Sensory experiences are an important part of toddler learning. Young children love opportunities to squish and squeeze to explore different textures. According to First 5 San Diego, sensory play also helps children develop motor skills, creative thinking and problem solving abilities, coordination, and concentration.
If you are looking for new ways to introduce sensory experiences to the children in your care, we are sharing a list of fun ideas below. Each of the ideas are easy to make at home, require minimal ingredients and use only non-toxic ingredients that are safe for young children to engage with.
Have you ever explored moon sand in your program? Moon sand is a unique texture, as it comes together to make shapes, but transforms back into a soft sand when crumbled. It is best when used in a big sensory tub, because it can get messy. Introduce moon sand in your classroom with tools such as measuring cups, spoons, cookie cutters, and drink cups. Food coloring can be added to the recipe to make the moon sand a color (as in the photo), or you can leave it its natural white color. This recipe is also gluten free, if any children in your program have allergies. Click here for the full recipe.
Did you know that the juice from a can of chickpeas is called Aquafaba? Or how about that it is a great ingredient to use for a taste-safe, toddler-friendly foam? By mixing aquafaba, cream of tartar, and food coloring, you will get to enjoy a fun, foamy sensory experience that toddlers will love to sink their fingers into! Click here for the full recipe.
Slime is currently a popular activity in early learning, and for good reason! Its gooey, squishy texture makes for a fun activity for young learners. With just corn starch, sugar-free gelatin, and water, you can make quick, simple slime that children will love! You might also try incorporating different flavors of jello for variety in colors and scents. Click here for the full instructions.
This fizzing cloud dough is a sensory play dough and science experiment in one. The recipe is similar to cloud dough, with a texture that is fluffy, dry, and does not stick to little hands. When vinegar is added to the dough, children will be able to watch a chemical reaction as the dough fizzes! The recipe is safe for toddlers who might attempt to put the mixture in their mouth (although the taste of vinegar would not be too appetizing). Click here for the recipe.
Do you have children in your classroom who are eager to put dirt or sand in their mouths? They might enjoy this taste-safe chocolate mud activity using two ingredients you likely have on-hand: chocolate frosting and flour! This mud activity can be made soft or crumbly. You can also add play flowers for a fun gardening pretend play activity. Click here for the recipe and instructions.