Sensory play is an incredibly important part of everyday play for kids.
It helps them learn both gross and fine motor skills.
Plus, when combined with other little things, like hiding numbers or dinosaurs in a bottle or bin, you can begin to incorporate education into the play as well.
Sensory bins, bottles, and more can help a child to calm down, especially children living with sensory processing disorder or anxiety.
This goes for teens as well, as the aspect of them using their senses is a way to ground them in the moment.
There are plenty of ways to play outside and find other sensory items in the great outdoors.
But, when the rain and the wind come to stay, it can be hard to get outside and play.
Luckily, there are a ton of different kinds of sensory play ideas. We'll explore a little more below.
Some children with sensory processing disorder might have a strong reaction to the way play-dough is scented.
If that is the case, there are so many wonderful online recipes for homemade, and even edible play-dough.
Using play-dough, your children will learn to strengthen their fine motor skills.
Plus, it can also open up their imagination to all kinds of fun ideas.
They can pretend with it, they can roll it around, squish it in their hands, mush it, and more.
Even when they use cookie cutters to make designs in the play-dough, that is helping them to learn about different shapes.
You could even mix it up with some little figurines for them to find in the dough.
Shaving cream is one of the most versatile items when it comes to sensory play.
It has a fun texture to it, and the kids are all about it.
You can use shaving cream in a variety of different ways.
You could place some on a plate or platter for them and have them practice writing out their letters or numbers with their fingers.
Another thing that you can do is to put the shaving cream, along with some fun little toy treats for the kids to find.
They will love it, because it is like a treasure hunt to them, they never know what they are going to find.
You can even add food coloring to make it a more vibrant and exciting play session.
If you have younger children, and aren't comfortable with them playing with shaving cream, a great alternative, that is non-toxic and food-friendly is Aquafaba - the stiff cream whipped using chickpea juice..
Finger painting can be one of the first activities that you do with your little ones.
It equips them with the tools they need to let all that baby creativity out!
Using their fingers give them a fun experience while also helping them with their motor skills.
With this activity, you can also engage with your child, as well.
You can ask them what colors they are using, what colors they are mixing, what they are painting and more.
Plus, at the end of it all, you have a beautiful masterpiece from your child that you can proudly display on your refrigerator.
While you can use regular finger-paints that can be purchased at the store, if it is your child's first finger painting experience, you may want to go with homemade edible finger-paints, just in case those paint-colored fingers find their way to the mouth.
Through the whole experience, your child will learn its okay to get messy sometimes, how to use their hands and fingers to paint and even helps the body and brain work together to integrate information together.
With sensory bottles, the options are limitless!
All you need is a plastic bottle that seals shut (you may have to glue it), and some water, glitter, and fun little animals.
Its so easy to make, that even the kids can get a say on what goes into the sensory bottle - it is going to be theirs after all.
You can also put some baby oil in it, to create the effect of a lava lamp, where the oil and water separates and creates this fun motion-activated play that your kids will adore.
They are a blast to create, and you might find yourself making a ton of different kinds of sensory bottles for your children.
They are incredibly great at helping children to calm down.
If they misbehave, instead of a time-out you can ask them to sit quietly, with their sensory bottle, watching it.
Once they have calmed down, then they can talk to you about what they may have done.
You can find a great tutorial for creating a sensory bottle here.
Sensory bins are a little bit different from bottles, but are equally as fun to play in.
These bins are fun little tactile ways that children can play within an enclosed area like a plastic bin.
You can truly fill them with whatever you want, from sand, to spaghetti, crushed Oreos with dinosaurs, water beads with fun little fish toys in it, the sky is the limit when you make a sensory bin for your child.
You can even give the bins themes, too.
A shape-sorting bin is fun for learning more about shapes, perhaps fill one with magnetic numbers, and you can help to teach them about numbers.
Alphabet sensory bins are popular, too.
You can use rice, shaving cream, water beads as we stated, sand, moon dough and so much more.
The kids will enjoy getting messy and learning with a sensory bin!
No matter what activity that you choose, they are all beneficial to your child, and even your teenager, as many of these sensory play ideas can be calming and relaxing.
We could all use a little bit more of that.
Sensory play is a fun and exciting way to help teach your children different ideas and lessons while learning how to help regulate their emotions, too.
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