Sensory play is play that specifically engages the senses. Children learn and retain more information when they are able to use their senses (touch, smell, taste, see, or hear). You may notice that babies tend to bring objects to their mouths quite often, and toddlers feel the need to touch everything! That is their way of processing something new!
Sensory play can be as simple as splashing in a tub of water, to creating beautiful sensory bins. There is no right or wrong way to do sensory play, and while I love creating beautiful sensory bins for my daughter, they aren’t always pretty! Sometimes it is as simple as some play dough on her table, or some water with bubbles. Sensory play doesn’t always have to involve a ton of prep work! Kids tend to love the easy sensory play equally as much as the bins that take lots of time to create.
So today I wanted to put together a post that compiles a list of easy sensory base ideas for sensory play that your child will love! The best part about this list is that you probably already have most of these items at home, and if you don’t, they are budget friendly and can probably be found at your local grocery store!
1 | DRY PASTA
Dry pasta is a super easy sensory base to use, but also one that is always a big hit! I love it because it involves no prep and is super easy to clean up after play time is over! Any kind of dry pasta can work, and you can take your sensory play one step further by dying your pasta with bright and inviting colors!
Learn how to dye your own pasta (or other sensory bases) by checking out this post: How to Dye Your Own Sensory Bases
2 | WATER BEADS
Water beads are SO much fun to play with and a great sensory activity for little hands. They are squishy and have a unique texture and feel, making them a great sensory experience for children. They do seem to be a tempting object for little ones who are still in the “mouthing stage” so ensuring your child is monitored while playing is important. Most water beads that you can purchase are non-toxic, just to be safe should one end up in your child’s mouth!
4 | CHICK PEAS
Chick peas are one of my favorite sensory bases to use. They are fun to play with and very versatile in how they can be used. They also dye so easily so you can spice them up and dye them different colors! Rainbow chickpeas are SO pretty to play with and so easy to make.
Keep in mind these are hard and round and can definitely pose a choking hazard, especially to smaller babes who are still in the “mouthing” stage. Make sure to monitor your little when playing with this base!
4 | SPLIT PEAS
I love using split peas in small world play to imitate grass. A great base that you can easily find at the grocery store. A fun base to scoop and pour for those little hands! My one recommendation is not to pair it with a water base as when they get wet they can get a bit yucky!
5 | FRUITS OR VEGGIES
Adding some fruit and/or vegetables to water is a great way to bring water play up a notch! you can just toss them in or you can use them in a more intentional way like I did in the picture able by using cucumbers as lilly pads.
6 | SOAP BUBBLES
What child doesn’t love bubbles?! Adding some simple soap or bubble bath to water is a super easy but effective sensory base. There are many ways you can use bubbles – washing play dishes, bathing a baby doll, etc.
7 | FLOWERS
Similar to fruits and veggies above, simply adding some flowers to water creates a great sensory experience. The best part about flowers is that they provide scent as well, providing an even better sensory experience. My little girl loves making “flower soup” and scooping and pouring it into little bowls. A great sensory base for a warm summer day!
8 | BLACK BEANS
Black beans are so fun to play with and can be used in lots of different ways! They are a great base for scooping and pouring and can be re-used over and over and over. I love the texture and feel of black beans and we use them quite often in our sensory play!
9 | RICE
Messy, but oh so fun! Rice is a great sensory base as it provides a unique texture, is easy to scoop and pour, and can be dyed easily to add a little extra fun! Plus, rice is always something I have on hand and it can easily be re-used again and again.
10 | CLOUD DOUGH
Cloud Dough! A new favorite sensory base in our house hold. It is very similar to sand in the sense that it molds together or crumbles, but it is also sooooo soft! I love how it feels! It is also extremely easy to make using things you probably already have in your kitchen.
To grab the recipe you can check out this post: How to Make Home Made Sand for Sensory Play
So there you have it! 10 great (and easy) sensory base ideas to explore with your little! I would love to know which bases you try and how it goes. Or let me know which ones you’ve explored and loved! Leave a comment below and share your sensory base fun!