Sensory play is beneficial for all children of all ages and abilities. Sometimes our children can struggle to organize and make sense of all the stimuli that comes at them from their senses. Sensory activities and toys are a child’s way of examining, discovering, categorizing and making sense of the world. Sensory activities are also calming and encourage our children to learn positive ways to self regulate.The following is a list of the best sensory toys, all costing less than $20 each. These are my kid’s choices for sure and will be their first choice when deciding what to play with.
We love putty! There are so many different kinds to choose from, all have their own unique texture, consistency, and smell. Each kind of putty can provide a unique sensory experience giving your child the opportunity to learn about viscosity. Is it sticky and stretchy? Or slimy and gooey?
PinArt is a great sensory toy. Encourage your kids to try taking impressions with the pin art of different objects, and body parts. It is a lot of fun and laughs to take a mold of your smooshed face, hand, or elbow.
3. Puffer Toys
These thing are so simple yet a favourite for my kids. There’s lots of different creatures and sizes, some light up, some have their eyes pop out. I find these particularly useful when my kids are going to be expected to sit still for a period of time (such as school assemblies). It gives them something to fidget and play with and the tactile stimulation makes it less likely they’ll jump up and want to run around. These are usually super inexpensive, found on amazon, dollarstores, Walmart, craft stores, etc.
4. Starlight Projector
These are incredibly calming and create a wonderful calming experience in bedrooms. There are two modes – white light, or LED colour changing lights. It projects onto the ceiling but also creates a beautiful light show on the walls, over the entire room. My kids can find serenity by laying on their beds and gazing at the lights change colours like gazing at the night sky. It’s calming effect made it a must have on the list of best sensory toys.
5. Mini Disco Wand
Another one of our favorite sensory toys is the mini disco wand. They light up, spin, vibrate, and make noise. This sends multiple stimuli at the same time, creating an unique and fascinating sensory experience. These are often used in occupational therapy and are helpful for self-regulation.
This is scented play doh! Play dough and clay are common items for tactile sensory activities. This dough enhances the experience by also stimulating your child’s sense of smell. Use it with molds and tools to work on fine motor skills, too!
7. Moon Sand
Moon sand is awesome, so much better than regular sand. It doesn’t dry out, but it also doesn’t stick all over your hands when you play. This makes the mess fairly easy to contain. It’s easy to sweep up. Personally, I dump the moon sand into our water table on the deck and we play with it outside so it’s mess free. If you don’t have an outdoor play space you could keep it inside in a large bin. I always purchase the National Geographic brand, I love their different colours and the kit comes with molds for only $15.
What are your favorite & inexpensive activities? Share your own personal best sensory toys with me in the comments below so my kids can try them too!