There is a lot of scientific proof that sensory activities during infancy are crucial for developing healthy children. Here are 21 simple, inexpensive ideas to provide your child with the best start in life!
Toddlers need sensory experiences to help them develop. These 21 activities are designed to stimulate all the senses, and will provide your toddler with a fun way to learn about their world. Read more in detail here: sensory projects for toddlers.
Simple sensory games for toddlers that are not only entertaining and entertaining, but also help your child grow and learn from an occupational therapist!
The term “busy” comes to me when I think about toddlers. Dump the toys on the floor, pull boxes from the pantry, and chase the cat around the table, knocking over anything in sight.
While having a toddler at home might be taxing, it can also be thrilling. Toddlers are continually developing and learning via play and exploration of their surroundings.
Sensory exercises for toddlers are one approach to boost growth, learning, and even speech!
What are Sensory Activities, and Why Should You Do Them?
Any sort of play or action that stimulates our senses is referred to as a sensory activity.
However, there are eight senses in all, not just the five you acquired in kindergarten (sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste.) Our sense of movement, or vestibular sense, our sense of bodily awareness, or proprioceptive sense, and our sense of all our interior sensations, or interoception, are the three extra senses.
Basically, whenever a child moves, jumps, touches, tastes, hears, sees, or smells, they are engaging in a sensory activity. But, with the activities I’ll offer below, you can give them a big dose of sensory stimulation.
Sensory Activities’ Benefits for Toddlers
You may be wondering why your child should engage in sensory activities, and you’re not alone. Because sensory exercises encourage learning and genuinely boost brain function and development, you’ll notice them when browsing through Pinterest.
This is true for older children as well, but young children are more affected since their brains are still developing.
As strange as it may seem, sensory exercises for toddlers might help them become better readers and go to school when they reach school age. So sensory exercises for 1 or 2 year olds are well worth your time, and many of them involve very little work!
Sensory activities are essential for certain toddlers!
Sensory activities for toddlers are beneficial for general development, although certain children may need them. Some toddlers have sensory “problems,” or sensory demands, as I like to call them. This may have a negative impact on their behavior, attentiveness, socializing, and even sleep.
If your kid seeks out or avoids sensations more than the average child, this may indicate that they have sensory requirements, which may interfere with their ability to settle down, concentrate, learn, and so on.
Sensory difficulties in children, for example, may manifest as difficulty ending one activity and beginning another (transitioning). They may also have an allergic reaction if they walk barefoot in the grass, slide down a slide, or eat anything with a squishy feel.
Your child, on the other hand, could run amok, climb the furniture, and turn the energizer bunny into a slow-moving turtle. If this sounds like your kid, our free session will educate you how to find out what they need and how to support them.
Here’s where you can get a seat in the sensory workshop.
Sensory Activities for Toddlers: 21 Fun and Easy Activities
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You’ll discover some amazing sensory activities for toddlers in this list below that you won’t find anywhere else since they’re based on deeper sensory stimulation from my occupational therapy experience. I’ve also provided a number of ideas that don’t need any setup and are either free or low-cost.
They’re also a lot of fun. Some activities are for you to do together, while others are for your toddler to do alone:
Make Play Dough #1 – Messy Play
Bounce on a Ball #2
- As an occupational therapist, this is one of my favorite sensory exercises. If it’s a big ball, you’ll have to assist your kid bounce it by pressing down on the tops of their legs or hips, but if it’s a little ball, your toddler can bounce it while sitting on the ground. Because toddlers can straddle it, this peanut-shaped ball is ideal for keeping them from falling over.
Playing in a Sensory Bin is number three.
- Sensory bins are one of my favorite things to do. Fill a big storage container, water table, or tub with a variety of things, such as cotton balls, water beads (make sure they’re edible tapioca beads like these), pom poms, sand, dried beans, cloud dough (flour + oil), or even plain bubble filled water. More sensory bin ideas may be found here.
#4. Investigate a Sensory Bag
- Fill a sealable plastic bag with hair gel and a few tiny trinkets or toys, such as pennies, paperclips, vinyl stickers, sequins, buttons, a bouncy ball, and so on. Seal the bag, ensuring sure any excess air is removed, and secure it with heavy-duty tape to prevent your youngster from opening it by mistake. Then flatten it out and let your youngster search for the concealed items. This is also beneficial to their fine motor abilities. (You may find a complete instruction here.)
#5: Give a Sensory Bottle a Shake
- Another simple DIY is to fill an empty water bottle with water, oil, or a mixture, then add food coloring, glitter, and other tiny things. Toddlers like watching the water swirl and shake because it provides a variety of sensory experiences that are also relaxing. If you’re looking for a kit that includes everything you’ll need. Take a look at this.
#6. Take off like an aircraft
- Did you realize that this classic parent-child game is jam-packed with sensory stimulation? You’ll be heavily activating your vestibular and proprioceptive senses. This may be too much for children who are afraid of movement, so proceed with caution.
Knee Rocking Horse #7
- If the aircraft is too much for your kid, try bouncing them on your knee or while resting on your back as I am in the photo above. Remember to take baby steps at first!
