Do you have a little one who is drawn to sensory activities? My younger daughter can often be found digging in the dirt, wood chips, snow, sand–you name it! We also bring the sensory play inside with a variety of fillers and tools. Over the last few years, I have observed a variety of benefits of sensory play for toddlers and preschoolers!

In this sensory play series, we cover:

5 Benefits of Sensory Play for Toddlers and Preschoolers

5 Benefits of Sensory Play

Open-ended play encourages imagination. 

I’ve been reading a lot about the power of symbolic play as a pre-literacy skill. Children who “make believe” an object is something else will have an easier time understanding that letters represent sounds down the road.

Sensory play builds independence.

K regularly takes ownership of her small world. She is the boss of the sensory bin, making all the decisions and taking risks. (I do sit close by to make sure she’s playing safely and keeping the materials contained to one area, but I’m not directing her or making suggestions.)

Using the sensory bin helps children with cooperative play.

As you can imagine, both of our children want to dig into the sensory materials at the same time. This helps them both learn important social skills. My extrovert has to respect her sister’s boundaries, and my introvert is learning to share and speak kindly. If they can’t get along, then they are asked to play in another area for a short period of time.

Young children LOVE to pour, scoop, and dump.

Tactile play builds so many skills, including fine motor and hand-eye coordination, plus it sounds and feels so lovely!

Sensory play lengthens attention spans.

Add in a variety of “accessories” to keep children engaged for long periods of time and build stamina in young preschoolers who are used to bouncing from activity to activity. When it’s time to clean up, children persevere because they want access to the sensory bin again.

Do you do sensory play with your children? What benefits have you seen?

5 Benefits of Sensory Play | child development, activities for kids, sensory experiences, toddler and preschool play

This post was originally published on my previous blog,, on February 25, 2015.