Saturday, July 7, 2012

Dry Touch Sensory Activities for Your Toddler

If your child isn't going to preschool and doing some of these things there already, you might want to introduce some "sensory activities" into your arsenal of things to do with your child.  Many of these activities can actually be very soothing and/or engaging for long periods of time.  The coordination involved in manipulating sensory objects also helps in the development of the muscle groups involved in writing.  Here are just a few options.  There are a TON more sensory things to do out there.  Feel free to post comments with additional ideas you and your child have truly enjoyed.

Start with a large tub.  You can buy sufficiently large tubs for multiple kids at the hardware store in the aisle for cements and mortars if you pick up a mixing basin.  Smaller tubs will work for individuals as well though, the key is that it have fairly deep sides and be easy to wash.  Any of these activities should be done after your child is no longer putting everything in his or her mouth.

These are things to put in the tub they can simply run through their hands, scoop and pour and push around.  These items might make a bit of a mess, but nothing that can't simply be swept up.  Include measuring cups, spoons and scoops with almost any of these.  Small plastic tongs are great with medium sized items as well:

  1. popcorn kernels and scoops
  2. Sand and seashells.
  3. Sand and "fossils".
  4. Sand and treasures to find under it.
  5. Sand and Drink mix powders (like Kool-Aid).
  6. Sand and sea salt.  (To color your sea salt, drizzle liquid watercolor over the seasalt in a plastic baggie and then shake vigorously.  Put the salt out on a cookie sheet to dry thoroughly).
  7. Noodles of various types, raw and the shorter shapes (macaroni, tetrazini, bowtie, shells . . .) 
  8. Feathers.
  9. Rice.
  10. Beans (coffee beans work nicely too).
  11. Ground coffee - works a lot like the sand but adds a nice scent. 
  12. Small bits of fabric, yarn and craft poms mixed with buttons (results in wonderful sorting opportunities as well).  Use with tongs.
  13. Cotton Balls.  Use with tongs.
  14. Real leaves, flowers or other such natural items that will not create splinters.
  15. Fake Leaves, flowers or other such items made from fabric or paper (no wires).
  16. Shredded paper.
  17. Pine cones and needles.  (Be careful, Some species are sharp, check for "poky" items before using, multiple types are better than just one).
  18. Seeds (acorns, sunflower, whatever).
  19. Legos (I know, but watch a toddler with their hand in the leg-bin.  They like to scoop and pour the smaller blocks just as they would beans).
  20. Sea Salt by itself.
  21. Lavender buds or Rosemary needles (spendy if you have to buy, but if have the plants outside the combination of the scent with the touch is amazing).
  22. Fresh Grass Clippings (assuming you don't use a lot of pesticides and herbicides).
  23. Freshly raked pile of leaves (if it has been sitting, it may be buggy - so be careful).
  24. Pebbles.
  25. Oatmeal
  26. Empty Thread spools and Beads
  27. Tabs collected from bread bags
  28. Bottle caps (the plastic ones) in a range of sizes
  29. Packing Peanuts
  30. Flour with Glitter mixed in (this one can get messy)
These activities might make a bit more of a mess, but they are SO worth it in terms of engagement duration for your  child as well as the additional benefits in the soothing and/or exploratory aspects of the activity.
    You Might Also Be Interested In: The Magic of Toddler Water Play

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