Toddlers love to run, jump, and play! And while this does help get their energy out, it’s also their way of learning and exploring the world around them. Incorporating sensory activities into their playtime is a great way to support learning and development for your toddler.
What are sensory activities?
Sensory activities are exercises that allow children to use and focus on their senses. These include sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste. It is important to note that our senses of movement and body awareness also come into play during sensory activities. This type of play can include touching different textures, tasting new flavors, hearing new sounds, and pretty much anything that gets these senses activated.
Why are these activities important?
Developing the senses is an essential part of brain development, and engaging in sensory activities can actually improve development. The toddler years are one of the most important times to work on brain and motor development. Incorporating sensory play will help them become better readers, better at math, more open to new experiences, and better at real-life tasks such as tying shoes or zipping up their coats.
Fun sensory activity ideas
Where to start? There are endless possibilities. A great sensory activity is one that is simple, fun, and engaging for your toddler. Also keep in mind that some sensory activities can get pretty messy, so finding a solution for easy-cleanup or opting for a cleaner option might help. Ultimately, the goal is for children to learn and grow through using their senses, and this encourages bonding as well!
Here are a few fun sensory activities to try:
This one is great for toddlers to use their sense of touch, plus express their creativity! Be warned, it does get messy.
Making play dough
Another great one for the sense of touch, and helps to get them used to different textures.
Playing with food
This is an easy way to incorporate sensory play into everyday life! Just be sure to have cleanup supplies on hand.
Playing in the sandbox
Sand is a great texture for kids to experience, and it gets them outside!
Making mud pies
Got rain? Make mud pies! Let your little one squish and splash in the mud, and be sure to have a towel ready to wipe them clean.
Bouncing on and exercise ball
This gets energy out, plus allows them to practice balance and develops their sense of movement.
This involves putting your child on your knees or feet and lifting them up, which helps develop their sense of body awareness and balance, and helps you bond.
Whether it’s on a dangling tire, hammock, or any other type of swing, it’s great for your toddler’s sensory development!
A surefire way to develop your toddler’s sense of balance, this activity can come in many forms like a balance beam, walking on a line, or practicing standing on one leg.
A sensory bin contains a variety of materials that have unique textures ranging from dry to wet and everything in between. This could include shaving cream, flour, rice, etc.
Walking on bubble wrap
Bubble wrap is a great tool for both touch, sight, and sound senses.
Use a store-bought version, or make your own using an empty paper towel roll filled with dried beans or rice. Great for sound and touch!
Try finding toys with different textures and put them in the freezer, or just use ice packs or ice cubes.
No matter what activity you choose, sensory play is exciting, fun, and encourages learning and growth. As they get older, you’ll find that these sensory activities continue, just in different ways, such as running, playing hopscotch, or riding a bike.
At Doona, we value supporting your toddler throughout their sensory development. That’s why we created the Liki Trike, which has 5 modes of use to adapt to your child’s growth as they improve their motor skills and become more independent. The Liki Trike is the most compact folding trike on the market and will quickly become your little one's favorite.