Cold winter weather tends to also mean a lot more playing inside. Cue all the sensory activities! Sensory activities are great for toddlers because they help them explore their senses and develop independence and creativity. The next time your child is bored and cooped up indoors, try a few of these sensory activities.
Sensory bins are great because they are easy to set up and keep toddlers entertained for long periods of time. To make a sensory bin, fill a plastic container with rice, dry noodles, kinetic sand, shaving cream, or water. Toss a few utensils like measuring spoons, small cups, and a whisk along with some toys like plastic animals or pom poms. Then let your child play!
You can show them how to scoop or mix for a bit, but then let your child take over. They will quickly figure out how to have fun with the supplies you’ve given them, giving you time to cook dinner or make a phone call uninterrupted.
Sensory smell bottles
Another sensory activity that kids might enjoy is sensory smell bottles. Fill empty plastic or glass bottles with different scented items such as coffee grounds, ground cinnamon, garlic powder, a cotton ball with peppermint oil on it, or coconut oil. Then have your child take turns smelling each bottle. Talk about what each one smells like, which ones are their favorite scents, etc. If your child is old enough to know the scents, you can invite them to guess them too.
Nature-inspired sensory play
Not all sensory play has to take place indoors! Nature is filled with countless opportunities to smell, hear, and feel God’s creation! Playing restaurant or coffee shop is a good way to get some sensory play in. You can crush dead leaves to make spices, pick up rocks with tongs, or use sticks to stir pretend tea. Toddlers are creative, so you can say something like, “I’ll be the customer and you be the cook” and let them lead from there. Before too long they’ll be inventing dishes, taking your order, and telling you your bill.