These spring sensory play ideas will leave your kids begging to head outside when they’re done
The days are warmer, the birds are chirping, and spring is finally here. And while we love seeing all the blooms, bugs, and muddy puddles just waiting for jumpers to take a leap popping up all over the place, we’re not quite sure we want to invite all those natural elements into our house (especially that rainy day mud). But not to worry, kids can celebrate the season with spring sensory play ideas that focus on all the outdoor elements they love without messing up the place. Want to know a secret? You can pull these bins out anytime the kids need some quiet time to play. They work well in any season.
1. Muddy Truck Sensory Bin
If you're not up for playing in actual mud, make your own! This sensory bin from Mama. Papa. Bubba is safe for kids to sneak a taste of and smells delicious. Why? Because it's made with cocoa powder! Mix cocoa powder with cornstarch and water until you get a muddy, uniform texture (toddlers will love to help stir), and then drop in some trucks. Littles can move the trucks around so they make muddy tracks, as well as exploring the texture of the mud with their fingers. As play continues, you can add small scoopers and measuring cups for new ways to experience the mud. The plastic container helps contain the mess, but you may want to lay down a towel or plastic tablecloth underneath.
2. Rainbow Water Beads
Pop by any preschool classroom and you’re likely to find kids and parents equally enamored with water beads. Something about their squishy texture just screams “play with me!” However, because they aren’t edible, sharing them with young children means getting creative. Meri Cherry has the great idea to fill resealable bags with these beads, seal ‘em up with duct tape, and let your little one squish, mush and roll to their heart’s content (under your supervision, of course).
3. Nature Sensory Bag Suncatcher
Nature lovers will be entranced by this eye-catching sensory bag from Hands On As We Grow. Head out to your backyard or local park to gather pretty leaves and flowers, and then craft the suncatcher with your child. You'll find instructions on the website.
4. Super Seeds
From our friends at Fun at Home with Kids comes this edible, safe-for-little-mouths activity uses basil seeds instead of the more common water beads. Plus, what could be more spring than seeds? These seeds absorb water, resulting in a squishy, jelly-like consistency, and can be dyed any color you like. From there, your little one can scoop, pour, fill, empty, press, swirl, and more—all without you worrying about a choking hazard. To really bring spring alive in this bin, be sure to add fun touches like plastic farm animals, tractor toys, and even fabric flowers to the mix.
5. Texture Eggs
If you have plastic Easter eggs, put them to good use with this fun idea from Little Bins for Little Hands Inside each egg, place a balloon filled with items of different textures, such as rice, baking soda or flour. Head to Little Bins for what you'll need, plus an easy way to fill up the balloons.
6. Chicks and Flowers Sensory Bin
We love this cheery sensory bin idea from In the Playroom incorporates straw and little chicks. The littles can practice their counting, hide the chicks in the straw, and feel the different textures.
7. Insects and Bugs
Little ones who don't mind getting their hands dirty will love searching for insects and bugs in this dirt-filled sensory bin from Learn, Play Imagine. Be sure to use larger plastic bugs (that aren't choking hazards) for your baby.
8. Spring Sensory Bin
Still have that filler from your Easter baskets? Place it in a plastic bin along with plastic Easter eggs and cotton balls, and let your baby spring into action. Find out more at These Are the Days.
9. All the Colors of the Rainbow
Does your little one put everything in their mouth? Katie of Happily Ever Mom shows you how to turn regular bread into a rainbow-colored activity for your little one to crunch, smash and have fun manipulating. Because it's edible, you don't have to worry about baby taking a nibble.