Letting your little ones play outside and get all muddy and dirty is the best gift you can give them. Sensory play has lots of benefits and it is the perfect way to keep your children busy and entertained.
We’ve rounded up our top 10 sensory play ideas for children – why not try them out this weekend?
1) Make a mud pie
Make a mud pie with your children using nothing but mud and some nature items. Making a mud pie is a fun sensory activity for children (and parents!) and you will need nothing more than some water and a stick, but you can also make it more exciting by adding flowers, shells, grass, sticks, leaves or small pebbles - whatever you have handy.
2) Jump in muddy puddles
This is our favourite messy activity and a great messy play idea! Pick the biggest one you can find and encourage your little ones to do some splashing.
3) Make a sensory bottle
Sensory bottles are super fun and easy to make. Simply fill a jar or a bottle with water, add some food colouring, a little baby or corn oil and a few small nature treasures (leaves, stones etc.) Give the bottle a shake and watch the colours infuse for a delightful nature decoration.
4) Create a fairy garden
Creating a fairy garden is one of our favourite garden activities for children. Digging in mud has lots of sensory benefits and is a great way to stimulate your child’s imagination. Simply fill up a big plastic bucket with mud or sand and place some pebbles over the top for “landscaping”. Then, build a hut, bridge and bench using strips of wood or twigs. You can even add some plants or little stones to make your fairy garden look nicer.
5) Make a magic potion
Make your very own magic potion using your little one's favourite nature items. You will need a bucket or a bowl, a wooden spoon or a stirring stick, some water and lots of leaves, feathers, flowers or anything else you find in your garden or at home. Ask your little potion-makers to mix the ingredients together and make a magic spell.
6) Make rainbow spaghetti
Make sensory play super fun with this easy rainbow spaghetti. You will need 5 portions of cooked spaghetti (be careful not to overcook it), 5 plastic trays or bowls to separate your pasta, a large plastic bowl and some food dye in your child’s favourite colours. Add a few drops of food dye onto each portion of the pasta, mix it (or let your little explorers do it) and let it dry. Once it’s dry, place your rainbow spaghetti into a large bowl and let the fun begin! Playing with rainbow pasta is a great sensory experience for your little ones – have a go, we’re sure you’ll love it, too.
7) Make nature soup
All you need is some leaves, flowers, stones or whatever else you have handy, some water and a few kitchen tools. Place your nature items in a big plastic bowl or a plastic container, add some water and ask children to mix the ingredients together. The idea is to explore different colours, shapes and textures.
8) Make magic mud
You will need some mud, a little water, 2 cups of baking soda, some paint in different colours, a little white vinegar and a large plastic bucket. Simply mix the dirt with water and baking soda, mix it all together to create mud, sprinkle some paint over it and add some vinegar. Hours of fun guaranteed!
9) Pebble painting
We love this messy play idea. Ask your little explorers to collect some pebbles, give them a quick wash, dry them with some paper towel and get creative with your paints (bright acrylic paints work well) or Sharpies.
10) Edible finger paint
Develop your children’s motor skills and concentration with these yummy edible paints. Simply mix 3-4 tablespoons of corn starch with one cup of cold water, 3 cups of boiling water and some liquid food colouring. When your paint is ready, encourage your little ones to play and paint with it and enjoy its jellylike texture.