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Great Sensory Play Ideas to Keep Kids Busy

October 12, 2015|Posted in: Happy, Healthy, Smart Kids!

Sensory Play

My grandson G2 is one of those little guys with a BIG personality!  He is gregarious and has an enthusiasm and zest for life that is totally contagious and we have so much fun with him!  He enjoys things to the fullest and is a very happy little boy (except when he’s not and then he’s unhappy with just as much gusto)!!  G2 is so smart and full of energy that I have to get incredibly creative to keep him busy.  Here is a list, with super cute photos, of 13 sensory play activities that have kept him occupied for hours!

Sensory Play Ideas

 1.  Water Play – A bowl of water and some water toys make for a lot of fun.  We usually put a towel under the bowl to sop up splashes and drips.  Occasionally there is a tidal wave so I always make sure there are no important papers or such on the counter nearby.

Fun Sensory Play Ideas.

Sensoray Play Ideas

 

2.  Colored Water Play – For this activity I get different sizes of plastic containers and fill them about halfway full with water.  Then I add food coloring to make them all different colors.  G2 loves to pour and mix them and see what happens when he combines the colors.  A towel underneath is a must for this one too.

Colored Water Play

Colored Water Play

3.  Baking Soda, Food Coloring and Vinegar – The bubbling and fizzing reaction that occurs when you mix vinegar and baking soda can make for some exciting fun.  I cover a serving tray with foil to make cleanup easy.  Then I drop food coloring in random spots on the foil lined tray and cover them with baking soda.  Using a little cup of vinegar and a plastic spoon G2 gets the action going and loves to be surprised with the colors he finds and he has fun watching his experiment bubble and fizz as the they run together and make still more color variations.

Baking Soda, Food Coloring & Vinegar

Baking Soda, Food Coloring & Vinegar

4.  Mud Pies – Mud Pies, or Mud Soup as G2 has made in the photo here, are a traditional childhood activity.  All you need is play clothes, mixing bowls and spoons, mud, water and the great outdoors.  Leaves and sticks can make great ingredients or decorations too!

Mud Soup

Mud Soup

5.  Kinetic Sand – This stuff is amazing!  It feels moist and Clumps together so that it doesn’t make a mess all over the house.  If it spills you can pick up the clumps and all of the little particles cling together.  We put ours in a plastic bin with a lid and we added some small small sand toys and cars and motorcycles for a fun sand play experience.  This is a sensory play idea that is very popular with my grandkids!

Kinetic Sand

Kinetic Sand

6.  Painting  – G2 isn’t much for doing things on paper but he loved painting this birdhouse.  We used acrylic paint so we made sure he wore a paint shirt so his clothes wouldn’t be stained.  You could use washable finger paints if you’re not concerned about the durability of the paint job.

Painting

Painting

7.  Lincoln Logs – Lincoln Logs, Legos (this boy loves him some Legos!!), blocks of any kind, G2 loves to build!  Combine the blocks with toy vehicles, animals and people for a rip roaring good time!

Lincoln Logs

Lincoln Logs

8.  Snow and/or Ice – During the wintertime when it snows you can go outside and scoop some of the cold white stuff onto a tray,  If it’s not wintertime you can just pile a few ice cubes onto the tray.  Again add toy vehicles, animals and people, etc.  The kids love this sensory play activity!

Snow & Ice

Snow & Ice

9.  Planting Seeds & Gardening  – I love to garden and to my delight, G2 loves to garden with me.  This year he grew pumpkins and a giant sunflower!  From planting to weeding to harvesting, he loves it all!

Planting Seeds

Planting Seeds

10.  Catching Insects – Catching insects can be lots of fun!  Just provide jars or better yet, little plastic habitats you can buy at the store.  G2 likes to gather leaves to feed them and give them names and observe the things they do.

Catching Insects

Catching Insects

11.  Homemade Kool-Aid Play Dough – This play dough is awesome.  It sayed moist and pliable in the fridge for a few months!  At first I didn’t realize it required cooking and I was disappointed when I did, but after I made it and it turned out so great, I would do it again in a heartbeat!  You can find the recipe HERE.

Play Dough - Homemade

Play Dough – Homemade

12.  Goop aka Ooblek – This stuff is fascinating and will keep the kids busy for hours.  It seems to go from a solid to a liquid and back again right in your hands.  Be forewarned though it makes a huge mess!!  Have the kids wear paint shirts and be prepared to vacuum when they are finished playing!  You can find the recipe HERE.

Goop, aka Ooblek

Goop, aka Ooblek

13.  Frosting & Decorating Graham Crackers  – If there is anything G2 loves more than a messy, ooey gooey play activity, it is a messy, ooey gooey play activity that he can EAT!!  I use graham crackers (you can also use saltine crackers), store bought frosting and sprinkles so there is no baking involved and it’s a quick activity to set up!  G2 loves to sample the frosting as he decorates and he always saves a plate of his creations to share with his Mommy!

