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Sensory Play Ideas from the Pantry

August 30th, 2017 | 2 min. read

By Gryphon House

Introducing your baby or toddler to multisensory learning is as easy as opening your pantry! Pantry items like rice, pasta, and even Jell-O are accessible and affordable tools for introducing sensory play to your home or classroom.


Introducing your baby or toddler to multisensory learning—an integral component of early development—is as easy as opening your pantry! Simple, everyday kitchen items like rice, pasta, and even Jell-O are accessible, affordable, and great multisensory learning tools. 

Multisensory learning gives children the chance to explore their environments, express their creativity, develop their cognitive abilities, and even build social emotional skills.

Sensory play activities require very little set up, making it even easier for parents and teachers to get right to the most important part of sensory learning: a child’s growth! Whether parents and teachers are looking for baby sensory play ideas or sensory play ideas for toddlers, with a little imagination, the possibilities for fun and learning are endless.

Try these sensory play ideas from 50 Fantastic Things to Do with Babies and 50 Fantastic Things to do with Toddlers with your baby and toddler today.


Shake It All About!

What You Need:

  • Some things that rattle; for example, wrist rattles, tins containing beads or pasta, baby rattles, bells, boxes, purses with coins, snack tubes with small pebbles, zip lock bags with beads

What To Do:

  1. Collect a few rattling objects. Make sure they are light enough for your baby to hold and shake.
  2. Sit opposite your baby and pick up one of the rattles. Shake it to attract his attention.
  3. Shake the rattle rhythmically, saying, “Look, look, look. Shake, shake, shake.”
  4. Offer him the rattle, and wait for your baby to respond to it. Give it a little shake to tempt him.
  5. Try holding a rattle each and sharing the shaking.


Grab That

What You Need:

  • Rattles
  • Shakers (use purchased ones, or make your own with dried beans, beads, rice, and so on)
  • Small wooden spoons
  • Ribbons

What To Do:

  1. Sit opposite your baby and hold the rattle out so she can reach for it. Hold it in the midline of her vision so she can see it easily.
  2. Shake the rattle, call her name, and gently life her arm from the elbow toward the rattle or shaker. Help her grasp the rattle and shake it. Share her enjoyment of the sound.
  3. Tie the ribbons together in a bundle. Trail them through your baby’s outstretched hands. Encourage her to grasp the ribbons, or gently twine the ribbons over both of her hands.
  4. Offer your baby the wooden spoon to grab and hold. Hold the spoon with her and sing, “Shake, shake, shake; tap, tap, tap.”


Squeezy Peasy

What You Need:

  • A shallow bowl, a board, or a small tray
  • Squishy stuff, such as dough or cooked pasta

What To Do:

  1. Mix the dough or cook the pasta where your child can see, hear, and smell what you are doing. Leave cooked items to cool.
  2. Put some of the squishy stuff between you on the board or tray or in the bowl.
  3. Encourage your child to reach out and grab some of the stuff with both hands. Join in the fun!
  4. Talk about how it feels in your hands and between your fingers. Use words like squishy, slimy, and smushy.

A baby or younger child may bring the stuff toward his face. Don’t worry if he puts some in his mouth. However, don’t keep mixtures too long. Throw them away after use and make some more.