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Children love getting their hands dirty. Making mud pies is especially satisfying. While it can be a messy affair, sensory play is important for young children. Sensory Play is an activity that stimulates the senses and it’s a very important part of children’s early education as it encourages healthy cognitive and physical development. Plus, sensory play for kids has numerous benefits and can be very efficient in supporting children’s mental health. But, if you’ve exhausted playing with mud, we have a fun list of suggestions you can do all year round. 

These great sensory play ideas and activities are the sort of things our GrandNannies are doing with children. They’re simple and easy to set up and fun for both child and adult!

Rainbow Spaghetti

Playing with food is a great way to encourage kids to explore and learn about textures. Plus, they’ll learn there’s more to food than just tasting it. Some children feel anxious and suspicious of unknown food and sensory play can help make them feel more comfortable and calm. Some ideas for sensory play with food include colourful spaghetti. Simply boil a normal batch of spaghetti and add different colourings to your children’s liking. Fancy making a spaghetti rainbow? You can totally do that. 

Sensory Fidgets 

Push Pop Sensory Fidgets are great for sensory play and also for practising mindfulness. They are fabulous toys that will enhance your kids’ senses and help them develop some cognitive and motor skills. They help relieve feelings of stress and anxiety and are beneficial for children with ADHD, sensory processing disorders and autistic children. There are many different shapes available, which is sure to increase your child’s interest and observational abilities. This toy is so fun, you’ll want one yourself.


We couldn’t write this list of sensory play ideas for kids and not include Playdough. It’s a classic. But, why not try making Playdough at home? All you need is flour, water and some salt. Here is an easy-to-do recipe for you to try. Playdough provides loads of options when it comes to sensory play as your child can let their imagination run wild! You can encourage the use of different shapes to carve into the dough or create a project for using dough for modelling. Dividing the dough into sections and painting it different colours will add an extra layer of fun and your kids will have a great time developing their creativity, and imagination and enhancing their senses. 

Playing with Slime

Similar to playdough, slime is great for sensory play! Why not try making the perfect batch of slime with your kids? Just the right consistency that’s not too sticky. You can then divide it and colour it however you like. Playing with slime increases your child’s ability to pay attention. When kids are busy with their hands it’s easier for them to open up to their other senses such as hearing and touch. Slime play is great for mindfulness and increasing your kid’s motor skills as it involves loads of squeezing, rolling, pressing and mixing. 

Sensory Play with Bubbles

Blowing bubbles is great fun! But an easy way to play with bubbles is by setting up a bubble machine. It will keep your kids active by getting them to run around and it’s thoroughly enjoyable. It is one of the popular sensory activities for kids. You can try to engage your kids by asking them questions about the different colours they see in each bubble and also what direction they’re going in. Bubble play is good for developing social skills and motor skills. It’s a great idea to practise this somewhere outside on a sunny day as then your children will be able to enjoy being out in nature.



There are many ways in which children learn and develop essential skills and one of the most efficient ways is play-based learning. It has numerous benefits which are essential for early childhood development and it creates a good foundation for pre-school and school development later on. As you can see there are numerous budget-friendly and easy to prepare sensory play activities for children. Getting messy and enjoying working with different textures, materials, shapes and colours is all essential for enhancing your child’s senses. 

These sensory play ideas for kids are great activities children can do with their GrandNanny. GrandNanny offers grandparent-style childcare, which means all our GrandNannies are up for getting their hands dirty and encouraging creativity. With intergenerational care at the heart of our service, we believe activities like these can enrich the time children and GrandNanny share together.