Frosting & Graham Cracke

Frosting & Graham Crackers

 

Here are some related products from Amazon that you might like.  Just click on the photo or the description to be redirected to Amazon where you can purchase the product.

Kinetic Sand – Beach Sand

Scientific Explorer Mind Blowing Science Kit

LINCOLN LOGS – Oak Creek Lodge – 137 Pieces – Ages 3+ Preschool Education Toy

Sand and Water Play Set

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32 Comments

  1. Johanny
    October 12, 2015

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    Love all of your choices for playtime. My daughter is 10, I’m pretty sure she would enjoy some of theses.

  2. Maggie
    October 12, 2015

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    Great ideas! Amazing how long baking soda and vinegar can keep a child entertained.

  3. Samantha
    October 12, 2015

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    Very cool ideas!! I use some of these in my teaching placements / kindergarten classroom!

    • LoriGraceH
      October 18, 2015

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      Thanks Samantha! Kids love this kind of thing!

  4. Shirri
    October 12, 2015

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    So fun! My 4 year old LOVES kinetic sand. I love it too because it will not stick to carpet! Haha! Great activites, I’ll have to try some with my son!

    • LoriGraceH
      October 18, 2015

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      I hope he enjoys them!

  5. DT
    October 12, 2015

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    Great ideas.. I think I was a sand kid 🙂
    — DT | Here I Scribble

  6. Ally
    October 12, 2015

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    These look like fun idea that my nephew would enjoy. I have played with kinetic sand before – it was fun for ME!

    • LoriGraceH
      October 18, 2015

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      Kinetic Sand really is a lot of fun!

  7. Stacey @ Stacey Homemaker
    October 12, 2015

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    I remember so many of these from when I was little! I loved kinetic sans, lincoln logs, and painting! I love that you’re teaching him to garden at such a young age! All children should be taught how to grow and feed themselves from the earth! I wish someone had shown me when I was little!

    • LoriGraceH
      October 18, 2015

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      I agree Stacy! He loves it too!

  8. tots2travel
    October 13, 2015

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    Love 2, 3 and 5. Will have to wait till my babes are slightly older 🙂

    • LoriGraceH
      October 18, 2015

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      Oh, you have so much fun ahead of you! Enjoy!!

  9. Emily, Our house now a home
    October 13, 2015

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    These are all great idras! My kids love painting or playing in water, I think they assume they are breaking the rules by playing with water in the house with their regular clothes on.

    • LoriGraceH
      October 18, 2015

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      I just put a towel under the bowl and push up his sleeves. There isn’t much mess at all (most of the time!)

  10. Bianca
    October 13, 2015

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    Cute ideas!! Thanks!

    • LoriGraceH
      October 18, 2015

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      You’re welcome Bianca!

  11. Natalie Slater
    October 13, 2015

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    These are AWESOME ideas. I am saving these for my busy boy. He is always needing something new to discover.

    • LoriGraceH
      October 18, 2015

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      I hope he enjoys them Natalie!

  12. Vi Dotter
    October 13, 2015

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    All great ideas and those pictures are priceless – definite winners here. Thanks for putting this together. So much fun with his Grandma!

    • LoriGraceH
      October 18, 2015

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      Thanks Vi! My little G2 and I have lots of fun together!!

  13. Kristy
    October 14, 2015

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    What a great list! I need some fun ideas like these as my grandson gets bigger. I like the kinetic sand idea and putting it in a storage box is so smart! Thanks for sharing.

    • LoriGraceH
      October 18, 2015

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      Thanks Kristy! I hope your grandson will enjoy it!

  14. Debbie Wilson
    October 27, 2015

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    My niece may be coming with her two small sons. These are great ideas. Thanks so much!

    • LoriGraceH
      October 30, 2015

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      I hope they have fun!

  15. Steph
    October 28, 2015

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    So many fun sensory ideas – we’ve done many of these, but I’ve never braved ooblek at home.

    • LoriGraceH
      October 30, 2015

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      Steph, ooblek really does make a terrible looking mess! But honestly it’s pretty easy to clean up with a damp cloth and maybe a vacuum.

  16. Catherine
    October 28, 2015

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    Great ideas. Now just to overcome the idea of more messes while they play, lol. They already love kinetic sand. I think we will try the baking soda, vinegar tray first. What a great rainy day activity for the near future. Thanks 🙂

    • LoriGraceH
      October 30, 2015

      Leave a Reply

      Catherine, the thing is it keeps their attention so that you can get other things done! Totally worth the little bit of time to clean up the mess!!

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