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~

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~

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~

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~


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:

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 littleย tooย tasty…

We’ve had messy sensory picnics

8 sensory play ideas for the under 2s :messy picnic-sensory play~

and we’ve built sandcastles

8 sensory play ideas for the under 2s:

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:

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:

What are your favourite sensory play activities for babies?