Your Ultimate Guide to Sensory Play

Updated: Oct 13, 2021

happy baby playing toys

For children, there are many different types of play including physical, dramatic, sensory, nature, music and art play. Each of these present different opportunities for children to develop their language, motor, social, emotional and cognitive skills.

Here, we’ll be focusing on what sensory play is and how you can incorporate it into your child’s playtime.

Sensory play helps your child with building cognitive skills and learning. It opens the door for free play and lets kids explore their senses and creativity, all while encouraging learning too. In fact, the more senses you can involve, the better!

Read on to find out its importance for children.

1. Encourages problem-solving

baby boy solving building blocks

One way to encourage your child’s brain development is through problem-solving activities.

As kids manipulate objects, they’re guessing, experimenting and testing assumptions for this new material they’re experiencing. These are fundamental processes that build your child’s logical and critical thinking.

2. Boosts language development

mother giving alphabet toy to child

Your child will only get to know the real meaning of a word when they’ve experienced it.

Words such as smooth, rough, cold, warm, and fragrant are descriptions that they will remember once they have touched, heard, seen, smelled, and experienced them in sensory play!

3. Regulates emotions and behaviour

Sensory play allows for the development of emotional and behavioural regulation in young children.

Emotional regulation relates to the ability of a child to adjust their behaviour according to the environment or situation. This is crucial to learn, especially since your child will be spending plenty of time in social settings once they go to preschool.

Engaging in sensory experiences like running their fingers through grains or smelling lavender can distract and calm an uneasy, angry, or over-stimulated child. It also promotes self-discovery, which in turn builds up self-confidence.

4. Develops fine motor skills

child playing with items for sensory exercise

Squeezing, pinching, sorting, placing and scooping of materials in sensory play also boosts the development of a child’s fine motor skills.

This increases a child’s coordination skills as well.

Sensory play ideas

Here are some ideas you can try at home.


baby playing with flour on table

Place some in a large bowl or tray. You can hide some small toys here to encourage your child to dig through and uncover them. Add some water to the mix and let them have a feel of how water changes the texture and consistency of this simple ingredient.


baby girl playing with jelly

Besides experiencing the different textures with their hands, play with Jello is safe for consumption too! You can even pick out different coloured Jello to help them identify their colours as well.