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50 Fun Ideas for No Prep Sensory Play

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Don’t you just love sensory play?

It’s magical stuff that can get a child in the grottiest of moods smiling.

Stompy angry kids are calmed. Bored whingers utterly absorbed. And even very little ones are happy to give you 10 minutes space to make tea.

And … a big AND … it is seriously NO prep!

Of course sensory play can be fancy and you can prep all sorts of stuff if you have time.

But on those days … like most! … when I’m back footed and winging it simple no prep sensory play is my best friend. Just grab a tub, tray, box, bowl, jar, bag, board, sauce pan, colander … whatever … and add stuff.

Stuff that can be pulled and stretched and scrunched and rubbed and poured and stirred and splodged and shaken and rattled and so so much more …

Sometimes the sensory play morphs way into other imaginative play or “science” or cooking or sticking or even maths but mostly it’s just enough to the textures, smells, sounds and even tastes!

And in case you need inspiration, here’s more than 50 ideas for stuff that you can offer in all sorts of combinations … both indoors and out … for sensory exploration …

50 No Prep Ideas for Sensory Play Activities

  1. Sand
  2. Rice
  3. Jelly / Jello
  4. Mud
  5. Dry pasta
  6. Flour & water …  it might end up as play dough, but it might not
  7. Paint
  8. Shaving foam
  9. Water beads
  10. Dish washing bubbles
  11. Cooked spaghetti
  12. Dry cereal
  13. Straw
  14. Tissue paper
  15. Shiny paper
  16. Furry material
  17. Pop corn
  18. Bubble wrap
  19. Sawdust
  20. Snow
  21. Fake snow
  22. “Moon sand”
  23. Food colouring
  24. Coffee beans
  25. Ice cubes
  26. Leaves
  27. Rocks
  28. Flowers
  29. Shells
  30. Sticks
  31. Beads
  32. Nuts
  33. Sequins
  34. Buttons
  35. Feathers
  36. Marbles
  37. Old or plastic jewellery
  38. Fir cones
  39. Conkers
  40. Snails – yes, real ones!
  41. Worms – yes, again real ones!
  42. Magnets with magnetic & non-magnetic objects
  43. Letters
  44. Colours
  45. Dinosaurs
  46. Bear hunt
  47. Farm animals
  48. Insects
  49. Sea side
  50. Oceans
  51. Pirate treasure
  52. Diggers and road works
  53. Boats
  54. Shredded color paper or “grass”
  55. Sensory balloons

I hope you find some ideas in here that you and your child love. Happy sensory playing!


Wednesday 4th of March 2015

Sensory play is such an integral part of children being able to explore their environment. These are all great ideas. Pinning! #whimsywednesday


Thursday 5th of March 2015

It's such fun isn't it and makes such a difference when everyone's in a lousy mood :-)

Hannah White

Tuesday 14th of May 2013

So glad you liked up this past week. I had "lost" how to find you ad had been wanting to link up to your various "empty your archives" link-ups! Hope to you again today at Eco-Kids Tuesday!

Mary Catherine

Sunday 12th of May 2013

I love, love, love sensory play both at home and at preschool! I am so honored to have my colorful explosions with jell-o included in your list! :) Thanks for linking up at Stress-Free Sunday last weekend. :)

Karyn Tripp

Friday 10th of May 2013

Great ideas!! I'll be featuring your post tomorrow on Share It Saturday. Thanks so much for linking up.

Beth Gorden

Friday 10th of May 2013

Lots of fun ideas =)

Thanks for sharing at TGIF!

Hope to see you linked up again today.Beth =)