The days are warmer, the birds are chirping, and spring is finally here. Celebrate the season with sensory play ideas that focus on the magic of the season: flowers, gardening, rainbows and more. Keep reading for fresh new activities you’ll love.
Muddy Truck Sensory Bin
If you're not up for playing in actual mud, make your own! This sensory bin from Mama. Papa. Bubba is safe for kids to sneak a taste of and smells delicious. Why? Because it's made with cocoa powder! Mix cocoa powder with cornstarch and water until you get a muddy, uniform texture (toddlers will love to help stir), and then drop in some trucks. Littles can move the trucks around so they make muddy tracks, as well as exploring the texture of the mud with their fingers. As play continues, you can add small scoopers and measuring cups for new ways to experience the mud. The plastic container helps contain the mess, but you may want to lay down a towel or plastic tablecloth underneath.
Nature Sensory Bag Suncatcher
Nature lovers will be entranced by this eye-catching sensory bag from Hands On As We Grow. Head out to your backyard or local park to gather pretty leaves and flowers, and then craft the suncatcher with your child. You'll find instructions on the website.
If you have plastic Easter eggs, put them to good use with this fun idea from Little Bins for Little Hands. Inside each egg, place a balloon filled with items of different textures, such as rice, baking soda or flour. Head to Little Bins for what you'll need, plus an easy way to fill up the balloons.
Chicks and Flowers Sensory Bin
We love this cheery sensory bin idea from In the Playroom incorporates straw and little chicks. The littles can practice their counting, hide the chicks in the straw, and feel the different textures.
Rainbows and Cloud Dough
Clarissa of Munchkins & Moms came up with two activities in one—cloud dough (with a blue raspberry scent!) and rainbow-colored pasta. Babies will love simply squishing this stuff with their hands, and you can add tools to make it more interesting for older tots. Use this to explore textures, and sort and identify colors.
Insects and Bugs
Little ones who don't mind getting their hands dirty will love searching for insects and bugs in this dirt-filled sensory bin from Learn, Play Imagine. Be sure to use larger plastic bugs (that aren't choking hazards) for your baby.
Spring Sensory Bin
Still have that filler from your Easter baskets? Place it in a plastic bin along with plastic Easter eggs and cotton balls, and let your baby spring into action. Find out more at These Are the Days.
All the Colors of the Rainbow
Does your little one put everything in their mouth? Katie of Happily Ever Mom shows you how to turn regular bread into a rainbow-colored activity for your little one to crunch, smash and have fun manipulating. Because it's edible, you don't have to worry about baby taking a nibble.
Sensory play can be as simple as collecting materials from your backyard or a nearby park and letting your child explore them. Finding the Golden Gleam gathered fresh-cut flowers and let her daughter look at, touch and pull them apart to discover what they're all about. Leaves or grass would work well too.
Pond Sensory Bin
Using water beads (or boba pearls if your child puts everything in their mouth), you can create a pond perfect for little hands to discover new things. Add flowers, plastic eggs, lily pads and underwater creatures for even more fun. Even if your child doesn't usually put items in their mouth, it's a good idea to supervise this activity, just in case. Learn more at Kids Play Box.
The Butterfly Bin
Flowers and butterflies flit into your little one's life with this springy sensory idea. Mix a bunch of butterflies (you can find these at craft stores) and faux flowers together to create textures and colors your tot will marvel at. Get more details from Jada Roo Can Do.
What are your favorite spring sensory ideas? Tell us in a comment.
—Jenn Andrlik & Susie Foresman