Exploring the Benefits of Sensory Play

with Lavina Dadlani Nandwani, @playbakecreate 

What are the benefits of sensory play?

Sensory play is a fantastic way to encourage exploration, curiosity, creativity, and fine motor skills in children. It even supports problem-solving abilities! Additionally, it's quite amazing how sensory activities aid in building nerve connections and further language development... By engaging in sensory play, children benefit in ways they might not even realize, all while having fun!

Do you have to be crafty to encourage sensory play?

Craftiness is not required! I began my sensory play journey without the slightest inkling of craftiness, so I firmly believe anyone can dive in. Sensory experiences revolve around our five senses:

Sight – Babies and kids are incredibly observant. Shadows, lights, you name it! I truly never noticed just how many planes are regularly flying in the sky until my son pointed them out!

Smell – I love encouraging kids to smell spices, herbs and more. It also offers a sensory adventure right in the kitchen. Some products, like scented rice or playdough, come prepackaged, or you can create your own!

Taste –  Having a snack or meal  can be a sensory experience in itself. Encourage your kids to describe flavors or turn snacking into a "snacktivity"—a snack and an activity in one!

Sound – Music can be a sensory experience as well. Who doesn't love a dance party?

Touch – Ah, my personal favorite! I love presenting my kids with an array of textures to explore with their hands and feet. Witnessing their reactions is pure joy. Even at a young age, from around 18 months to 3 years old, my son could happily immerse himself in a bowl of oobleck or water play for hours on end. That's a LONG time at that age!

What are your go-to sensory ideas?

Water Play – A favorite for all ages. I simply add toys or tools that enhance the water's flow.

Foaming or Bubbling Activities – For a safe version, try aquafaba. Otherwise, a blend of dish soap and water works very well! 

Dry Sensory Play – Chickpeas are a personal favorite. They're a tad easier to clean up compared to rice!

How early should you encourage sensory play?

With my son, I began around 18 months. For my daughter, I introduced sensory play around 6 months to encourage her tummy time, and water activities always seemed to captivate her!

Thank you for joining me on this sensory adventure! Together, let's make learning fun, engaging, and endlessly imaginative. 


About Lavina Dadlani Nandwani I'm a mom to a toddler boy and a baby girl, juggling part-time marketing work with a mission to empower parents, teachers, and caregivers by nurturing a lifelong love for learning through creative play ideas. I also strive to share innovative resources to make our lives as parents a tad simpler. My son, with his boundless energy, has inspired me to create sensory plays and crafts that not only soothe but also educate. I also have a passion for plant-based foods, travel, and the arts.  

You can follow Lavina here:  

IG: @playbakecreate

TikTok: @playbakecreate

Pinterest: @playbakecreate