DIY sensory play ideas for toddlers and preschoolers

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Make your own fun at home with these DIY sensory play ideas for toddlers and preschoolers...

If you have a tot who likes to touch things, squeeze things, poke things and scrunch things, these DIY sensory play ideas are perfect for a rainy day activity. And the best thing of all? You’ll already have most of these items in your kitchen cupboards and around the home!

Rice

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Break out the food colouring and create pretty rice the kids will want to play with for hours.

Tip the toys out of a storage box and fill it instead with rice (uncooked!). White rice, brown rice, or even coloured rice using some food colouring: the kids will love this no matter what kinda rice you throw in. Add some toys for extra fun and even though you’ll be finding bits of rice around the house for weeks, you’ll be scoring high in the ‘awesome mum’ stakes for way longer.

Popcorn and bottle tops

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Save all your bottle lids for this fun sensory session. Photography: tiddlers_toybox via Instagram

Popcorn and recycled bottle tops in a big tray make for sensory play heaven. Not only is this crunchy fun at its best, but it’s also great for helping little ones with letters and numbers. Win, win.

Noodles

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Noodle doodle adventures. Photography: the_paige_diaries via Instagram

What do you get if you combine noodles, food colouring, a bit of water and some kitchen utensils? Happy kids and some peace and quiet for yourself.

Busy boards

This one might take a bit longer to set up, but the result will be so cool you’ll probably consider wanting to open your own Etsy Store selling the things. Gather bits ‘n’ bobs from around the house (as in the top image) and firmly secure them to a board. Then take a bow while the small humans tinker to their heart’s content. Or if you’re stuck for inspiration, we’ve put together our fave busy book ideas all in one place for a different take on a busy board.

Jelly

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Jelly play: deliciously squidgy! Photography: The Paige Diaries

Whether you call it jelly or jello, either way it’s not only delish to eat, but it’s majorly fun to play with. The more colours the better, we say! Hop over to The Paige Diaries for lots of jelly play inspo.

Lentils

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How pretty is this garden? Photography: play_at_home_mummy via Instagram

Gather together green lentils, plastic toys (we especially love using bugs or dinosaurs) and a bit of nature from outside and then throw it all into a tray and voila: an environmentally friendly toy kids will adore using for imagination adventures.

Ice

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Ice cubes and plastic bugs combined will keep little ones entertained for hours! Photography: Selina Altomonte

If you have a toddler then chances are you also have plenty of plastic animals lurking all over your home. Put them to good use by freezing them into blocks of ice and then keep the kiddos quiet and busy while they work out how to free their precious tat toy.

Slime

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DIY slime is fun for children – and adults – of all ages

Making your own slime with the kids is not only fun for all, but it will keep little ones occupied long after you’ve cleaned up all the glitter! Check out our handy guide to the coolest slime recipes around before you get the gooey party started.

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