What is Sensory Play?

Sensory play refers to any activities that appeal to and engage the senses. Each sense, touch, taste, smell, sight and hearing, provides children with an opportunity to increase their understanding of and communication about the world around them.

Why use it?

In addition to the non-stop fun, sensory play and activities offer ongoing learning opportunities and a process-driven experience for the child. As the saying goes, it is not the destination, but the journey taken that really matters!


Jell-O Hide and Seek- Make several pouches of Jell-O the night before, the more flavours and colours the better! Depending on the number of children playing, divide the Jell-O into large bowls or tubs so each child or pair has their own tub. Hide multiple items (pennies, paper clips, letter/number fridge magnets, polished rocks or plastic animals) into each tub. Be sure to mix the selected items up and press them into the Jell-O.

This activity provides the opportunity for children to learn about counting, sorting and classifying and enhance their language skills, imagination, and creativity.

Iceberg World- Fill plastic containers and ice cube trays of various sizes with water and freeze. The more shapes and levels the more fun and opportunity for creative play. When you are ready, place ice on trays or in baking dishes. Add a bit of water if you have the space for easy clean up. Children love the combination of water and ice as new terrain for their dinosaurs and other creatures. This activity allows for the use of fine motor skills, exploring senses, learning cause and effect and building self esteem: there is no right or wrong answer!

Other activities you can try at home:

  • Beans and Peas with scoops, funnels and cups allow for concentration and hand eye coordination;
  • Shaving cream and a little food coloring can be a fun way to learn about colour mixing;
  • Making letters and numbers with play-doh for counting, classifying and adding.