What is sensory play?

Sensory play includes any activity that involves your toddler’s senses. This includes touch, sight, sound, taste and smell. Sensory play also helps with your toddler’s growth and development by forming new connections in the brain.

How to create a sensory bin

A sensory bin is a container filled with objects of different colors and textures. There are 2 different types of sensory bins – dry bins and wet bins.

Explore one texture at a time for 20 minutes every day. Start with the objects below in the dry bin and work your way up to the wet bin. Your child is ready to move onto the next texture when they put their hands into the bin quickly and without spreading their fingers.

Dry sensory bin

  1. Plastic eggs
  2. Sponges or netted bath puffs
  3. Styrofoam peanuts used in packing
  4. Pom-poms made of yarn
  5. Different fabrics, such as cotton, lace or velvet
  6. Koosh® balls
  7. Dry beans
  8. Dry split peas or chickpeas
  9. Shreds of plastic grass or shiny Mylar®
  10. Feathers or a feather duster
  11. Dry oatmeal, rye flakes or rice
  12. Corn meal or sand
  13. Flour

Wet sensory bin

  1. Play-Doh® or homemade dough
  2. Water and ice in different colors and temperatures
  3. Bath foam or shaving cream
  4. Flour, corn starch or corn meal mixed with water
  5. Oatmeal mixed with water
  6. Papier-mâché or Plaster of Paris®

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Rev. 8/2018

Reviewed by the MGHfC Family Advisory Council

MassGeneral Hospital for Children and Massachusetts General Hospital do not endorse any of the brands listed on this handout. This handout is intended to provide health information so that you can be better informed. It is not a substitute for medical advice and should not be used to treatment of any medical conditions.