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


  • My son started daycare at 1 year of age, spending the first year of his life at home during the lockdown.  It wasn’t easy as many other kids, however, staffs at Dawes Road CEL were so helpful and caring he eventually got it easy within the first 3 weeks. The staff members were very supportive and kept me updated with his progress. Especially the himama app helped me be informed of all his activities throughout the day.

    I would like to convey my heartfelt gratitude to the staff and management of the center for taking care of my son.


  • The last two and a half years have been wonderful for Asharib. I still remember the 1st day when I dropped him at daycare and how scared we both were. But he had learned so much in the past 2 years & I am glad that I decided to send him to Lori Gardens. Special thanks to all of Asharib’s teachers for taking such good care of him teaching him manners and always trying to make his day fun & exciting. Thank you so much for everything!

  • 45 years of excellence is a great achievement. Congratulations! We will continue to support your growth. Together stronger!

    Kyle & Kendrick’s Family

  • Happy 45th Anniversary to the Dawes Road Center for Early Learning staff team.

    Adonias & Genet

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Centres for Early Learning operates 9 different locations across the GTA, offering subsidized and full fee spaces child care programs for children from infancy to school age. For 44 years, we have been providing high quality care to countless families, many of whom have returned to us with younger siblings, has been both successful and fulfilling. We hope to continue to enrich the lives of children with you!