Sensory Development

Tactile Spider Webs

On a sheet of black card stock, use a pencil to draw a spider web. Using regular Elmer's glue or glitter glue, trace the spider web outline. Once it dries, your child can feel the web with her fingertips. You can also make your glue creation on waxed paper and peel it off once it dries to make a perfect home for a plastic spider or two.(read more)

Finger Painting with Table Salt

Pour a lot of salt onto a cookie sheet and have your child practice their numbers or ABCs with their finger.(read more)


Halloween Goo

Combine the ingredients listed to make a squishable, oozy material. This is great at Halloween! It can be placed in a wicker basket in a doorway, and it will ooze out. Or place it in a container and have kids feel it while blindfolded. If the material gets on clothes, vinegar will take it out. If it gets in hair, use mayonnaise to break it ...(read more)

Homemade Sand

Make sand at home! Half the fun is creating, and half is playing with the material. Mix all listed ingredients together in a plastic bin, and then give your child small containers, shovels, funnels so that they can dump and fill. Toy cars and bulldozers are also a lot of fun. (read more)

Homemade Playdough -- No Cooking Required!

Into a large bowl, put 3 cups flour, 1 cup salt, 2 tablespoons of warm water, and 1 and 1/2 cups vegetable oil. Knead all ingredients together and form into balls (this is a great sensory development skill for younger children). Then gently work in a few drops of food coloring to create colored playdough. You can mix colors together to teach children about using primary ...(read more)

Bathtub Painting

Mix the same amounts of Dr. Bronner's or similar soap and corn starch. Divide in several containers and add food coloring. Paint the tub with a brush or fingers! (read more)


Texture Walk

Take a texture walk with your child or children. Use the outdoors to take advantage of an excellent learning opportunity for your little ones. Take a walk and look for things that are soft like sand, dirt, etc. Look for pine cones or rocks that are hard and rough or smooth. Look at tree leaves or flowers that are smooth, flat or detailed. The conversation ...(read more)

Ziploc Bag Painting

A fun way to teach colors and color mixing (red and white make pink, etc) with less mess. Take large storage bags and have your child pour a little paint, just one color, in the bag (if you have paint with squirt tops, that's even better!). Then, have them choose another color and have them guess what color it will make. Pastel paints work great because they ...(read more)

Perfect Putty

Here is a fun recipe for putty, an excellent sensory tool that your child can have fun with! Perfect Putty Recipe: 1. Mix 1 part liquid starch and 2 parts white glue. Experiment with the amounts until it reaches the consistency of putty. 2. The more glue that is added, the more flexible the material; the more liquid starch added, the more brittle or stiff the ...(read more)

Sawdust Clay

Combine dry materials, and then add enough water to make the mixture moist. Mold into shapes using fingers and kitchen tools or silverware. Allow to dry. The shapes will become very hard. A great tactile activity! (read more)


Magic Mud

This is a fun and messy project for kids. Get out as many bowls as you want colors. Fill each bowl with a several heaping spoonfuls of corn starch, mix with a little water and food coloring. Keep adding water until it's soupy. If you let it sit even for a second it will start to harden, as soon as it gets moved with hands or ...(read more)


One of my kids favorite activities is making Flubber. Flubber is a great afternoon activity that will keep the kids busy for quite a while. In two separate bowls mix the following -- Bowl 1: 3/4 cup warm water, 1 cup Elmers glue, food coloring; Bowl 2: 2 tsp Borax, 1/2 cup warm water Make sure that both bowls are mixed well ...(read more)

Animal Feet

We invented this game for one of our children who has sensory integration issues. At bedtime, have your child lay flat on his or her back or tummy. Let your child tell you which type of animal feet he or she would like to "walk" on their body. Elephant feet are fists that put heavy pressure up and down legs, arms and tummy. Little mouse feet ...(read more)


Guess that Food

Collect several items of food that are familiar to your child. For example, a round cookie, a piece of broccoli, a stick of string cheese, a peach, etc. Blindfold your little one and ask him or her to guess what they are holding. Give them hints such as touch it, smell it, taste it! Great for sensory development and critical thinking.(read more)


Homemade Playdough

Mix together the flour, salt, water, food coloring, cream or tartar, and cooking oil in a large saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. Cook until the mixture forms a large 'ball' and pulls away from the sides of the pan. Remove the ball from the heat. Once it is cool to touch, knead it until it is smooth. Your playdough will then be ready for playtime ...(read more)

Colored Jello Fun

Follow the directions to create clear gelatin (Knox is a common brand). Then fill up an ice tray with the clear gelatin liquid and put a few drops of different food coloring liquid in each cup. Cool according to the package directions. Once the gelatin has cooled, put one or several 'cubes' into a clear plastic bag and seal with duct tape. Your kids will have a ...(read more)

Finger Painting with Pudding

Prepare pudding and tape paper to a table. Feel free to add food coloring to make a more colorful 'paint.' Give each child his or her own container of pudding, then let them use their fingers to paint on the paper. In addition to creating a pudding masterpiece, you can also teach your children about the five senses by talking about how the pudding feels between their fingers, ...(read more)

Rainbow Stew

Stir together 1 cup cornstarch, 4 cups water, and 1/3 cup sugar in a medium saucepan. Heat on the stove until thick. Remove from heat and wait for it to cool. Pour the mixture into sandwich-size ziploc bags, filling each one halfway. Scatter drops of different food coloring into each bag, and have the kids squish the bags to turn the mixture different colors.(read more)

Tactile Fun with Textures

Using different textured materials (e.g. corduroy, silk, wool, etc.), cut out 4X4 squares of the materials and then punch hole in one corner. Hang all of the fabrics together on a single shower curtain ring. Babies can use this to explore different textures, toddlers can find new descriptive words for the feel of the various materials, and 5 and 6 year olds can close their eyes and guess the fabric, as ...(read more)

Texture Book

Help your child create a book on different textures using materials around the house. Some textures that you can explore are smooth, rough, crinkly, soft, hard, and sticky. Materials that you can use to illustrate these textures can be cotton, sandpaper, aluminum foil, wrapping paper, tape or fabric. Make a blank book by folding several pieces of paper in half together (if you have a big enough stapler, you can ...(read more)

Sensory Adventure

When your baby is about 6 months old, take him on a tactile tour of your neighborhood. Put him in a Baby Bjorn or some other type of carrier (I found this easier than a stroller) and take a walk, pausing at points that might be interesting to touch for your child. Tree bark, lamp posts, leaves, branches, metal sign posts, and much more will be a sensory adventure for ...(read more)

Ball Match

Cut a hole in the side of a shoe box. Make sure the hole is big enough for your child's hand to fit inside. Put a tennis ball, golf ball, ping-pong ball, and a styrofoam ball inside the box and replace the lid. On the table next to the box, have another tennis ball, ping-pong ball, golf ball, and styrofoam ball that are identical to the balls ...(read more)

Being Savvy Today

Tips for Choosing "After-Preschool" Activities and Classes


More and more, it seems, there are so many different kinds of activities and classes geared to the little ones. Deciding which ones to try and which to pass on sometimes gets confusing. There are all the wonderful music classes that encourage you to bring your baby before

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