8 sensory play ideas for the under 2s:

The lovely @BodforTea asked me recently for some ideas on sensory/ messy play for the under 2s and so I thought I would pop all the activities we’ve done into one post- so here it is. 8 sensory play ideas for the under 2s!

8 sensory play ideas for the under 2s~ ghostwritermummy.co.uk

When I embarked upon sensory play with The Baby I thought it important to remember:

  • Babies explore with their mouths. Therefore sensory materials used in play need to be either edible or safe to explore this way. For this reason I kept The Baby away from waterbeads as they can look tempting enough to eat, and are certainly not safe to do so.
  • Babies like to make a mess! This is their way of exploring, so a Tuff Spot or play mat can be very handy for containing the mess.
  • Babies need supervising. Obviously, but if there is anything in your play that you are not sure about, either eliminate it or just never take your eye off them at all.

We started with edible sensory play with The Baby and one of the first we tried was Angel Delight. This is so simple to make, cheap to buy and a wonderful sensory experience. The Baby sat in her highchair for this activity but you could also spread a play mat or old shower curtain on the floor instead.

8 sensory play ideas for the under 2s:Angel-delight-play~ ghostwritermummy.co.uk

After seeing how much The Baby enjoyed the Angel Delight play, we decided to make some edible mud and worms for The Baby to explore. This was great fun!

8 sensory play ideas for the under 2s: edible-mud-and-worms-sensory-experience~ ghostwritermummy.co.uk

Our next edible sensory experience was a little more ‘extravagant’ but really not that hard to do- and LOTS of fun! We made an edible garden!

8 sensory play ideas for the under 2s: The edible-garden~ ghostwritermummy.co.uk


The Baby has also loved painting from a young age- we watched her closely incase she decided to sample the stuff, but there are edible paints you can make too. One of the most memorable activities we did as part of our Farm week combined edible oats for a smallworld farm play session, and painting animals.

8 sensory play ideas for the under 2s: tuff-spot-play-farmworld-oats~ghostwritermummy.co.uk

Moving on from edible play, we decided to get outdoors a lot with The Baby too. She loved (and still does) being outside and getting stuck into the mud. One of the best ways for her to explore safely was to kit her out in a rain/ puddle suit and wellies and just let her go for it. Obviously you need to be on hand for the occasions where she decides that mud just looks a little too tasty…

We’ve had messy sensory picnics

8 sensory play ideas for the under 2s :messy picnic-sensory play~ ghostwritermummy.co.uk.

and we’ve built sandcastles

8 sensory play ideas for the under 2s: Building-a-sandcastle~ghostwritermummy.co.uk

We’ve also done some wonderful Treasure Trays with The Baby- at Christmas we did a festive themed treasure tray

8 sensory play ideas for the under 2s: Christmas-treasure-tray~ghostwritermummy.co.uk

and this was the first treasure tray we did- these are wonderful for babies and so easily adapted.

8 sensory play ideas for the under 2s: tuff-spot-treasure-trays-for-babies~ghostwritermummy.co.uk

What are your favourite sensory play activities for babies?


  1. March 24, 2014 / 10:22 pm

    Thank you for sharing. This is such a useful post. I’m just starting out with sensory play with my 10 month old. She’s very much at the ‘everything goes in the mouth’ stage so some of these activities will be perfect. I so wish we had room for a tuff spot. My little one gets right in there. Today we did water play and she climbed in to the box, fully clothed! She loved it though and it kept her attention much longer than her toys do.
    Claire recently posted..Living arrows 12/52My Profile

    • ghostwritermummy
      March 25, 2014 / 7:42 am

      Ah, bless her! I’m glad the post was useful to you 🙂 We don’t really have that much room for the Tuff Spot when its not being used- its stored flat against a wall away from the kids but I know some who store theirs outside. Another option could be a welly tray or large roasting tin which you can get cheaply from pound shops etc.
      x x x

      • March 25, 2014 / 1:13 pm

        Thank you for the suggestions. I bought an underbed storage box for messy play which I thought was a nice hieght so she could sit next to it and still reach in. However she seems to prefer to climb right in. I had it on some towels but I might try putting it on top of a shower curtain or similar for easy clean up..
        Claire recently posted..Living arrows 12/52My Profile

        • ghostwritermummy
          March 25, 2014 / 8:52 pm

          Haha yes mine love climbing in too! Maybe try it in the bath??

    • ghostwritermummy
      March 25, 2014 / 8:17 am

      Ah she loved every minute of these activities! She is two now so we’re doing even more with her.
      x x

  2. March 26, 2014 / 8:47 pm

    These are great ideas, thank you. I’ve an 18 month old that I can see having fun with some if these!
    Jocelyn recently posted..Nostalgia Toys MemeMy Profile

    • ghostwritermummy
      March 27, 2014 / 11:51 am

      Ah, let me know if you try any of them 🙂
      x x

  3. March 27, 2014 / 2:31 pm

    This has given me lots of ideas to try out with my 17 month old – thanks!!

    Love the idea of filling a baby bath with spaghetti for him… 🙂
    @katgrant30 recently posted..A sad but timely reality checkMy Profile

    • ghostwritermummy
      March 27, 2014 / 3:20 pm

      Haha yes- that sounds like great fun!!
      x x

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Close Me
Looking for Something?
Post Categories: