Sensory play means any activity that stimulates a child’s senses: touch, smell, taste, movement, balance, sight and hearing. Sensory activities are activities built on the concept of sensory exploration. These activities encourage children to use scientific processes while they play, create, investigate and explore the world around them or any specific thing. The sensory activities create stronger connections in children's brains in response to sensory information. These make the children's thresholds for different sensory information more sensitive.
The benefits of sensory play are:
Sensory play increase a child’s ability to complete more complex learning tasks.
Sensory play supports language development, cognitive growth, development of fine and gross motor skills, problem solving skills, and social interaction.
It helps in making children calm themselves down.
One of the best things for sensory play are water beads. They are colorful, smooth, squishy and cool to touch. And super easy to prep.. just hydrate them overnight. If your toddler stills mouths stuff then I won’t suggest them.
This is an inexpensive water bead packet, useful for sensory play, and that also doubles up as home decor, like for potted plants.
Some ways to play with water beads are:
Pretend Play , Touch
First let your child just play with them by touching them, squishing them and scooping them in a bowl and then “cooking” them. You can have a tea party with some pretend or doll guests.
Let your child do a color sorting activity using a scoop or tweezers. Provide the child with divided containers or muffin tins to sort the beads into corresponding color sections.
Make an ice cream cone with a DIY paper cone.
Fine Motor Skills Activities
Put the beads in a Ziploc bag and let your child have super fun squashing them with a toy hammer.
Water Bead Sensory Bin
Create a sensory bin by filling a large container with water beads. Add scoops, cups, and various toys to encourage scooping, pouring, and imaginative play.
Water Bead Alphabet Hunt
Hide small plastic letters or letter-shaped toys inside the water bead sensory bin. Encourage your child to search for and identify the hidden letters while playing with the water beads.
Water Bead Art
Place a large sheet of paper on a flat surface and scatter water beads across it. Have kids roll a rolling pin or a bottle over the beads to create unique and colorful patterns on the paper.
Water Bead Slime
Mix clear slime with water beads for a fun and engaging sensory experience. Kids will love squishing and stretching the slime with the added texture of water beads.
Water Bead Sensory Bags
Fill resealable plastic bags with water beads and a small amount of water. Seal the bags and tape them to a table or window for a mess-free sensory play option.
Water Bead Balloons
Carefully fill balloons with water beads and a little water. Tie the balloons and allow kids to squish and manipulate the balloons, feeling the texture of the beads inside.
Water Bead Ice Play
Freeze water beads in ice cube trays or small containers. Once frozen, add them to a sensory bin for a chilly, hands-on play experience.
Water Bead Races
Create a racetrack with plastic gutters or long containers. Add water beads and use squirt bottles or turkey basters to move the beads along the track.
Water Bead Light Table
Place water beads on a light table or in a clear container on top of a flashlight or other light source. The glowing beads will create a mesmerizing sensory experience for kids.
I hope these ideas will help you to explore the super fun water beads with your child. The easiest way to play with water beads is to place them in large tray and let your child just play with them. You can add spoon, scoop, small cup or bowl too. Also you can add shaving cream and make it super messy fun.
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