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Child's Play
....sharing information & ideas!

Sensory Ideas for Kids

Also see:

Craft Recipes for lots of great ideas for hand sensory/manipulation

Sensory Center - Building Centers in a Home Daycare Setting

Sensory Table
Make your Own!  Full instructions & supply list

Hands - Cornstarch & Water
Mix 1 box of cornstarch with 3 cups of water.  Place in a small tub or other container.  Let the kids slip their hands thru the substance.  It will amaze them that they can "see" and feel the substance, but if they lift it out of the water, it all dissolves and turns to liquid!!

Note:  For larger containers, mix equal parts of the cornstarch and water.

Sensory Boxes
Purchase (or make your own) cardboard boxes with removable lids - approximately 12" square and as deep as you can find.  I found mine in a Dollar Store -  They need to be the real heavy cardboard at least 1/8 of an inch thick.  They are available in all shapes (hearts, circle, square, rectangle...) and colors!  You will need 5 boxes of the same size and shape.  Label each box:   SIGHT      SOUND     TASTE      SMELL       TOUCH

Fill each box with up to 5-6 items that match the sensory label on the box.  These boxes are a permanent fixture in our daycare...I change the items once every couple of weeks - so the kids get different experiences.  As you read the lists below, you will see that a lot of the items can be placed in more than one category.  That is something that could also be discussed with the kids.

SIGHT:   magnifying glass, binoculars, colored cellophane, swimming goggles, sunglasses,
               kaleidoscope, and a multiple of things for them to look at with these tools!

SOUND:  whistle, horn, story tape with tape recorder/walkman, handmade moraccas,
              rain sticks, any musical instrument, add materials that the kids could use to make
              their own musical instruments!

TASTE:  Cut up food samples with the following tastes:  sour, sweet, bitter, spicy, bland,
             salty,  and anymore that you can think of!  Use some of these in a recipe for a
             special snack or lunch!

SMELL:  sandpaper rubbings (rub with spices before placing in box - cut into shapes of your
             choice and glue shapes to a larger piece of cardboard - labeling each spice),
             orange, lemon, piece of leather, fresh flowers, dirt, peanut butter,

TOUCH:  Along with manipulatives like sieves, measuring cups, spoons, dull knives, water
            & sand toys, etc., offer some of the following items:  feathers, sandpaper,
            cornmeal, sawdust, water, sand, dirt, cooked noodles,  uncooked noodles, hot
            (warm) and cold, flour, peanut butter, molasses, lettuce, paper (thick, thin, tissue,
            toweling...., egg, applesauce,  ice-cream (if you have an ice-cream maker, include it!
            My kids love to help make ice-cream - this would work in conjunction with taste),
            eggshells, crayon shavings, sugar and icing sugar, mashed bananas, cooked and
            uncooked rice, grapes, carrot skins, Jell-O, pudding, dough, popcorn.....just to name
            a few!

Special thanks to

for the wonderful graphics for this page.

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