Rock Their Sensory Play
Let those little hands clutch, splosh, and pick their way through hands-on good times.
8. Go bananas with shaving cream.
Have your kids hop into a dry bathtub with their swimsuit on. Add a bowl of warm water, a giant pile of shaving foam, and some toys. (Kids under 5 will, obvi, need supervision.) Afterward, turn on the faucet and rinse it all away. —Lizzie Assa, founder of the Instagram account @the workspace for children
9. Free the bears.
Keep a preschool-age child engaged while refining their (kid-safe) scissor skills: Drop a small plastic bear (or LEGO figure or Shopkins character) into each cup of a muffin tin, trap them with painter’s tape, then tell your kid, “The bears were captured and need your help to escape!”
—Beth Rosenbleeth, founder of Dayswithgrey.com
10. Sort stuff.
Give your 4- or 5-year-old buttons or pom-poms and then encourage them to divide the items into a muffin tin by size, shape, or color. Kids love to organize and put things into piles, and working with very small objects helps them drop into a flow state.
—Dana Anderson, a Montessori teacher in Indian Rocks Beach, Florida
11. Assemble a sensory bin.
Fill a shallow storage container with a few pounds of dried black beans, then toss in some toys (plastic bugs, construction vehicles, action figures) for a tactile experience. Add cups, serving utensils, and funnels for scooping. When your child is done, snap on the lid and store the container for another day.
—Renu Blankinship, founder of the Instagram crafting account @makermint
These materials make great fillers too: rice, split peas, cotton balls, Easter grass, seashells, dried pasta, popcorn kernels, leaves, pom-poms, beads, or scraps of fabric. (If your little one is still mouthing objects, choose larger items to minimize the risk of choking.)