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A list of easy and fun toddler sensory activities that my kids are loving! Try these sensory play activities with your toddlers, preschoolers and young kids.

Why sensory play? Sensory play activities encourage kids to learn through feeling, exploration, and creativity! It can also help the development of fine and gross motor skills as well as improve language development and problem solving.

Sensory play activities are important, but they don’t have to be extremely difficult or expensive to set up! If you are looking for an easy supplies list check out this post: Toddler Activity Supplies (Essentials & Equipment)

I’m sharing some of my kids’ favorite sensory play activities that I set up quickly and easily at their play table or outside. I’ve also listed supplies needed for each one as well as a quick description and a picture of the sensory activity in action!

As a slightly type-A person, it can be difficult to let my kids be hands on and get a little messy, but it’s part of the process with sensory play and great for fostering curiosity and sensory exploration… so sit back and relax and let them get dirty!

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Toddler Sensory Activity #1: Car Painting & Car Wash

Boys painting toy cars with washable paint.

Your kids will love that you let them do something a little out of the ordinary and paint their toys! Use washable paint to paint toy cars (we love these car bath toys from Nuby). After the paint dries, let your little ones scrub it off with a soapy car wash sensory bin including their own scrub brushes.


Toddler Sensory Bin #2: Jello Dig

Boy playing with animal figurines in jello.

Cool small animal figurines or other small toys into a pan of jello. Once cool and solid let your toddlers have a taste-safe experience rescuing the toys from the jello! Make it fun by using a theme such as blue jello for arctic or sea animals or use your toddler’s favorite color.


Easy Toddler Sensory Bin #3: Black Bean Construction Yard

Overhead shot of boy playing with a tub of black beans and digger toys.

Fill a medium sized storage bin with dried black beans (or noodles are another fun option!). Let your toddler dig around, scoop, and push the beans using small construction toys.

Read More >>> Fun Noodle Sensory Activity for Toddlers


Sensory Bin Activity #4: Water Beads

Boys playing with water beads outside in a storage bin.

Water beads are a fun and unique sensory play experience that’s great for toddlers over 18-24 months or so or when they no longer put things in their mouths. Do this one outside or with a tarp underneath for easy clean up! If you keep the water beads moist they will keep for weeks or you can let them dry out and use them again later.

Bonus: Fill your water table (we have this one) up with water beads!


Sensory Play Activity #5: Fruit/Veggie Stamping

Boy using an apple to stamp orange paint on paper.

Let your toddler explore different fruits and veggies and use them as stamps for painting! If it’s the fall, using apples and orange paint to stamp pumpkins is a fun one or you can just about any fruit and veggie to make different stamps and textures.


Easy Toddler Sensory Bin #6: Shaving Cream Play

Boys playing with shaving cream in bins outside.

Fill up a bin with shaving cream and let your toddler feel, squish, and smear it all over. For a taste-safe (but sticky) experience try using whipped cream instead. This one is best done outdoors and in swimsuits so your kids can be easily washed off. Throw in some water-safe toys and scrub brushes for even more play!


Toddler Sensory Activity #7: Kinetic Sand & Play Doh

Boys sitting playing with kinetic sand and play doh

Simple but hours of fun! Your toddler may like exploring the different feelings of kinetic sand and playdoh and they can do slightly different things with each sensory play toy. Set these out at the same time or do them on different days and talk to your toddlers about the differences (colors, feel, smell, texture, ect.).


Easy Sensory Bin #8: Toy Wash/Car Wash

Boys playing outside with soapy water and toys in a storage bin.

Use things you probably already have on hand to make a fun and easy toy wash sensory play activity! Fill up storage bins with soapy water and give your toddler some toys and a brush to get scrubbing. This can be a great way to keep toys clean or wash off especially messy toys. You will want to do this one outside or lay down a tarp if inside.


Sensory Play Idea #9: Rock Box

Boy sitting in rock box playing with diggers.

We have a larger outdoor rock box (it can also be a sand box) or you can use medium storage bins if your space is more limited. Let your kids dig around, scoop, and move rocks for this easy sensory experience!


Summary Toddler Sensory Activities

Here is a summary and breakdown of some of our favorite toddler sensory activities that my kids are loving:

  1. Car Painting & Car Wash
  2. Jello Dig
  3. Black Bean Construction Yard
  4. Water Beads
  5. Fruit/Veggie Stamping
  6. Shaving Cream Play
  7. Kinetic Sand & Play Doh
  8. Toy Wash/Car Wash
  9. Rock Box

For a full list of supplies check out: Toddler Activity Supplies (Essentials & Equipment)

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Graphic showing 9 sensory play activities and wording "Toddler Sensory Play Ideas my kids are loving"