Young children love to explore their world by touching, tasting, smelling, hearing, and seeing. Providing a variety of sensory experiences can have a positive effect on children’s learning. The benefits of sensory play include language development, fine motor skills, body awareness, creative thinking, and much more. Summer is a great time to help children explore their senses. Here are six sensory activities you can incorporate into your lesson plans or encourage families to do at home.

1. Scented Rice

If you’re looking for sensory play ideas, there are a variety of things you can do with summer-scented rice. After you make the scented rice, put it in buckets and encourage children to explore each type of rice individually before putting all of the rice together in a sensory tray or large bin. Add some scoops, buckets, and other accessories, and children will love exploring the scent, texture, and color of the rice.


2. Ice Experiments

There are a variety of ways you can incorporate ice into sensory play:

  • Take ice cubes outside and see how long it takes for them to melt.
  • Add food coloring to water to create colored ice cubes.
  • Freeze water in water balloons to make ice balls.

Experimenting with ice is a great way to cool down during the summer months!

3. Watermelon Sensory Bags/Suncatchers

Add hair gel, red food coloring, and black seeds (made from foam) into sandwich bags. Get rid of any air in the bags and seal them closed. You may want to add clear packing tape at the top of each bag for extra reinforcement. Have children squeeze and rub the bags until everything is mixed together. Add a piece of green tape to the top to represent the rind, and then tape the watermelon sensory bags in your window as suncatchers.


4. Puddles of Water

Take sensory play outdoors by turning your students into puddle jumpers! After it’s rained, take children outside and find rain puddles they can stomp their feet in and jump over.

5. Pool Noodle Stampers

Cut pool noodles into smaller pieces. Try to find noodles of different shapes and sizes. Give children the noodle pieces, and encourage them to wet them with water and stamp the pavement. How much water does it take for the shape to come out clearly? How long does it take for the sun to make the stamps disappear?


6. Sensory Sands

Explore different type of sands with your students! Our Jurassic Sensory Sands include knot sand, quick sand, riverbed sand, and garnet sand. Put the different types of sand in bins or a sand and water table, and encourage children to play in the sand. Ask them how they would describe each type of sand.

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