If you follow me on Instagram you'll be well aware of my love of sensory play. We're constantly using food items, water, craft bits and pieces, left over packaging and basically anything we can get our hands on for sensory play. There's a plethora of items available for sensory play, you just need to know where to look, so this week I've invited my friend Casey from Little Lifelong Learners, who has many years experience as a teacher and a stay at home mum to two little ones, to share her favourite must have materials for sensory play.

Must Have Materials for Sensory Play

As a teacher and mama, my collection of educational toys and resources is ever growing. I’m actually kind of embarrassed to share images of the play room cupboard because it is overflowing with goodies! It’s hard to resist when there are so many amazing resources for play and learning which are so easily accessed. Today I’m thrilled to be guest posting here at Finding Myself Young and sharing my favourite items for Sensory Play at home with your Little Learners!

Must have items for sensory play

The Basics

Sensory Play is notorious for being messy but that shouldn’t discourage you. Large, shallow tubs are great for Sensory Play and you can find them at your local supermarket. I love using big under-bed storage crates or clear plastic containers. I recently bought a shallow Trofast Box from Ikea which has been great for sensory tubs and experiments. The Creative ToyShop also stock a fantastic Activity Tray which is perfect for Sensory Play.

An old bed sheet is also wonderful for catching any spills that might will occur while playing. You can also get splash mats or plastic sheeting which would work just as well, especially for things like edible paint.

Always remember to have everything on hand for easy clean-up afterwards as well. You shouldn’t ever leave your Little Learners unsupervised to go and get supplies. My basics for cleaning include a dustpan and brush, wipes and my trusty vacuum.

Supermarket Items

Many great items for Sensory Play can be found at your local supermarket. Staple household items like flour, oil, salt and cream of tartar can be used to make play dough. Food dyes and essences are a great way to develop the sense of taste and smell too.

Food supplies for sensory play
Large bags of rice are often on sale at places like Woolworths and Coles which you can dye different colours. I save mine in a container and use it for well over a year! Simply add it to a tub with some different sized measuring cups, containers and spoons {from the supermarket too} and your Little Learner can work on their pouring and transferring skills.

Woolworths also stock the plastic variety of the very popular Voss water bottles. They make FANTASTIC sensory bottles which you can fill with just about anything. One of our favourites include musical bottles using things like bells, paddle pop sticks, pebbles and shells. 

voss sensory bottles

Small World Invitations

Small World invitations are a great way to engage the senses, particularly if you use different textures in your play. By using things like dirt, sand, water, ice, beans and rice, you are encouraging your Little Learners to touch and explore while developing their vocabulary too. You can also get fake turf from places like Bunnings which makes a great base for small world play.

You can get beautiful, realistic animals from places like OhIvy, Mini Zoo and even Kmart. Dollar stores also have fantastic items like synthetic aquarium plants, stones and artificial plants which are wonderful for small world invitations.

Bug small world invitation to play

Sensory Art Exploration

Exploring art is a big part of sensory play because it can engage so many of the senses. You can find wonderful art resources from websites like ZartArt and RiotArt and Craft. However, your local shopping centre will be a treasure trove for art resources. Your local dollar shop or Kmart will have everything you need. I love things like ice-cube trays or simple plastic trays for pouring paint into and you can get washable paints by Crayola from places like Kmart, Target or Big W. You can get different textured rollers and paint brushes from these store as well.

As you can see, there are many places you can go shopping for Sensory Play materials, many of which can be found at your local shopping centre. Before you know it, your cupboard will be overflowing with Sensory Play goodness too!

My name is Casey and I am the teacher mama behind LittleLifelong Learners. I love to provide teachers and parents with play and learning inspiration for the classroom and home. If you’d like more play inspiration, feel free to follow me on Instagram or Pinterest. You can also check out my brand new eBook, Sensory Play for your Little Learners.

sensory play ebook

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