9 Sensory Activities for Curious Babies and Toddlers (2024)

Babies and toddlers have incredibly busy hands and extremely curious minds, which is why sensory activities are such a great way to entertain little ones. You can encourage your child to practice fine motor skills, patience, and even self-soothing skills—all while they’re happily occupied. We’ve rounded up a few great examples of DIY sensory bins and bags that encourage toddlers and babies to explore the world around them.

DIY Busy Board Sensory Activity for Toddlers

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Image and activity via Craft Her Way

DIY Busy boards are a fantastic sensory activity for toddlers because they’re so versatile and can be used to nurture all sorts of skills and curiosities. They present tons of familiar household items (think: light switches, zips, and knobs) in a safe and accessible way. Busy boards give very young kids the chance to explore everyday objects without the risk of getting hurt or making a mess.

Quiet Time Sensory Books for Toddlers

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Image and activity via The Yellow Birdhouse

Sensory books merge sensory play with rest because they encourage exploration at a slow and quiet pace. Plus they’re easy to stick in the diaper bag for on-the-go entertainment! They can include a wide variety of textures, colours, and themes (one of our favourite ideas: print family photos on felt for a personal touch in each book). We love this resource that includes 45 different templates that are sure to activate your child’s curiosity.

Gardening Sensory Bins

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Image and activity via Mama Papa Bubba

As much as it might pain us grown-ups, letting our kids getmessy can be a good thing! Of course, some kids might need some coaxing before they (literally) get their hands dirty. That’s why we love this sensory bin for budding gardeners. With a simple plastic bin, some potting soil, and a few tools and toys, you can help your little one to discover how much fun it can be to play in nature.

Decorating Robots Sensory Bags

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Image and activity via JDaniel4’s Mom

This sensory activity doubles as a way to inspire get a little quiet time. Toddlers will immerse themselves in decorating their robots over and over again via the smooth gliding sensation of pushing beads and buttons through hair gel. You can tape these sensory bags to a wall or window or place it on a cookie sheet for tabletop play.

Zigzag Sensory Bags

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Image and activity via Best Toys 4 Toddlers

Creating a sensory bag with Elmer’s glue, some food colouring, glitter, or any other fun combinations can make learning so much fun. You can encourage your child to practice fine motor skills with this Zigzag project by drawing simple lines on the bag and ask your child to trace them. Step it up and draw letters and numbers, even working up to spelling out your child’s name. Use washable markers to easily wipe off the lines when you’re done.

Dino Dig Sensory Activity for Toddlers

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Image and activity via Little Bins for Little Hands

If your little ones love dinosaurs, then this sensory activity is for you. With only a few items, you can create a super engrossing dinosaur dig that will keep your kiddo digging, discovering, and playing longer than the stone age lasted. Piggyback on their sensory play by reading books about the giant creatures that once roamed the earth.

Crunch Box Sensory Activity for Toddlers

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Image and activity via Busy Toddler

This sensory activity is awesome for toddlers who love to make messes. Grab a box and fill it with cereal— or any dry foods that you need to get rid of from your pantry. Hand your child a hammer (plastic, natch) and other tools (think: rolling pin, potato masher), and let your kiddo get to work making amazing crunching sounds!

Ribbon Box Sensory Activity for Babies

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Image and activity via Teaching Mama

Babies as young as 6 months love to sensory play as much as bigger kids. This ribbon box idea is simple to make, safe, and loads of fun for tiny tots who already adore grabbing everything in sight. Use brightly coloured or patterned ribbons to add some visual flair.

Drum Circle Sensory Activity for Babies

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Image and activity via Play Create Explore

Mum and dad may want to grab some earplugs for this one. Pull out all of your pots and pans and create a circle. Then set your baby in the middle and let them bang on the bottoms of the pots to make their own music. If they are able to sit up, hand them a wooden spoon and see how many different sounds you can make.

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9 Sensory Activities for Curious Babies and Toddlers (2024)


What is sensory play for babies and toddlers? ›

Sensory play is any activity that stimulates our senses – touch, sight, hearing, smell and taste. It helps children interact with and make sense of the world that surrounds them.

