Toddler Sensory Activities

Nature Activities

Changing Colors—Your child can concretely see how plants drink.

What You’ll Need:

1 stalk of celery
1 clear cup of water
Food coloring

Fill a clear glass with water. Add enough food coloring to distinctly color the water.

Cut the celery stalk and place it in the glass. See how long it takes for the celery to take on the color of the water.

Pressed Flowers

What You’ll Need:
Your choice of flowers
Waxed paper or newspaper.
Wooden blocks or a large hardcover book
Arrange the blossoms between layers of newspaper or waxed paper. Press them under the wooden blocks or between the pages of the large book.

Painting with Mud

In a container, place some dirt and water and mix until you have a creamy consistency. Then add some mud onto poster board or cardboard and let your child use the mud to finger paint with.

Rock Painting

Let your child find some rocks in your garden. Large and smooth stones work best. Let your child paint them with tempera paint.

Playdough Pretend Cooking

Place play dough out along with cooking utensils like cookie cutters and tray, a rolling pin and measuring cup for your child to pretend play.

Animal tracks with Playdough: Let your child make tracks with animal figurines.

Squishy Bags

It’s best to use 2 freezer bags for this activity. Fill the first bag halfway with paint or hair gel. Glue the bag closed and place inside the second bag and glue that one securely closed. Let your child squeeze it and see what shapes and forms he can make with with the material inside the bag.

Finger Painting with Shaving Cream—It’s best to use a nontoxic shaving cream (nonmenthol) for this activity. Squirt some shaving cream on a cookie tray and let your child use his hand to make different designs in the shaving cream.

Sensory Bottles

A 20-ounce plastic bottle works well for this activity. Fill the bottle with corn syrup or shampoo. You can then add glitter, beads, small pasta noodles, or any decorative item. To add an educational element, add plastic letters, numbers or even animals and play a game of I-spy.

Be sure to seal the bottles so they do not leak and your child does not have easy access to the small parts.

Water Activities

Glacier Creatures
This is a good opportunity to talk about temperature and melting.
Be sure to choose toys that are not a choking hazard.

What You’ll Need:
Small toys
Small clear plastic containers
Warm water

Place a toy in the plastic container.

Fill the container with water and freeze.

When the “glacier” is frozen, remove from the mold and add to your child’s warm play water.

Boats That Float

Your toddler will enjoy helping to make these boats as much as playing with them. You can also use plastic container lids for small craft.

What You’ll Need
Waterproof Markers
Thin sheets of Styrofoam (such as butcher trans that come with meat in the grocery store, washed well)
1 sheet white construction paper
1 small drinking straw
Small blob of Playdough

Let your child use the markers to color and decorate the Styrofoam

Cut a small paper triangle with 2 horizontal slits

Thread the paper triangle onto the straw to make a flag

Place the blob of Playdough in the bottom of the tray to hold the flag.


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