12 Fun Sensory Activities That Will Keep Your Kids Engaged

Play time that's good for you!

When kids engage multiple senses as they play, it helps them build cognitive skills. Exploring the world through hands-on play can improve their ability to discover, classify and sort objects. And sensory activities can also boost children’s fine motor, problem solving, language and social skills. They can even have a positive impact on a child’s lifelong learning aptitude.

The good news is that not only is sensory play especially enjoyable for kids, but such playtime can be super simple for parents, teachers and others to establish. Here are a dozen fun sensory activities that are easy to DIY:

1. Birthday Cake Cloud Dough

The soft feeling of this dough will delight your child’s sense of touch, but the scent of birthday cake and the colorful additions of sprinkles and candles make this an extra-sensory joy. All you need to make this is some flour, cooking oil and vanilla-scented lotion (along with sprinkles and candles, of course).

I Can Teach My Child

2. Cereal Bin

If you’re concerned about your tot taste-testing his playthings (that birthday cake dough might be tempting!), this activity may be ideal. A tub filled with Cheerios is fun for scooping, threading and sampling.

Hands On As We Grow

3. Mess-Free Finger Paint

Finger paint is a good old-fashioned sensory medium, but boy can it be messy. Avoid primary-colored fingerprints throughout the house with this project that safely seals the materials in a zip-top baggie.

Traveling Sheep

4. Rainbow Salt Tray

Sensory activities can help kids improve literacy skills. Writing letters, numbers or words with their fingers in a soft, smooth or gritty element makes practicing fun and engaging. Colored paper under a layer of salt is all you need for this simple yet effective project.

The Imagination Tree

5. Sensory Window Bag

Gooey, squishy water beads are a sensory staple, but they can become a choking hazard in tiny hands. This activity allows little ones to explore the vivid colors and interesting texture of the beads safely.

Parenting Chaos

6. Bubble Bags

You know that oil and water don’t mix, but this concept is new to your child. Make this colorful sensory bag that will occupy your wee one for hours with nothing more than baby oil, water and food coloring in a baggie.

Living Free

7. Shaving Cream Bath Paint

Making a mess can be good, clean, sensory fun when the activity takes place in the tub. Kids can coat the sides of the bathtub and themselves with this fluffy, foamy paint.

Having Fun at Home

8. Edible Finger Paint

That shaving cream paint might look like colored whipped cream, but it certainly doesn’t taste like it. For those littles who like to put everything in their mouths, you can make this paint using items from the pantry.


9. Sift And Find ABCs

A bin filled with cornmeal, some alphabet magnets and adorably small colanders is all you need to create this literacy-boosting sensory activity that will keep kids busy for hours.

Busy Toddler

10. Rain Stick Bottle

Don’t forget the auditory senses when looking for entertaining and educational activities for your kids. Rice falling between twigs in this sensory bottle creates the soothing sound of rain.

Rhythms of Play

11. Sand Foam

Combining textures is a wonderful way to encourage a child to look, touch and discover. This two-ingredient recipe creates a gritty, creamy, totally touchable mixture.

Little Bins for Little Hands

12. Bubble Foam

Even grownups find it hard to resist touching rich, frothy lather. This activity is so stress-free, it might amaze you. It’s only bubble bath and water, whipped into thick foam with a hand mixer. Drops of food coloring add another element of sensory fun.

Busy Toddler

Finding a sensory activity that is amusing, edifying and easy to make is surprisingly simple. Why not get down on the floor and join your child in some hands-on playtime today?

[h/t: Planning Playtime]