Engaging in sensory play has so many benefits for your little one. These easy at-home activities are sure to spark their curiosity and are a great way to have fun together.
Children love to explore their world through touch, taste, sight, smell, and sound–and it’s good for their brain development. These types of sensory play help them build nerve connections in the brain and encourage the development of language and motor skills. Sensory play enables children to learn through exploration, curiosity, problem solving, and creativity, and it helps your child develop their ability to focus and block out distractions. Playing together is also a great way to build positive emotional bonds with your little one and increase your child’s trust in you. Not to mention, it’s an incredibly fun experience for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers.
These easy-to-set-up indoor activities engage multiple senses while encouraging your child to explore body movement and perception.
Activity 1: Make your own playdough.
Engage your child’s love of touch, smell, and sight with this family-pleasing homemade playdough recipe. You can even have your older toddler or preschooler help you make the playdough.
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup salt
4 teaspoons cream of tartar
2 cups lukewarm water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil or coconut oil
Food coloring, optional
Quart-sized sealable baggies
Stir the flour, salt, and cream of tartar in a large pot. Then, add the water and oil. Once the mixture is combined, add food coloring if desired. Cook the playdough mixture over medium heat, stirring regularly until the dough has thickened and begins to form into a ball. Remove the pot from the heat, and smooth the mixture onto wax paper. Be careful with your little one: The mixture will be hot. Allow it to cool slightly, and then knead it until smooth.
Once the mixture has cooled, it’s time to play! Encourage your child to explore how the playdough feels in their hands, and ask questions about what it smells like. See what shapes and figures they can create.
Activity 2: Create a sticky spiderweb.
Your toddler or preschooler will love using their sense of touch while challenging their perception in this sticky spiderweb challenge.
Painter’s tape or packing tape
Cotton balls or small paper wads
Find a doorframe or closet in your home. Attach a length of tape in an X across the doorframe, then another piece of tape horizontally across the middle of the X. Connect pieces of tape around the X to create your own spiderweb design. Get your toddler or preschooler involved in designing the spiderweb–they’ll enjoy having some control over the activity, and it will spark their creativity.
Once you’ve set up the spiderweb, it’s time to play. Have your child throw cotton balls or small wads of paper at the spiderweb and try to get them to stick to the tape. Increase the challenge by having them step back further from the spiderweb or throw while standing on one leg. The options are endless.