4 Easy Sensory Play Ideas for Toddlers

We have between 30 minutes to 1 hour of playtime and quality time with A after we fall in the door after work. We’re exhausted, probably stressed, and have a million and one things to do to get ready for the next day. Once dinner is made and eaten we make sure to involve family time into our daily evening routine. I love Sensory Play and watching A figuring out new and curious things. As time is limited in the evenings for us, I have a few sensory play ideas that work well when you’re short on time and resources.

1: Buddling- The Water Works

My mum calls messing around in a kitchen sink, Buddling. It’s a fantastic word for splish splashing with water, bubbles and dishes. Doesn’t get the dishes washed but who cares! A loves this kind of sensory play. She insists on using my colorful silicon cupcake holders. Everything about this activity is fun, from the feel of the soft bubbles, the splashing of water (and there’s lots of splashing), to the color of the items in the sink.

– Prepare to get wet… I mean soaked! You, the kid, the floor, the windows, everything within 5 foot of the sink will get wet. Have a towel handy and make fun of the fact that you and little munchkin are saturated after buddling 🙂

– Invest in one of those safe stools for children. I keep meaning to buy one now that A constantly wants to see what we’re doing in the kitchen, especially when we’re preparing dinner. It would be perfect for Buddlin! Or do your own Ikea Hack on the Ikea stool if you find a few spare hours and your trusty hammer (I have three remember!)

Sensory Play ideas for toddlers Over Heaven's Hill Parenting Blog

2. Finger Painting – Daddy Finger, Daddy Finger, Where Are You?

Who doesn’t like a bit of messy finger paint fun. It’s fun and quick and easy. And it fuels the imagination with different colors and textures.

–  Don’t be like me though, after quickly whipping out the paint and paper I realise that messy hands and fingers are flying about. Change your little one into a painting shirt first!Any old clothes will do.

– Use washable paint. Enough said!

– Have wipes and cloths handy too. A has always liked her hands clean and after one dip of a finger into paint, she’ll want it washed off before she goes again! We oblige, lest a tantrum ensues 🙂

Sensory Play ideas for toddlers Over Heaven's Hill Parenting Blog

3: Books – Dream Big, Read!

Every night before bedtime since A was 3 months old, B has read books with her. A lot of these books are sensory, with different sounds, textures etc. But the most sensory aspect of B reading books with A is the way he does it. He’s an animated reader adding in actions, voices and movements. The giggles from the two of them reading books is one of the most beautiful sounds ever.

– Read a few different types of books with varying images, storylines, concepts and textures.

– Choose engaging stories and books.

– Sing songs and use different voices to keep the toddler attention span alive!

4: Cake Decorating – Finger Lickin Good

This one needs a bit of prep but if you have cupcakes made the night before, cake decorating can be fun, messy and tasty. Using different color icing, decorations and creams brings a whole range of fun to baking. Incorporate singing with Pat-a-Cake Pat-a-Cake 🙂

Sensory Play ideas for toddlers Over Heaven's Hill Parenting Blog

We also love to play with straws, fitting as many as we can into a tall cup or making one long straw that stretches across the room.

We play with rice and lentils, picking up as many as we can and putting them into colorful containers. I must try using rice with colored ice cubes for added fun.

And of course there’s always play dough!

Do you have any other ideas for quick and easy set up sensory play?

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16 Comments

  1. Thanks for the share! And I can’t believe your daughter doesn’t just eat all of those cupcakes!!! Mine has a bit of a sweet tooth, so I’m sure the only thing she’d be decorating would be her tongue…

  2. I love the “Buddling”! I’ve never done this with my son and it’s something super simple that I think he’d have a lot of fun with! Thanks for the tip! Love it!

      1. To be honest, I freak out with the mess, but if I plan before hand and I know it will happen I can take it! Lol Especially because I know he’ll have lots of fun!!! I will try it out and let you know how it went! Thanks

  3. Wonderful ideas! And I learnt a new word – buddling! Love that! T is obsessed with water play but I tend to you just give him a bowl in the garden to avoid the clean up lol #thelist

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