25 Nov 2020Mont Marte

You may have heard the term "sensory play" and be wondering what all the fuss is about. Well, not only is it a lot of fun for the little ones, it’s also super important for brain development! Right from the beginning, kids use their five senses (touch, sight, smell, taste and sound) to explore the world around them. Having the opportunity to explore these senses helps them to learn and develop important skills like hand-eye coordination, balance and fine motor skills.

If you’re not sure where to start, we’ve gathered 15 amazing sensory play activities that you can try with your little artists. 

1. Nature craft
Flowers glued onto cardboard in a vase shape.

Image: Bowermere Cottage

There are so many different textures and smells for kids to experience in nature. This fun art activity from Bowermere Cottage combines natural exploration with creativity - and we love it.

2. Bubble wrap painting
Child standing on painted bubble wrap.

Image: Mama Papa Bubba

This sensory play idea is bound to get your little ones giggling. Lay out a plastic sheet to protect your floor, then put a sheet of butchers paper down, pop some acrylic paint on top, spread a sheet of bubble wrap over the top and tape it down. Your kids can then walk or crawl over it to spread the paint around!

3. Cotton wool rainbows
Rainbows made from cotton wool and cardboard.

Image: Merel Speelt Plays Gioca

Create a beautiful rainbow with fluffy clouds using acrylic paints, paper plates and cotton wool. The bright colours and fluffy textures will be a real treat for the senses.

4. Finger painting
A child using their hands for painting.

Have you ever noticed how kids like to get their hands dirty? Give them some finger paints and watch them go! Finger painting is a great way for kids to learn about colours, colour mixing and creativity.

5. Modelling clay projects
Child creating a clay rainbow.

We couldn’t write a sensory play article without mentioning this one. Playing with modelling clay helps your little artists to develop their fine motor skills, coordination and strength. Whether they’re creating a rainbow, puppy or just squishing it around with their hands, this activity is a lot of fun and can keep them entertained for hours.

6. Paint in a bag
Child painting using a ziploc bag and paper.

Image: Happy Hepburn

If you have a bub, put a piece of paper in a zip lock bag, squeeze some blobs of paint inside, push the air out and zip it up! You can then tape it down to a table or the floor and watch your little one play. The texture of the bag and bright colours will really catch their attention.

7. Rock painting
Hand painting insects on rocks.

Gather some rocks from the garden and show your kids how to turn them into cute little creatures with a touch of acrylic paint. Check out our video tutorial if you need some pointers!

8. Modelling clay numbers
Using modelling clay for numbers.

Image: Happy Hepburn

If your child is at the age where they’re starting to learn numbers, you can make it fun with a bit of creativity. Draw up a sheet like the one above, or create a print out, and give them some modelling clay to count in different ways. 

9. Pencil Holder
Hand colouring in a rainbow with a pencil holder nearby.

Not only is this project a lot of fun, it will also help keep your kid’s pencils organised! Simply give them some air hardening clay and let them make whatever shape they like. Then, all they need to do is poke holes in it with the top of a pencil, let it dry and add a splash of colour with some acrylic paints. Here’s a quick video tutorial if you want to see how it’s done.

10. Leaf squirrel
A squirrel made from leaves, glued to a white sheet of paper.

Image: Entrepetits

Mixed media art is a great way to promote creative thinking. Is that a leaf, a feather or a squirrel’s tail? Head outside and collect some objects from nature, then show your kids how to stick them onto a picture and bring it to life.

11. Paper collage
A bunny rabbit collage made from paper plates and coloured paper.

Image: Merel Speelt Plays Gioca

Another great sensory play activity is collage! All you need for this one is some coloured paper, paper plates, glue, a paint brush and markers. You can also throw in other bits and pieces like fabric scraps or leftovers from previous craft projects. We’re all about making the most out of your materials.

12. Nature paint brushes
Paint brushes made from nature.

Image: Entrepetits

Did you know that branches and flowers can be used as paint brushes? See what you can find around the garden and set your little ones up with paper and acrylic or finger paints. It’s that simple!

13. Coloured blocks
Various coloured blocks made from wood.

Image: Moose and Friends

This coloured block activity from Moose and Friends is great for developing fine motor skills and teaching kids how to recognise colours. They’ll also have a good time stacking them up and watching them tumble.

14. Water shaker bottles
Four water shaker bottles filled with various glitters.

Image: Baby Weight Babe

If you have some spare jars or glass bottles lying around the house, fill them with water and beads, glitter, food colouring or anything else that will be fun to shake around. Make sure the lid is screwed on tight so that you don’t have to clean up any unexpected mess.

15. Toilet roll stampers
Three toilet roll stampers with various prints.

Image: Entrepetits

How cool is this rolling stamp idea? Simply save up some toilet rolls and stick cardboard shapes or bubble wrap onto them to create funky patterns.

We’d love to see what you create with your little artists, so feel free to tag us on Instagram or Facebook using @montmarteart and we’ll check it out!