Sensory Play for Kids and making Play Dough at Home

Sensory Play for kidsWe didn’t even realize and yes, sensory play has been a part of all of us. Sensory  play is nothing but any activity that stimulates the senses, may be sight, hearing, touch taste or smell. So doesn’t every activity that kids do, engage the senses in some way? Yes, it does, but today we are going to discuss about a more structured approach to engage kids in. Approach which encourages children to play, create and explore with sensory stimulations.

Sensory exploration is a child’s way of examining, discovering and making sense of the world. Sensory toys encourage open-ended, creative play, allowing children to interact with them in an almost endless variety of ways. They are wonderfully engaging, besides have effect as calming and grounding.

They can be anything from a slime, dough, water beads, kinetic sand, and many more.

Importance of sensory play

  • According to Sally Fitzgerald, a senior therapist, providing opportunities for children to actively use their senses as they explore their world through ‘sensory play’, is crucial. It has a great role in brain development, as it helps to build nerve connections in the brain pathways.
  • It facilitates development of language, gross and fine motor skills, problem solving skills, along with developing a good memory.
  • Sensory play calms and soothes an anxious and overwhelmed child.
  • It helps kids to focus and rule out any other irrelevant noise around.
  • Children use their imaginations when they play creatively.

Listing down some of the prime Sensory play activities:

Play dough / clay:

Play Dough play for kids

It’s way old traditional sensory play which is very engaging, safe and a vent to creative exploration. Kids can roll, knead, sculpt and mould clay vis-à-vis their imagination while strengthening their muscles.

With market full of myriads of shades, play dough can be very easily prepared at home as well. Homemade play dough is easy, cheap and you can make a big batch which allows kids to explore in a better way. You can also add your personal touch with color, glitter and essential oils.

Here’s a simple recipe which I made at home along with my enthusiastic kid :

Home made recipe for Play Dough

All you need is :

2 cups of flour(white)

¾ cup of salt

1 tbsp vegetable oil

½ cup water

Food colors(4-5 drops)

Glitter (optional)

How to do it:

  • Mix the flour and salt in a bowl. Add glitter to the mix if desired.
  • Mix the water and oil in a different bowl.
  • Add 4-5 drops of food coloring into oil-water. Stir it well. (use less food colors for pastel dough and more for bright dough)
  • Stir the flour mixture into the oil-water with a spoon. Knead it on a floured surface. Keep kneading until the dough is soft and silky

Here! Play dough is ready!!

Store it in an airtight container or ziplock bag. Make doughs of different colors and see the magic begin!

If you wish to buy directly, then here are some really cheap and good options :

Answer the puzzle…

It oozes between your fingers when you pick it up, yet it doesn’t stick to your skin.

It comes in a variety of colors and kids love it.

It can be made to glow in the dark.

What is this substance?

[If you guessed slime, you are correct].

Kids love slime! Get to know about how to make Slime at home, the ones I did with to give you a perfect result.

Kinetic sand: 

Kinetic sand play for kids

It shapes, builds and calms! It is super light, super fun sensory sensation! It is non greasy, doesn’t dries out easily and sticks to itself for a quick clean up. Great for sensory play or as a cleaner alternative to play dough.

Kinetic sand is downright mesmerizing as it flows and sifts, but at the same time holds shapes remarkably well.

Importance of Kinetic sand for kids :

  1. Relax and calm. Sifting the sand through fingers help kids get familiar with the texture while also relaxing and basking in its gritty feel.
  2. Easy to clean and doesn’t sticks.
  3. Fosters creativity, it has unlimited potential and helps in motor and hand eye coordination.
  4. Great for kids with children with Sensory Processing Disorders/other disorders

Sensory play ideas with Kinetic sand :

  • Make 3-D shapes like ball, brick or any other.
  • Go on a treasure hunt. Bury small objects like coins, jewels, buttons and ask your kids to dig for buried treasure with their hands.
  • Design lovely patterns, using moulds, cookie cutters, shells, blocks and fine tune motor skills as a resultant(finger strengthening, dexterity in hand manipulation etc.)
  • Slice it into chunks using a plastic knife or a scale and enhance hand strength.
  • Create indoor sand castles by stacking and packing sand castle shapes. Wonderful beach experience at home!
  • Spread it into a flat stretch and etch designs and shapes into the kinetic sand.

