Outside we can smell falling leaves, hear them crackling under our feet and see the beautiful colors nature has given. We know the benefits of sensory play are many and are crucial to brain development as children use their senses to investigate and make sense of the world around them!
The wonderful thing is that sensory items are all around us! We do not need to spend tons of time and money preparing sensory activities! Chances are you have things around the house to create fun sensory opportunities for children.
When cooking, give children an opportunity to smell, feel or even taste some of the items you use. Wheat flour feels very different than corn starch, salt or oatmeal. Cinnamon smells very different than garlic powder or vanilla extract.
Sensory bottles are something easy to make with children. Put beans, rice, beads, tooth picks or dry macaroni in plastic water bottles. These can be used with any age as long as they are securely glued or taped shut to reduce choking hazards. If you use dry rice and toothpicks together, it will sound like rain. For some more ideas on discovery bottles, check out Imagination Tree.
If you want to make some different kinds of playdough, try baby oil and flour! Moon sand is also a favorite - 4 cups white sand, 2 cups corn flour and 1 cup water. Another idea is to put child safe shaving cream on a table or mat for sensory fun. For more play dough recipes check out Kids Activities Blog.
Something different would be giving children an opportunity to walk or jump on bubble wrap of different sizes, foam pieces or feathers. These feel funny with bare feet!
The most important thing is to talk with your children about the different senses they have and are using in their world. Let children use their senses to create, investigate, explore and most importantly - have fun!