onto a tray or in a container/bowl. You can add a variety of other objects to increase exploration and fun! You can add spoons, cups, funnels, or a Siv/drainer.
Make your own coloured rice for sensory play. This recipe makes one cup of colourful rice. Add more rice for more colours.
What do I need -
- 1 cup white or brown rice
- 1 teaspoon vinegar
- 1/8 + teaspoon food colouring
- Zip-up plastic bags or bowls and spoon for mixing the colours
How to make the coloured rice -
- Fill a zip-up bag with 1 cup of rice and 1 teaspoon of vinegar.
- Scoop or pour about 1/8 teaspoon food colouring into the bag.
- Zip the bag shut
- Squeeze the bag and mix the rice all around until the food colouring is well distributed
- Add more food colouring to reach the desired colour .Pour the coloured rice onto a cookie sheet. Spread it out to expedite drying time. To absorb the moisture and help the rice dry more quickly, line the tray with a paper towel or towel.
- The rice takes between 2 hours and a full day to dry, depending on your climate and humidity.
- Creative art - Make a flower
In the resource pack you will find:
1 Paper plate
1 Green stem
2 Pots of paints
1 stick of glue
Make your own bouquet of flowers by painting hands and pressing them down onto a paper plate.
The stems can be glued on afterwards.
Encourage your child to choose a colour out of a choice of two, create handprints on the paper plate or create marks on the paper plate using a paint brush. Let’s get creative!
- Make a sunny hand print picture with yellow painted hands.
- Draw a sunflower with paints, chalks, pencils or crayons.
- Some of you might be able to label parts of a sunflower.
- Make your own flower garden or have fun exploring soil.
- Paint/ decorate your own sunshine.
We hope you have lots of fun doing these activities.