Gift Guide Toys for Sensory Play

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We had so much fun putting together our recent Gift Guide Toys to Improve Pencil Grasp, that we decided to put together this gift guide for Toys to Inspire Sensory Play.  If you follow our blog posts, you know that we LOVE messy, sensory, textural play.  

There are so many benefits to sensory play for young children.  They can explore textures, colors, scents while manipulating with their hands, expanding language skills, developing self-confidence, and so much more.  And while they are playing, they are exploring, exploring, investigating, and creating!  

This gift guide provides ideas to incorporate sensory play into daily play.  We wanted to provide a list of gift ideas so that sensory play can be done easily once you have all of the needed items.  What better time to stock the activity bin/closet/box than during the holidays?  

Maybe a relative is asking for gift ideas and there is something you would LOVE your kids to play with for sensory experiences.  Direct them to this gift guide for ideas to encourage sensory play!

{Note: This post contains affiliate links.  In other words, this blog will receive monetary compensation when any purchases are made through the links in this post.  Our opinions and ideas are in no way affected.  As always, we thank you for your support and community here at Sugar Aunts.}

Gift Guide: Toys to Inspire Sensory Play. By Sugar Aunts

Toys for Sensory Play

Water Tables In Sensory Play:
Water tables are great for sensory play.  Despite it’s name, water tables are not JUST for water!  There are so many possibilities for messy play with a water table.  Goop, moon dough, birdseed,  shaving cream…the possibilities for sensory and textural play are endless! A water table is not just for outdoor play during the summer months.  We love bringing our sand and water table indoors during the cooler months and playing with bigger items like seashells, animal figures in play dough, mixing flour and a bit of water.  We love this Step2 WaterWheel Activity Play Table
for its large basin, the added water wheel (How fun to pour sand and watch it fall!), and the low cost.  So many senses can be addressed with water table play.  We explored the textures of fall with a
Fall Themed Water Table.  Since we’ve added our water table to our play, we’ve had so much sensory play fun!

Color Changing Tablets for Sensory Play:
The sense of sight is such an immediate one!  A sensory experience can be set up for the kids and as soon as they see a bright green bin of water with scoops or foam pieces, they are excited for play!  These Color My Bath Color Changing Bath Tablets
are great for setting the stage for multi-sensory play.  We’ve used them in our
Swamp Water Bin Sensory Play activity.  Watching the colors fiz and mix is such a fun experience!

Throw these tablets into the bath tub along with a few unexpected items (Paint Brushes, fun eye droppers like these Learning Resources Twisty Droppers , or a Funnel Set) and you’ve got a great sensory play environment!

Light Panel in Sensory Play:
This Portable Light Panel
from ConstructivePlaythings is great for visual sensory exploration.  Tracing and tactile manipulation can enhance math, handwriting, spatial relationships, and more through sensory play.

You could add a few Light Table Pattern Blocks
or even magnetic
Imaginarium Letters & Numbers
like we did in our
Light Box post.  Explore the shapes and textures of leaves, petals, and so much more with a light table!

Manipulatives In Sensory Play:
Sensory play is such a fun way to play and learn any topic.  Exploring textures with sensory input can really instill learning. So what can you put in the sensory bin, or water bin, or in the shaving cream on a tray?  The possibilities are endless!

Try a jungle theme and add Jungle Animal Counters.  Maybe your child LOVES dinosaurs and would go crazy to play with Mini Dinosaurs
in a tub of birdseed.  Any theme or subject can be added to sensory play. 

Textural play:
Our kids LOVE to get messy!  Not all kids do and may need gradual experience to build up their tolerance to touch and manipulate different textures.  Some of our favorite messy play materials are:

Moon Sand (such a cool texture…but be warned, Moon Dough is VERY messy!)

Educational Insights Playfoam (such a neat textural experience!)

Aqua Sand Polar Playground
is another super messy but very cool play experience.  The wet sand dries immediately, how fun!

Glow in The Dark Slime
is slimy, messy, and glow in the dark.  Add a few

and you’ve got a super sensory texture.
The slime and the marbles would make fun stocking stuffers!

Scented Play:
Remember these Mr. Sketch Scented Markers
from grade school?  I can still remember that blueberry scent!  What a great way to explore the sense of smell while playing and creating art.  Have the kids draw with the markers and then spray the art work with a water bottle to see the colors run.  This would be a great sensory and process art project for kids of all ages!

This Scented Balls Set
sounds so neat!  We’ve never played with these before, but they each come in a different scent and would make an awesome stocking stuffer!

Water Beads in Sensory Play:
There is nothing more fun than this sensory play item!  Water Beads
are typically used as a vase filler because once soaked in water, they expand and become a super sensory, fun, fine motor medium.  We’ve used them in 
sensory bins of all kinds.  This set from Bundle Monster is great deal and comes in so many fun colors.  (Note: always be sure to supervise children when playing with water beads!)

Great stocking stuffers for sensory play:

More Ideas for sensory play:
shaving cream
food coloring
field corn
split peas
dry beans
colored rice
colored sand
cotton balls

So, if you are looking for a few ideas to add some sensory fun to your gift giving this holiday…or have family and friends asking for gift ideas…maybe one of these sensory play toys will be just right for your little one!  This list is by no means exclusive.  There are limitless ways to encourage sensory exploration into play.  We just wanted to provide a few ideas.  Happy playing!

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