Resource Guide: Sensory Play

Sensory Play includes any activities that include your child’s senses: touch, smell, taste, sight, hearing and can also include movement & balance.

It encourages your child to use scientific processes while they play, create, investigate & explore.


Sensory Bottles

Create Sensory Bottles with water, oil & various objects to shake & observe.




  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup salt
  • 1 tbsp. cream of tartar
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 pkg JellO (optional for colour/smell)

Mix all the ingredients together on low over the stove. Stir frequently. Once the dough starts to gather together into a ball & does not stick to your fingers, then you can remove from the heat. Let cool for a minute & knead together. Store in an airtight container. Supply your child with cookie cutters, play scissors, rollers & assorted kitchen tools to allow them to create & learn


Scented Sensory Tray

This sensory experience can be created with sand, cornmeal, rice, or salt. You can even hid a picture or coloured paper underneath for a surprise.

For an additional element, add various scents to the bag such as citrus, vanilla, peppermint, lavender or a package of Jell O.

The trays can be used for practicing letters, words, your child’s name or drawing pictures with long strays or pencils


Hair Roller Sensory Basket

A bin or basket can be filled with an assortment of Velcro hair rollers This tactile experience is a sensory invitation for your child to build with, explore, sort, count & be creative


Two Ingredient Moon Sand


  • 8 cups flour
  • 1 cup baby oil

Measure into a large bowl & mix well.

Add this mixture to a shallow bin by using measuring spoons, measuring cups, straws, spoons, etc.  Your child can build, scoop & measure with this soft sand.


Shaving Cream

Provide your child with a tray, shaving cream & various drops of food colouring. Colour mixing is explored by combining the colours together. To further continue the play, blocks can be added to create towers & structures, using the shaving cream as “glue” or “mortar” or even use it to create art!


Sensory Painting

Pine boughs, twigs, pine cones & leaves are terrific sensory tools for painting. Provide your child with various items, washable paint & easel paper for them to be able to explore using their senses to create a masterpiece


Loose Parts Play

Set up a Loose Parts experience with assorted items (see below) for your child to sort or create with. This invitation for learning has endless opportunities for counting, fine motor
development & creative expression.

Ideas for Loose Parts Materials

  • Cotton balls
  • Pom poms
  • Buttons
  • Silk flowers
  • Dry pasta
  • Beans
  • Popsicle Sticks
  • Plastic Eggs
  • Pipe Cleaners

Mega Block Ice Painting

Using Mega Blocks, fill with water & a few drops of food colouring, then freeze. Once frozen, provide your child with paper & the cold coloured squares to paint with & explore as the ice melts onto their paper No Mega Blocks? Use an ice cube tray with popsicle sticks as handles


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