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7 Sensory Activities to Relieve Stress

July 23, 2020

Sensory play is any sort of play that engages the senses⁠—for instance: snapping a rubber band engages the sense of hearing while playing in the sand engages the sense of touch. We often talk about how sensory play is a great learning tool, but did you know that it is also an effective calming technique? Sensory play reduces the stress and anxiety that can lead to meltdowns and behavioural changes.

Try these 7 sensory activities to help your child regulate their emotions!

1. Sensory Bottles

Use a clear plastic bottle or container filled with toys and objects for sensory play that engages your child’s sense of sound and sight.

When deciding what to put inside your bottle, try to:

  • find objects that make a soothing sound (such as sand, pebbles, or water).
  • include coordinating colours (such as black and white, all cool colours, or all natural colours).

2. Water Play

Water play is a great way to engage in a calming sensory activity. Materials you can use to enhance your child’s water play time are containers, toys, dish soap, or sponges.

Worried about cleanup? Help contain the mess by bringing your water play outside or making it a part of bath time!

3. Sounds in Your Home

Sometimes, all you need for a sensory play activity is the objects already around you. What makes a sound in your home? Listen closely to some of the loud and quiet sounds you can make right in your home. Try cupping your hand around your ear to enhance the quieter sounds!

4. Fabrics and Textures

Introducing different fabrics and textures is especially great for infants. Try laying out different materials during tummy time, such as towels, discloths, tissue paper, or even bubble wrap! Infants can safely explore the materials with their fingers or toes.

5. Ice Play

Ice is an interesting sensory material and a great way to cool down from the summer heat! Try spreading salt on the ice using paintbrushes, then watch as it melts away.

6. Water Painting

Some children don’t like to touch water directly, but can still enjoy other elements of it. Try using water to paint on newspaper or on the ground outside. Children will feel the smooth paintbrush in their hands and can watch their water painting dry in the sun.

7. Sensory Bags

Sensory bags let children feel different materials and textures without the mess! These are also a safe way for infants to explore loose parts.

To create a sensory bag, add objects of various sizes and textures to a sandwich bag or freezer bag; then, zip it closed and tape over the top to seal it. If you are putting liquid in your sensory bag, we recommend water for easy cleanup!