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Sensory box play ideas

Updated: Jan 24, 2023

Sensory play is brilliant for babies and toddlers. Using resources you might even have at home, you can set up exciting play baskets for baby to explore that are versatile and easy to change too.

The benefits of sensory play

  • Language Skills – Children are able to expand their vocabulary and language skills as they describe their play experience.

  • Fine Motor Skills – Fine motor skills are improved by manipulating small objects, dumping and scooping.

  • Social Skills – Social skills are worked on by learning about sharing, playing and communicating with others while engaged in their sensory play.

  • Science and Math Skills – Children are also using skills useful for science and math in measuring, guesstimating and learning about cause and effect while manipulating sensory materials.

  • Meeting sensory needs

How to play with the toys in a sensory box

The resources in our sensory boxes will stimulate your babies sense of touch, sight and hearing whilst they explore the world around them.

Egg shaker

A great toy for babies to hold, shake, mouth and work on their hearing and tracking a noise. Also great for visual tracking too, moving the egg shaker from one side of babies eye line to the other, hiding it and shaking it so babies can find the noise.

It can be used to roll and push too as babies start to sit and move.

Ostrich feather

A wonderful sensory experience stroking the feather over babies hands, feet, tickling and tracking too. Supporting babies propreception, realising where there body parts are in space and stimulating nerve ending in their fingers and toes to reach and grab.

( Don't let babies eat or mouth the feather !)


Mirror play is so much fun, a great resource to encourage tummy time, so babies can look at their reflections, mimic facial expressions, Mirrors are a great way to help babies explore. Try holding baby in front of the mirror. They may even reach out to touch the “baby” in the mirror. Eventually, they will learn they are seeing their own face and start to recognize their reflection.

While looking in the mirror with your baby, you can use this chance to help develop their vocabulary! Say the different parts of the face as you point to them on your face and baby’s. If you are in front of a bathroom mirror with baby, that is a great place to respond to baby’s babbling and make noises with baby. The extra echo makes it even more fun!

A mirror is also a great way for baby to practice visual tracking. Make silly faces at baby in the mirror and see if they imitate you or make a different face back. Get siblings involved too for fun, bonding time!

Light up spiky ball

Bounce or squeeze the ball and the internal lights will display a bright colourful light. As the ball has soft tactile spikes the ball is easy to hold, catch or throw. Great for tummy time, rolling games, visual tracking and focusing eye gaze too.

Sensory scarf

Playing with scarves is a simple way to have fun with your little one. It’s also a great way to enhance their development. From building positive sensory-motor skills by feeling the silky texture of a scarf to developing fine motor skills while playing catch, there are endless ways to make use of this common household item. Plus, it’s great one-on-one time with you.

( see my other blog all about Sensory scarves with videos too! )


Watching bubble movement helps babies learn about their environment; objects that are so lightweight float and act much differently than heavy objects, and bubbles pop! Babies may try to reach for and touch the bubbles, helping to develop motor skills and eye-hand coordination.

Black and white contrast cards

Bold black-and-white images stimulate the development of the optic nerves and encourage young babies cognitive development without over-stimulating them. Engagement with contrasting images, diverse textures and patterns boosts infants learning and focus.

place card in front of babys eye line, let them really focus , move from side to side , focus on a moving object , also from far away to close to their nose, working on their bincoular vision.

Also great to encourage tummy time to explore, touch and feel too.

Silver foil blanket

Magic Foil

Adult supervision is required. Not a toy.

The unique properties of the foil make it an excellent learning tool for babies looking at reflection, exploring noise and texture, but it must always be fully supervised by a parent or responsible adult.

  • Not to be mouthed.

  • Unsuitable for teething babies.

  • Discard immediately if tears appear.

  • Do not cut the foil.

  • Unsuitable for sleeping.

  • Reflective properties may cause some discomfit in visually impaired babies.


Infants learn best with materials they can explore with eyes, nose, ears, hands, and mouth. Chewing may be especially appealing, particularly if the baby is teething.

Offer baby the sponge.

1. Talk with the baby about the sponge’s color, shape, and texture.

2.Place a sponge about 3 inches away, and encourage the baby to reach for it.

3.You could wet the sponge and let baby explore the different texture and sensory experience. Great for a hot day!

Sensory Ribbons

Rainbow ribbon rings are extremely useful.

Not only are they beautiful to look at, they are ideal for enjoyable stimming, giving a purposeful distraction, providing positive rewards and encouragement, tracking, and improving fine and gross motor skills.

Ribbon rings provide lots of emotional benefits such as reducing worry, easing anxiety and providing a moment of calm. They can be used to swish over the body to supply sensory sensations, and body part awareness. Maybe sing some colour songs with baby too !

All these toys are an incredibly simple way to incorporate sensory play in your own home.

I hope you enjoy using them.

If you'd like to order a box for only £15 , please message me at

Follow us @baby_bears_den for more play ideas and classes for you and your baby to join.

Love Elisa xxx

Featured by Twinkl among their Sensory Play tips

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