12 Sensory Play Ideas to Encourage Hands On Learning

Welcome back for another Hands On Play Party.  If you are a regular here, you know just how much we love sensory play. I thought it would be really fun to gather up some of my favorite sensory play ideas. Sensory play is a vital part of growing and learning and extremely important in developing healthy sensory integration in all children. It can be messy, clean, edible,and scented, but most of all, FUN!

12 Sensory Play Ideas

{This post may contain affiliate links to materials I recommend. Anything you purchase through these links helps support Lemon Lime Adventures. Thank you in advance for choosing to support us.}

What is Sensory Play?

Sensory play includes any activity that stimulates your young child’s senses: touch, smell, taste, sight and hearing. Sensory activities and sensory tables facilitate exploration and naturally encourage children to use scientific processes while they play, create, investigate and explore. Spending time stimulating their senses helps children develop cognitively, linguistically, socially and emotionally, physically and creatively.

How Can Sensory Play Encourage Hands On Play?

Sensory bins, activities and materials allow children the opportunity to use all of their senses to explore ideas and concepts that might be too abstract for them to understand without the tactile experience.

You can encourage hands on play by using sensory play to enhance a story, to explore a science concept, to encourage language development,or to practice academic skills as an alternative to paper/pencil methods. You can even use sensory play as a way to enhance a theme or unit study.  Like I said before, the possibilities are endless!

What Can You Use for Sensory Play?

The possibilities are endless. You can encourage sensory play through sensory binsactivities, or even in the garden and around the house. While sensory play does not have to be set up and managed with fancy materials, it can be fun and inviting to set up invitations for your children to join in the play. By adding color and variations to the sensory materials, you make the activity more inviting while integrating senses even more.  Below are some of my favorite sensory play ideas I have seen recently.

Messy Sensory Play Ideas

Messy Sensory

3 Ingredient Rainbow Slime
Silky Soft Gloop
Foam Dough
Scented Rainbow Cloud Dough
Rainbow Clean Mud

Non- Messy Sensory Play Ideas

Non Messy Sensory

Rainbow Rice
Rainbow Rice Noodles and Light Table Play
Rainbow Colored Beans
Rainbow Colored Hay

Edible Sensory Play Ideas

Edible Sensory Play

Baby Safe Cloud Dough
Edible Play Dough
Edible Water Beads


Now it’s time for the Hands On Play party!

Visit Our Co-Hosts

Clue Treasure Hunt for Kids from P is for Preschooler

Happy Earth Day from Stir the Wonder

Its your turn to show us your Hands-on Play ideas.

Do you have a favorite Sensory Play Idea? How do you encourage hands on learning? I can’t wait to see!


Follow Lemon Lime Adventures’s board Sensory Play on Pinterest.

Follow Little Bins For Little Hands’s board Hands On Play Activities for Kids on Pinterest.

Please share your great ideas with us!



Discover how to get siblings to get along even when all they do is annoy each other with the Sibling “Get Along” Poster Pack!

6 thoughts on “12 Sensory Play Ideas to Encourage Hands On Learning”

  1. Pingback: Happy Earth Day! | Stir The Wonder

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  4. Pingback: Simple Sensory Play: Scented Ice Lab - Lemon Lime Adventures

  5. Pingback: Simple Sensory Play | Hands-Free Ice Cube Race - Lemon Lime Adventures

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