#8. If you’re looking for a unique way to express yourself, try swing
- Swinging is a basic sensory exercise, but look beyond the typical playground swings, which are also fantastic! Tire swings and these newer spider net swings, if you have them in your backyard, enable you to swing in a huge circle, providing a variety of beneficial sensations. If you have another adult around, I also like to use a blanket. Place your kid in the centre of the circle, and each adult takes two corners to swing back and forth.
#9: Back and forth rocking
- A child may rock back and forth in a number of different ways. Consider rocking chairs, gliders, rocking horses, or these adorable small egg chairs that stack effortlessly and are just right for toddlers. You may face your child and align your feet so that they contact, grasp hands, and rock back and forth.
#10: Taking Steps on Stepping Stones
- These stones were a tremendous success with my kids when they received them for Christmas! They may be difficult for toddlers to balance on, but it is excellent practice for them. They may also improve their balance by using a low-to-the-ground balancing beam or even a rope laid flat on the ground!
#11. Pushing a Shopping Cart or a Push Toy
- Pushing and pushing engages the proprioceptive sense, which many babies find relaxing. If you have a push toy or a toy shopping cart, they function well, but you can go even farther by loading them with books for more weight and input.
#12. Use a Weighted Lap Pad or carry one with you.
- A weighted lap pad is just a hefty little cushion or plush animal. You may manufacture your own out of dry beans or plastic pellets, but there are several ready-made options as well. Check out the rest of my weighted lap pad instructions here. They’re great for youngsters who prefer to crawl into tiny areas and for kids who have trouble relaxing.
13. Have fun with scarves
These scarves are inexpensive, but fabric remnants may also be used to create play scarves. Toddlers will jump in them, cover their faces with them, and take them out of the containers like a tissue box.
14. Leap Over Pillows
- Allow your kid to jump and crawl all over the sofa cushions by removing them. Don’t overthink it; it’s pretty easy, and they’ll be delighted for a long in addition to all of the sensory input they’ll get from climbing, crashing, and leaping. You could wish to enable jumping on the sofa, their bed, or a tiny trampoline in addition to the pillows!
#15: Inhale Spices
- Invite your toddler to sniff various spices from the cupboard while you’re cooking or simply for fun. Don’t categorize the odors as pleasant or awful, but rather as “large” and “little” smells. This sniffing practice will assist them in gaining a fresh perspective on odors, which will aid them in trying new meals.
Kick a Ball Back and Forth (#16)
- Kicking a ball isn’t something that many toddlers like to do, but it provides a lot of proprioceptive input and improves gross motor skills. To kick the ball back to you, kids must utilize their eyesight, hand-eye coordination, and balance. Make the ball bigger so it’s easier for them to kick.
#17. Ascend the Slide
- I know it goes against every playground regulation, but for toddlers, stick to tiny slides and supervise them closely. Because ascending up the slide and then falling back down provides the sensory system with a plethora of amazing feelings. It also aids core strength and motor planning.
#18. Take a stroll on bubble wrap
- Apply painters tape to the floor and place bubble wrap on it for your kid to walk and bounce on. A variety of senses are involved here: auditory (popping noise), proprioceptive (jumping), and tactile (touching) (feeling of bubbles under feet.) Check out this sample if you want to view an example.
#19: Perceive and Discover Mysteries
- Putting several basic concealed items in a box or bag and having them feel for the one you asked is a terrific approach to work on your child’s tactile processing. So, let’s see how it goes… In a box with a hole cut in it, you add 3-4 random things. Consider a cup, a vehicle, a ball, and so forth. It’s simple to recognize. Instruct your child to put their hand in and locate the ball, cup, or vehicle. Voila! Here you may get a better sense of things and get some inspiration.
Toss Bean Bags (#20)
- Because bean bags are a bit heavier, they provide more input, which is often relaxing and organizing to the sensory system. Tossing them back and forth or having your child stand behind a line and fling them into a pail or laundry basket are also excellent sensory activities. If you don’t have any, you can get a set of bean bags here.
#11: Climb a Tunnel
- Climbing up, through, or over objects is, in my view, one of the finest sensory activities. It enables children to accomplish a variety of activities, such as utilize both sides of their bodies simultaneously and often cross the midline, both of which are critical abilities for later learning. Make a tunnel out of cushions, or use a popular pop-up tunnel like this or a cloth tunnel, which is my personal favorite.
Toddlers should never be forced to participate in sensory activities.
Most of the time, your toddler will like the sensory activities you give since they are meant to encourage them to explore. However, never compel your child to engage if he or she does not want to. A child’s sensory system is absolutely unique to them, and although your intentions are good, forcing them to try anything may be harmful to their sensory system.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t encourage, show, and attempt to make it entertaining for your child if he or she doesn’t want to play with finger paints. More than that, I’d want you to attempt to make things easier for them.
When it comes to finger paints, this might mean substituting a paint brush. It also implies that you should keep attempting the activity. We want to assist toddlers in overcoming any sensory sensitivity they may have.
You Might Be Missing These Sensory Red Flags in Your Toddler…
Whether you’re reading this and wondering if your child has any sensory “problems” or requirements, but aren’t sure, get my free printable: You Might Be Missing These 21 Sensory Red Flags.
While sensory is distinct and there are several indications, I’ve developed a list of the most prevalent and misinterpreted. To get the free printable, just click here.
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