Naturally Occurring Sensory Play

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A few days ago when my daughter was playing in the leaves outside I started to think about sensory play. Sensory play is one of the newest buzzwords. If you go on Pinterest you will see dozens of “sensory” activities. I have to admit some of them look fun even for an adult. Other times I feel overwhelmed with all of the recipes for homemade play dough, intricate sensory bins and endless crafts. There is nothing wrong with doing these activities and I’ve tried some myself. But I also want to remind you that kids get naturally occurring sensory input all the time. So don’t stress if you can’t always provide Pinterest worthy activities for your children every day. It may be time to put down the electronics and go outside, the best sensory place there is! 


Here is a list of naturally occurring sensory play:

  • Bath Time, Jumping in Puddles, Swimming (anything with water)
  • Playing with Play-Doh
  • Digging and Playing in Sand, Dirt, Grass, or Snow
  • Cuddling Stuffed Animals, Blankets, or Pillows
  • Drawing with Fingerpaint
  • Jumping in a Pile of Leaves
  • Non-electronic Toys such as Blocks, Puffer Balls, Rattles
  • Meal Time and Eating Foods With Different Textures
  • Dancing and Singing to Music
  • My Favorite – Pulling Out of the Clothes From the Folded Laundry Basket 

When you are preparing a sensory activity for your child think about the different senses it reaches. Any activity that stimulates a child’s senses (touch, taste, smell, sight, or sound) can be considered sensory play. As a mom, I believe it’s okay if you don’t have time to create the perfect sensory bin.  Your children may be stimulating their senses without you even knowing it. 

Can you think of any other activities to add to the list? 

A list of naturally occurring sensory play for your toddler and children.

In the interest of full disclosure, some of the links in this post are affiliate links.  They are all for products I truly believe in and buy for myself.  If you decide to purchase any of these products through these links, I will earn a small commission.  All prices are the same if you decide to purchase through my links.   Thank you for supporting Heart of Deborah!


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  1. Yes! All too often it seems moms are trying to overthink and overplan their kids activities… But we need to just let them play! Like you said, it’s ok to make some of these activities ourselves, but I think it’s also so so important to let kids be kids and discover the world for themselves too!

    1. I agree! I remember always bringing an extra pair of clothes to my grandparents house when we were little because we were always outside getting dirty. Sometimes we need to let go and let kids be kids 🙂

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