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Indoor Sensory Activities For Infants, Toddlers & Preschoolers

The warmer weather is great for getting children outdoors to enjoy some fun in the sun! But what about those rainy days, or heat alerts, that keep us from enjoying our outside programming? How can you bring some of those activities inside? How do you create an indoor environment that will keep children busy and having fun? The following are some ideas that may be new to you or a twist on some old favourites that may be suitable for infants, toddlers and/or preschoolers.

Infant Sensory Ideas

  • Sensory bottles (plastic water bottles filled with colourful pom poms, water and glitter, water and beads, water and marbles, or frozen coloured water) 
  • Sensory bags (freezer bags with goop, playdough, or ice; try putting a few things in the bags as well i.e. small plastic insects, and duct tape to tightly seal) 
  • Sensory boxes (boxes with various lengths of ribbon, strips of felt and/or pipe cleaners threaded through holes in the sides)

*Always make sure sensory bottles and bags are well sealed for safety. And never use toxic items!

Toddler & Preschool Sensory Ideas

  • Shredded paper 
  • Coloured sand 
  • Rocks, pebbles, stones (be aware of mouthing/choking hazards) 
  • Bring nature indoors with soil and grass clippings  Artificial grass (e.g. Easter basket filling) 
  • Cotton balls 
  • Beads in a variety of sizes (be aware of mouthing/choking hazards) 
  • Ice (with items frozen in it, try colouring the water before freezing) 
  • Goop 
  • Clean Mud
  • Dirt Dough
  • Soapy Slime

Clean Mud Recipe

  • 3 cups of baking soda 
  • up to 1 cup of water

To make clean mud all you need is baking soda and water. In a bowl slowly add water to the baking soda until you have a mud-like texture. Be sure to add the water slowly, as it is easy to add too much. The key is to add a little at a time and mix, slowly adding more water until you have the desired mud-texture. If you do add too much water just add more baking soda and mix it well. The mud is squishy, yet moldable and super soft.

Dirt Dough Recipe

  • baking soda
  • brown or black food coloring 
  • water

Similar in preparation to Clean Mud. Add the desired amount of baking soda to a sensory bin or container. Add several drops of black watercolour or food colouring, and then slowly add water and mix. Continue to slowly add more water until the desired consistency is reached. If you accidentally add too much water, just add more baking soda.