Sensory Play


So, what exactly is sensory?

Remember learning about the senses in school? Did you know we actually have 8 sensory systems? There is so much to understand about sensory processing, and how kids can respond to sensory input in each of these sensory areas. Explore these blog posts for information on sensory-friendly classrooms, sensory diets, and how to address hypersensitivity, hyposensitivity, under-responsiveness, and sensory meltdowns. Here, you’ll find sensory play ideas to meet every need. Let’s nail down sensory processing so you can have the tools you need for thriving kids and families!

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What do all these words mean?

There’s no doubt that sensory play is a huge source of play-based learning and development in kids. Sensory activities support sensory processing and integration of sensory systems, but also the tactile, visual, and movement challenges impact development in all areas. Here, you’ll discover various play activities for kids of all ages. Use these ideas in occupational therapy interventions, in multisensory learning, and in the classroom.

Sensory Play

Stop by and check out all of these sensory ideas.  Don’t see a link for what you are looking for?  This page is being updated (sleep calls!).  Don’t worry though–Pop a description of the image below into the search bar on the sidebar and you will find the sensory-based play ideas linked there.

I am a big advocate for sensory play with kids.  There is so much learning that takes place during sensory experiences.  Exploring textures, manipulating items, scents…the list can go on and on!  When a child explores the world through their senses, they develop fine motor skills, gross motor skills, language abilities, self-confidence, and so much more. 

While play definitely is based on the body’s senses, there are also the vestibular and proprioception senses that provide input to a child.  Any experience involves the body’s ability to take in sensory input, process it, and provide appropriate responses.  During all of this learning is happening!  

This page is a place where we’ll share all of our sensory-friendly play and learning activities in one place.  We have many more old posts to add and SO many new ideas to share with you.  Stop back often so you can see what we’ve been up to. 

So many of these ideas you will find on this page are perfect for using in sensory diets and sensory challenges to address sensory processing needs. Read more about how to create a sensory diet.

One of our most popular resources is our printable sensory paths. Check out these sensory stations as a sensory play material that kids love:

  1. Summer Sensory Stations
  2. Fall Sensory Stations
  3. Winter Sensory Stations
  4. Spring Sensory Stations
Sensory activities for kids
Have fun playing and exploring the senses!
sensory play ideas for kids

Sensory Play All Day

For a better understanding of how to incorporate sensory experiences into a scheduled plan for individual children, read more about what a sensory diet is and how to address common concerns.

Carryover of sensory strategies is extremely important in both the home and in the classroom. If activities are not able to be carried out, then a different sensory strategy should be incorporated into the child’s sensory diet.

When using The Sensory Lifestyle Handbook to create and monitor sensory diets, users will find the Daily Sensory Diet Sheet and the Sensory Diet Schedule to be effective tools for carryover and monitoring strategies.

Use the Sensory Diet Effectiveness Tool, found in the Addendum of this book, to monitor sensory diet results and strategies. This form should be completed after a sensory diet has been in effect for two weeks.

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 Oobleck in the Marble Run  Alphabet Discovery Bottle
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Sensory play ideas for kids to inspire learning and sensory processing experiences

Sensory Systems Ideas

Try the activities based on the various sensory systems listed below. Each activity is listed out by sensory system.  Try more than one!  You can address a different sensory system each day with this list!

Tactile Play Ideas


Sensory Paint Play

Valentine’s Day Goop Painting

Valentine’s Day Sensory Bin

Outdoor Dandelion Messy Water Play

Water Bin Play Series

Relaxing Lavender Water Bin

10+ Water Bin Ideas for Learning

Snowy Farm Sensory Bin

Fine Motor Sensory Water Bin

Calming Waterbead Water Bin

Color Matching Water Bin with Letters

Textured Paint Sensory Play

Blue Sensory Toddler Tray

Red, White, and Blue Goopy Dough

Purple Water bead Sensory Bin

Sensory Handwriting Practice

Make Your Own Colored Sand to use in sensory play

Spring Sensory Seek and Find

Pool Noodle Water Bin

I Spy Sight Word Sensory Bottle

Halloween Sensory Bin

Halloween Sensory Table

Egg Carton Pumpkins Fall Sensory Bins

Learning Through Play with 60+ Sensory Bins

Snowy Farm Sensory Bin

Relaxing Lavender Water Bin

Multi-Age Letter Learning Bin

3 Rainbow Sensory Bins

Letter Bin

Honey Bee Sensory Bin

The Best Sensory Activities of 2013

Candy Cane Noodle Sensory Play

Ultimate List of Christmas Sensory Ideas for Kids

Candy Cane Scented Moon Dough Sensory Activity

Gift Guide Toys to Inspire Sensory-based Play

Soda Dough Snowmen

Baby and Toddler Sensory Floor Play

Messy Sensory Ideas for Kids

Window No-Mess Sensory Spelling

Mess-Free Bubble Wrap Painting

Color Matching Water Bin

Swamp Water Bin Sensory Fun 

Swamp Dough

Colors Water Play Sensory Bin

Toddler Ping Pong Visual Motor Activity

Island Luau Water Bin Sensory Play

Outdoor Dandelion Water Bin Messy Play

Tactile Sensory Backyard Activities

Sensory Bin Base Filler Ideas

Fizzy Soda Dough Activity

Visual System Play Ideas

Read more about the Visual Sense and Visual Motor Activities HERE.

Scented (Olfactory) Sensory Ideas


Taste (Gustatory) Sensory System Play Ideas and Oral Motor


Proprioception Sensory Ideas 

Read more about the proprioception sense and Proprioception Sensory Activities HERE.
Sensory Play Ideas for Kids
Be sure to stop back for more sensory ideas for kids and families!