Kinetic sand for kids

You can make your own DIY version (though I have not given a try), or buy it (I bought Kinetic sand for my kids).

It is safe and fun for children as young as 3 year old while still appealing to older kids and tweens.

Here are some amazing options for you :

Water beads:

They’ve been my favorite too since childhood. Watching those tiny hard balls into marble-sized bouncing balls is fascinating. Moving your fingers in those soft and slimy balls is so soothing and therapeutic. Watching the water beads grow when in water and shrinking out devoid of water is itself a fun. My kids love playing with a water beads and small water balloons in a tub for hours.

Get one here right now:


In general, sensory toys are great for kids of all age groups, beginning 2years.

They provide a variety of colors and textures to stretch their imagination. Try making different themes and try to incorporate as many sensory toys as possible.

Besides playing, it also gives kids their personal time to explore alone.

Sensory toys are a boon for the kids who do not like to play by the rules.

Enjoy Sensational Sensory Play!!!

This lovely guest post has been contributed by Rimjhim, who is a SAHM, a mom of two beautiful and naughty kids. She believes in raising kids developing their creative side and is strong preacher of Positive Parenting!


Quest to live the life surrounded with the charming little bundle's of joy. When they speak, I sing, When they smile, I rejoice , When they hug, I hold them never to lose, Such is my passion for these Gifts of God.This love urged me to navigate separately from my Travel Blog & establish an "All-In-One" Blog for budding mothers. Mum's have multi-tasked this world ,with all her professional commitments , she still makes an extra effort to be a loving, caring and be an intellectual mommy! Cheers, for me too come from the same fraternity, post having a superb academics & close to 8 years of professional experience and blessed with a little one "who has indeed changed my life from Autumn to Spring";)

This Post Has 42 Comments

  1. Sangeetha

    Play Dough has been a favorite for a long long time but we are definitely obsessed with water beads at the moment. Colorful and fun, these are definitely interesting way to keep the kids busy.

  2. thebeautytymscom

    Amazing idea….wen I was kid…I remember using clay but dat had chemical smell I guess.. Few days back I got the same for my nephew…

  3. adoremyskin

    Home made dough seems to be a nice idea.. But gets spoiled easily… But I will try it anyway

  4. Nisha Malik

    My son loves colorful play dough.. He can play with them all day long. Thank you for this beautiful post.

  5. Varsh

    Playdoh is fun, not just for kids but their parents too. I had the best time with my son making different shapes and animals with it when he was younger.

  6. snehalboricha

    This sounds so much fun for kids! ?

  7. worldofmakeupmagique

    Lovely post… that’s a very easy recipe for play dough ?will definitely share it with my mommy friends

  8. moondreams

    I loved playing with play dough when I was a kid, so cool that you can make it yourself! I also love the kinetic sand!

  9. Familyearthtrek

    Ohh I am not sure if I have ever played with Kinetic sand before! Thats interesting! I have recently just a few month ago introduce the play dough to my daughter because before that she always eat them! I had home made and they are very salty but she still liked to eat them. And what we play with now aswell are those Mais play…a lot of fun!

  10. myteenytot

    Sensory play is really important for kids. It helps in the development of many skills. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Minakshi Bajpai

    Sensory play is very important for kids actually. My daughter love to play with it. She makes many different things with it. This is best to grow creativity talent in kids.

  12. Papri Ganguly

    Sensory toys and play dough are really good toys for kids.

  13. Wow play dough at home … Thanks for the recipe dear would love to try this.

  14. Judy

    Yes this is actually very easy to make and safe too. The clay that we generally get in market is also made of flour. I had also thought of trying the DIY thanks for the recipe.

