9 Sensory Activities for Curious Babies and Toddlers
Babies and toddlers have incredibly busy hands and extremely curious minds, which is why sensory activities are such a great way to entertain little ones. You can encourage your child to practice fine motor skills, patience, and even self-soothing skills—all while they’re happily occupied. We’ve rounded up a few great examples of DIY sensory bins and bags that encourage toddlers and babies to explore the world around them.
Image and activity via Craft Her Way
DIY Busy boards are a fantastic sensory activity for toddlers because they’re so versatile and can be used to nurture all sorts of skills and curiosities. They present tons of familiar household items (think: light switches, zippers, and knobs) in a safe and accessible way. Busy boards give very young kids the chance to explore everyday objects without the risk of getting hurt or making a mess.
Image and activity via The Yellow Birdhouse
Sensory books merge sensory play with rest because they encourage exploration at a slow and quiet pace. Plus they’re easy to stick in the diaper bag for on-the-go entertainment! They can include a wide variety of textures, colors, and themes (one of our favorite ideas: print family photos on felt for a personal touch in each book). We love this resource that includes 45 different templates that are sure to activate your child’s curiosity.
Image and activity via Mama Papa Bubba
As much as it might pain us grown-ups, letting our kids get messy can be a good thing! Of course, some kids might need some coaxing before they (literally) get their hands dirty. That’s why we love this sensory bin for budding gardeners. With a simple plastic bin, some potting soil, and a few tools and toys, you can help your little one to discover how much fun it can be to play in nature.
Image and activity via JDaniel4’s Mom
This sensory activity doubles as a way to inspire get a little quiet time. Toddlers will immerse themselves in decorating their robots over and over again via the smooth gliding sensation of pushing beads and buttons through hair gel. You can tape these sensory bags to a wall or window or place it on a cookie sheet for tabletop play.
Image and activity via Best Toys 4 Toddlers
Creating a sensory bag with Elmer’s glue, some food coloring, glitter, or any other fun combinations can make learning so much fun. You can encourage your child to practice fine motor skills with this Zigzag project by drawing simple lines on the bag and ask your child to trace them. Step it up and draw letters and numbers, even working up to spelling out your child’s name. Use washable markers to easily wipe off the lines when you’re done.
Image and activity via Little Bins for Little Hands
If your little ones love dinosaurs, then this sensory activity is for you. With only a few items, you can create a super engrossing dinosaur dig that will keep your kiddo digging, discovering, and playing longer than the stone age lasted. Piggyback on their sensory play by reading books about the giant creatures that once roamed the earth.
Image and activity via Busy Toddler
This sensory activity is awesome for toddlers who love to make messes. Grab a box and fill it with cereal— or any dry foods that you need to get rid of from your pantry. Hand your child a hammer (plastic, natch) and other tools (think: rolling pin, potato masher), and let your kiddo get to work making amazing crunching sounds!
Image and activity via Teaching Mama
Babies as young as 6 months love to sensory play as much as bigger kids. This ribbon box idea is simple to make, safe, and loads of fun for tiny tots who already adore grabbing everything in sight. Use brightly colored or patterned ribbons to add some visual flair.
Image and activity via Play Create Explore
Mom and dad may want to grab some earplugs for this one. Pull out all of your pots and pans and create a circle. Then set your baby in the middle and let them bang on the bottoms of the pots to make their own music. If they are able to sit up, hand them a wooden spoon and see how many different sounds you can make.
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Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child or yourself, please contact your health provider.