Sensory Play Activities and Ideas

sensory play activities

Let’s have some messy fun!

Sensory play is an extremely hands-on activity, which lets kids engage with their senses through the exploration of different materials and textures through play. So you will never be short of ideas! There are a wide range of sensory play activities, which allow you to create a fun and flexible learning space in your early years setting.

Here are some fantastic ideas and activities for sensory play, which have been recommended by Georgina, SEN Resources Blogger and Director of Cheshire SEN Tutor LTD.

Top 10 Sensory Play Activities & Ideas

Making and Painting Homemade Salt Dough

Simply combine salt, flour and water to create beautiful Salt Dough sculptures. Then get those Cutters and Rollers out to perfect your shapes – and add Glitter for an extra sparkle! Finally, pop your creations in the oven and once they are hardened, let the little ones paint them.

Play Dough

Cutting, squishing, rolling, and kneading. Soft Dough is perfect for stimulating sense of touch – toddlers will enjoy hours of soft dough fun!

Kinetic Sand

Mould, squeeze and build. Kinetic Sand flows through the fingers just like real sand – it’s that squeezable sand that you just can’t put down!

Shadow Puppets

Create spectacular Shadow Puppets and let the little ones explore light and shade. Perfect for storytelling!

Water Play

Pouring, scooping, splashing and bubbles! Water Play is an exciting sensory play activity, where children become absorbed with the ripples of the water – try out a variety of water play games!

Porridge Oats Construction

Empty a box of porridge oats, or other cereals, into a Tuff Tray. Then add Toy Diggers & Trucks for scooping, driving, digging and burying! Create wonderful porridge oats constructions – your kids will have a blast.

Couscous Dinosaur Hunt

Fill a large Tub with couscous and bury toy Dinosaurs inside it. Then ‘hunt’ for your dinosaurs using brushes in an exciting Fossil Hunt.

Make Pretend Snow

Feel the snow crunch between your fingers! Fake Snow is really easy to make with flour and oil – simply mix together 8 cups of cornflour and 1 cup of vegetable oil.

Homemade Paint Bags

Fill zip lock bags with various coloured Paints and let the children enjoy squishing them and mixing the colours – without the mess!

Mud Pies

Rustle up some fabulous sludgy treats and enjoy the sensory experience (and mess) of sticky, gloopy and hard mud!

Try out Georgina’s exciting sensory play ideas in your primary school, early years setting or home for a whole load of messy and imaginative fun!

Sensory Play Resources

If you are missing any of the sensory play essentials, take a look at our extensive range of fun Sensory Play Equipment and Resources – ideal for babies, toddlers, pre-schoolers and primary school children.

sensory play resources

We’d love to see how you get on with these sensational sensory play ideas and activities – so don’t forget to send your photos to our Facebook or Twitter!

Sensory play is vital for a child’s development and learning process! Discover the key benefits of sensory play for children in our article on the Importance of Sensory Play for Early Years and get your kids engaged in sensory play today!


SEN Resources Blog – Georgina, Director of Cheshire SEN Tutor LTD, created the SEN Resources Blog to provide innovative ideas for fun learning activities to develop important skills, such as fine motor skills and speech and language skills. The SEN Resources Blog also recommends books, toys and learning resources for all children – with a focus on those with additional needs.

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