  15. Snigdha

    Home made dough is sounding great… My son loves playing dough,i will definitely follow your steps…

  16. I agree with you that sensory play is brilliant. My son is autistic and sensory play is a great help. Love the playdough. Its a really good thing for sensory play

  17. Karyn Locke

    When I was a sub for our local elementary schools, I loved playing with the kids on play dough day! Love the fact that it’s so easy to make at home, too!

  18. Amila

    Play dough is a great idea to improve sensory activities and skills of kids.My kid did such activities at his playgroup,now at the preschool.Making play dough at home is a great idea and it is always healthy in case if they bite.I didn’t make such play dough at home specially for him.Instead I give him a portion of ‘Roti Dough’ when I cook ‘Roti’ (Bread).I also ask him to join with me when I measure rice for cooking.Giving some rice to touch and play will improve sensory skills and also fine motor skills of kids…

  19. Denise

    I will give this a try I tried the marshmallows one and man was that a disaster lol.

  20. Our Family World

    I remember my kids enjoying playing with sand and salt dough. I just loved how their imagination and creativity made them think that a glob is a castle. LOL. They did have lots of fun though and it helped develop their fine motor skills.

  21. Judy

    These are great gift ideas for my niece. I think she would love these!

  22. Aine

    What a cute idea, always lots of fun to get a little messy

  23. theterrificfive

    My kids love playdough and the sand… though I hate the clean-up with the sand! Great activities.

  24. MissJess

    Great article! I love that you not only explain the importance of sensory play, but you also give us the home made recipes! My daughter is always getting into stuff ( even a we speak… hold on a sec.) Okay, so as I was saying… I believe it’s about time to make her some stuff she should be getting into! Can’t wait to let her play in the new stuff and let her learn along the way. ?

  25. I don’t have kids .. but I could use this. I feel like it would take some of stress out of my day

  26. Natalia

    I always wanted to make a homemade play dough but never had the time and the right recipe to do so. Reading through your post made me realise that it’s so simple and a fun way for the kids to learn how to make it at home. This is what we’ll be making this weekend!

  27. Awesome post! I love making homemade sensory items. I am definitely going to try your recipe for kinetic sand! Thank you!

  28. Vlad Vaida

    Awee so fun! When I was a kid I never really got the point of these games however I really enjoyed playing. I now get the point and I agree they’re super useful for the brain 🙂

  29. Mayuri Saxena

    These are some awesome ideas. I keep seeing Kinetic sand in Hamleys now I am going to get it for my daughter. to explore and enjoy. 🙂

  30. fashionenzymes

    I never knew about this since last week. Before i gifted my niece a glay moulding set, she enjoyed that a lot., Thanks for sharing the tips. Glad i stop by your blog.

  31. chewoutloud

    Aww, you brought back such sweet memories of my little boys playing with homemade play dough. I used to make it, and my mama friends used to give it away to each other, too. I miss those times 🙂

  32. Chelsea Elizabeth

    Play dough has always been a firm favourite of mine. Even with my nieces and nephews I always have a sneaky lump to mess about with. Hours and hours of fun and it’s adorable to see their little creations

  33. Elizabeth O

    I just read another post on the subject and agree that sensory play is an important component of a child’s development. Plus, it opens the door to much creativity and interactive together time.

  34. Shell

    My little boy loves play dough so I can’t wait to make this with him!

  35. I’m so grateful for the recipes and the explanation. Many parents these days so not know the value of getting int here, down and dirty, with lay in between your fingers and everything! I love the recipe as it gives me an option to know exactly what my kids are play with.

  36. Erin

    Sensory play is so important! We use play dough and kinetic sand for sensory play pretty frequently in our home! I’ll try this recipe!

  37. Taylor411

    I’ve been looking for a good play dough recipe to make. We have tried to water beads and really enjoyed them.

  38. Rakhi Parsai

    This is such a useful post. My daughter loves to play with dough and make various shapes basis her creativity. We also prefer making dough at home to keep it more safe for her.

  39. This Mum At Home

    We love the magic sand here in this house !!!!

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