Before I started this blog, this was something my friends would frequently ask me about. So in case it's helpful to anyone - here's a post on our favorite basic sensory play supplies.
1. Sensory Table
If you have an infant, a glass baking dish (I really like the cake pan size) is probably great. You can use this size for older children as well, but as they get bigger, and particularly if there's more than one child playing, it can be a bit limiting. An underbed plastic storage container is a bigger sized floor container that also works well.
We also have and love the Step2 Naturally Playful Sand Table. Here S is playing with some play sand and mixed shells.
I love that it's off the ground and it has a lid that is very secure (helpful if you have pets or small children you don't want getting into the contents of the table!). It is on the smaller side, so would probably work well for 2-3 children max.
If you have more children, or are just looking for a larger table in general, the Step2 Naturally Playful Sand and Water Center is your best bet. Here S is playing with some rainbow bubbles outside this past summer.
It is our outdoor water table for the summer and works very nicely for larger groups of children (it is a big hit at every one of S's parties). It also has a secure lid and it comes with a cute little umbrella for shade.
2. Fill for your sensory bin
You can fill your sensory bin with just about anything! We've done:
Dried Split Peas
By far, S's absolute favorite item to have in her indoor sensory table is Moon Sand. And by far the winner for the outside table is water. For some reason, she only plays with Water Beadsand Insta Snowfor about 5 minutes before getting bored - but I'm pretty sure that's unique to her. I have heard from plenty of other bloggers and friends that those are fun items for their kids. I have never met a kid that didn't love Moon Sandthough. It's SO expensive, but we play with it almost every day. We store all of our not-in-use sensory items in snap-close shoe storage containers. They have them at Target for a little over a dollar each.
3. Splat Mat
At first I used a waterproof disposable tablecloth I got on clearance at Fred Meyer and that worked really well for quite some time. Eventually it wore through and we've upgraded to two yards of Oilclothfabric. It doesn't fray on the ends, is waterproof, and is a lot tougher than the waterproof disposable tablecloth we'd used before, so it's my favorite. You can also just lay out towels or an old sheet, but having something that is waterproof does make clean up super easy. When you're not using it for sensory play, it also doubles as a nice mat for under highchairs!
4. Different sized spoons/cups/containers
Pouring and measuring is a HUGE love of young children, so having a variety of different sized spoons and cups on hand is a great addition to any sensory play. If you don't mind sharing your cooking utensils - measuring spoons and cups, wooden and plastic spoons, ladels, teaspoons and tablespoons are all big hits. If you don't want to share items from your kitchen, the Dollar Store has an amazing selection of interesting measuring cups/spoons. You can also save old plastic yogurt and other food containers to use for pouring. We have a lot of tupperware/Gladware containers that get used for pouring (S likes them because they are clear).
5. Activity Supplies
These are the supplies we use most frequently in our play:
Cream of Tartar (for our homemade playdough)
Liquid Watercolors or Food Coloring
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All activities here are activities I feel are safe for my own children. As your child's parents/guardians, you will need to decide what you feel is safe for your family. I always encourage contacting your child's pediatrician for guidance if you are not sure about the safety/age appropriateness of an activity. All activities on this blog are intended to be performed with adult supervision. Appropriate and reasonable caution should be used when activities call for the use of materials that could potentially be harmful, such as scissors, or items that could present a choking risk (small items), or a drowning risk (water activities), and with introducing a new food/ingredient to a child (allergies). Observe caution and safety at all times. The author and blog disclaim liability for any damage, mishap, or injury that may occur from engaging in any of these activities on this blog.