Why are sensory activities important for toddlers? ›

Sensory play has an important role in your child's development. Not only does it help your child engage their five senses—sight, smell, hearing, touch, and taste—but it also boosts their language skills and motor skills. Sensory play also promotes exploration, creativity, curiosity, and problem-solving.

What activity encourages curiosity? ›

Here are some daily activities that can help you be curious: Give yourself time to simply think and run through possibilities. Read, watch, or listen to something new. Go on a walk and let your mind wander.

How do you stimulate curiosity in children? ›

Here are 8 tips to nurture and develop children's curiosity:
  1. Show them the world. ...
  2. Spend time together as a family. ...
  3. Encourage friends and family to give experiences rather than gifts. ...
  4. Wonder aloud. ...
  5. Encourage natural interest. ...
  6. Ask open-ended questions. ...
  7. Prompt thinking. ...
  8. Let kids be kids.
May 15, 2020

What are some examples of sensory play? ›

Some examples of sensory play includes exploring colour with rainbow rice, exploring texture with fluffy soap foam, or exploring smell with apple scented playdough. Many activities even explore more than one of the 5 sense; taste, hear, smell, touch and see!

What is sensory stimulation for babies? ›

For young children, sensory play includes any activity that stimulates a child's sense of touch, smell, taste, sight, movement, and hearing. This kind of play helps create connections in the brain that allow for more complex thoughts and tasks.

How do you do sensory play with a baby? ›

It is how they gain knowledge of themselves and learn about the world”. When your baby is alert and you're ready to play, sensory activities that you can do at home include cuddling, reading stories, listening to music, and exploring interesting shapes, colourful objects and toys.

What is sensory play activities? ›

What is sensory play? Sensory play is a type of play that activates and stimulates a child's senses. Often, sensory play focuses on stimulating touch, sight, and hearing as those senses are most accessible.

How does sensory play calm children? ›

Play With A Purpose

"It fosters the development of essential skills in all children, supporting their growth and learning. Sensory toys that offer tactile sensations, soothing sounds, and visual features can effectively promote relaxation and reduce anxiety in children."

What are sensory activities good for? ›

What is the importance of sensory play? The importance of sensory play cannot be understated. By encouraging the use of all of a child's senses (sight, touch, hearing, taste, smell, motion, and balance) through play, you can support cognitive growth, language development, gross and fine motor skills, and much more.

Why is sensory play calming? ›

When used repeatedly throughout a child's day and week, sensory inputs help to calm their lower brain systems and provide a foundation for social engagement (relate) and higher-level thinking (reason). Examples of sensory inputs include: weighted blankets and toys.

Why is messy play important? ›

Messy play harnesses children's spontaneous exploration to help them learn. Children develop curiosity, initiative, focus and persistence through messy play. These are foundational skills in the 'Approaches to Learning' domain of ELOF, which identifies learning strategies.

When should I do baby sensory? ›

Baby Sensory, the multi-award winning programme for babies from birth to 13 months. Founder of Baby Sensory, Hello Baby and Toddler Sense Dr Lin Day (PhD, M.

What is an example of curiosity approach? ›

The Curiosity Approach supports different ideas and activities, such as outdoor play, allowing children to be curious, splash in puddles, play with mud & sticks, collect natural findings, and make them into resources (thinking out of the box).

What is an example of curiosity? ›

Examples of curiosity in a Sentence
  • Her natural curiosity led her to ask more questions.
  • The arrival of a construction crew at their house attracted the curiosity of their neighbors.
  • The movie failed to satisfy her curiosity about the assassination.
  • Tobacco was once a curiosity in Europe.
Apr 8, 2024

What is an activity for infants? ›

Most newborns love to be on the move, so swaying or dancing gently with them in your arms or in a carrier can be a great activity for you and your baby. And even if you can't carry a tune, baby will love listening to the sound of your voice as you sing along.

What are the three types of curiosity? ›

Cognitive scientists have identified three types of curiosity:
  • Diversive curiosity: the attraction to everything novel, which is with us from early childhood.
  • Epistemic curiosity: a desire to learn and understand.
  • Empathic curiosity: an interest in the thoughts and feelings of others.


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