175 Sensory Activity Ideas for Kids (2024)

By Sharla Kostelyk

(This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosure policy.)

Sensory activity ideas don’t have to be complicated to be effective. These suggestions can easily be done without a lot of prep work in the home or in the classroom. Sensory exploration is beneficial for all children, but for children with Sensory Processing Disorder, it is a critical piece of the puzzle for better sensory integration, preventing sensory meltdowns, and successfully navigating the world around them.

175 Sensory Activity Ideas for Kids (1)

To make the list less overwhelming and also to help you focus on specific sensory areas, I have divided the ideas by sensory systems, though there will be some overlap.

  • use noise reduction headphones
  • use a sound machine or white noise such as a fan or fountain
  • simplify language when giving verbal instruction
  • play clapping games (you can find great ones on YouTube)
  • read books with rhyming or repetitive patterns
  • snap,clap or stomp
  • play a sound discrimination game (near, far, loud, soft, high, low)
  • blindfold child and call out directions for them to find a treasure
  • audiobooks
  • play a game where you quietly sit and listen to find as many sounds as you can
  • listen to music
  • have your child learn to play an instrument
  • go for a walk and listen to sounds in nature
  • make instruments out of household items and have a marching parade around the house
  • teach your child to anticipate noises that may occur such as the sound a balloon will make when it pops
  • drum patterns on the table with your hands and have your child copy the pattern
  • make a rainfall rattle together or rainfall sensory bottle
  • egg shakers can be held in the palm of the hand and provide a calming sound for some kids
  • use microphones or voice changers
  • play games such as “Simon Says” that involve following directions
  • pop bubble wrap
  • the steady tick of a metronome can be calming
  • add jingle bells, whistles, harmonicas, or plastic eggs filled with rice or popcorn seeds to sensory bins
  • have them close their eyes and guess the sound (ripping paper, grinding coffee beans, popping popcorn)
  • play the telephone game where you whisper something and see if the message changes
  • blow bubbles (lavender bubbles are extra calming)
  • chew bubble gum
  • bubble painting
  • keep a feather in the air across the room
  • drink a thick milkshake or smoothie through a straw
  • whistle
  • learn to play on a recorder
  • play a harmonica
  • party blower
  • suck it up” (pick up small objects by sucking through a straw)
  • drink through a curly straw
  • wear chewelry
  • try crunchy foods (carrot sticks, apples…)
  • try chewy foods (marshmallows, gummy bears…)
  • make an edible necklace with Os cereal and string liquorice
  • suck on hard candies (not safe for young kids)
  • try candy that is fizzy, spicy, tangy, sweet, or sour
  • blow up a balloon
  • blow out candles
  • use a vibrating toothbrush
  • whistle or hum
  • lick cold ice cream
  • drink through a sports bottle
  • blow a pinwheel
  • use a firm toothbrush to brush teeth, gums, roof of mouth
  • use visual schedules
  • I-Spy books or pages
  • sensory bottles
  • sensory bags
  • reducing clutter
  • using toy rotation
  • mazes
  • sensory bins
  • I-Spy bottles or bags
  • making shadow puppets on the wall
  • shape matching games or activities
  • photo scavenger hunt
  • colour mixing activities
  • road trip Bingo
  • colour matching activities
  • glow sticks
  • lava lamp
  • puzzles
  • prism
  • kaleidoscope
  • spraying a target with a water gun
  • exploring with a magnifying glass
  • drawing or painting or crafting
  • light table or light box play
  • find or copy patterns
  • sensory bins
  • shaving cream finger painting
  • trace letters, shapes or numbers in salt
  • playdough
  • kinetic sand
  • cloud dough
  • fidgets
  • sensory bottles or bags
  • jump in a pile of leaves in the Fall
  • sculpt out of clay
  • make slime
  • water beads
  • play in the mud
  • finger paint with pudding
  • bubble bath
  • bathtub paints
  • make tactile sensory cards
  • make a sensory cube
  • sensory balls
  • playdough mats
  • cotton ball throw painting
  • rainbow soap foam
  • fill balloons with different things like rice, water beads, flour, playdough
  • sensory walk
  • use glue to create raised lines
  • sand table or sandbox

175 Sensory Activity Ideas for Kids (2)

  • spin or twirl
  • play Ring Around the Rosie
  • play Duck Duck Goose
  • cartwheel
  • summersault
  • rock
  • climbing wall
  • parachute play
  • trampoline play
  • bike or tricycle riding
  • run in large circles
  • jump rope
  • have a marching parade
  • Chinese skipping
  • ride a scooter
  • dancing
  • teeter totter
  • log rolling
  • dancing
  • spinning chair
  • bounce on an exercise ball or large hopper ball
  • swinging
  • do handstand
  • go through an obstacle course
  • swing in a hammock
  • climbing and sliding at a playground
  • do the Hokey-Pokey
  • jump
  • hang upside down
  • tight hugs
  • push a laundry basket full of books
  • crab walk
  • “wheelbarrow” games
  • pretend to be a snake
  • cotton ball throw painting
  • rolling a ball
  • chewing bubble gum
  • chewelry
  • theraband activities
  • chair sit-ups or wall push-ups
  • bubble wrap body slam painting
  • play Twister
  • hopscotch
  • trampoline games
  • wearing tight fitting clothing
  • yoga stretches
  • tap foot
  • put theraband on chairs for swinging legs
  • Move ’n’ Sit cushion
  • pillow fights
  • stacking books or wood or bricks
  • wearing a weighted vest or shoulder roll

Find sensory activity suggestions for the home and classroom and so much more in Sensory Processing Explained: a Handbook for Parents and Educators.

You can also get these ideas in convenient printable lists which are ideal for using in the home, classroom or in a therapeutic setting.

175 Sensory Activity Ideas for Kids (4)

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175 Sensory Activity Ideas for Kids (2024)

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