Sensory Play Activities for Preschoolers (3, 4, 5-year-olds)

Preschoolers are curious, active, and always on their tiny toes to explore unique stimuli and gain new knowledge. 

In fact, sensory play activities are among the most integral parts of any effective preschool curriculum. 

Sensory Play Activities for preschoolers are curated and designed to provide the child with unlimited learning opportunities through a multisensory experience. 

While sensory activities for infants and toddlers often focus on the development of sensorimotor skills and preliminary skills, Sensory Play activities for Preschoolers often integrate components that promote them to comprehend complex concepts. 

During the Preschool stage, children require appropriate and meaningful sensorial stimuli to facilitate their learning and development process. 

These activities are a great way of not only enhancing your child’s cognitive and academic abilities but also promoting the development of social and real-life skills. 

If you are a parent or an immediate caregiver who wants to integrate these fun and exciting Sensory Play activities in your preschooler’s home environment, we’ve got you covered. 

Below are some fun, engaging, and effective Sensory Play Activities for Preschoolers that will set your child up for optimum success.

What is Sensory Play?

Children rely heavily on their senses for the initial six of their lives to efficiently navigate through their surroundings and also to make sense of the world that surrounds them. 

When simply described, Sensory play is any form of open-ended play that promotes children to autonomously and willingly explore new and unique stimuli which are present in their environment.

Sensory play activities are play activities that integrate components that help refine and stimulate each individual sense in children. 

Sensory Play activities especially for younger children commonly focus on developing and stimulating the five main senses: 

  • Visual Sense (sight)
  • Tactile Sense (touch)
  • Auditory Sense (hearing)
  • Gustatory Sense (taste)
  • Olfactory  Sense (smell)

After refining the key five senses sensory play activities then gradually promote the development of the other two senses ie., vestibular sense (balance) and proprioceptive sense (spatial awareness). 

While sensory play activities mainly focus on sensory development, they also provide children with systematically arranged information to help develop preliminary skills, social skills, and cognitive skills.

What are the Benefits of Sensory Play?

Sensory play activities during the early stages of development, provide children with the necessary stimuli to develop an understanding of the world that surrounds them. 

Sensory play activities aim to stimulate all the senses in children, but they also facilitate the development of physical, cognitive, emotional, and social skills in children. 

These activities integrate age-appropriate and meaningful stimuli that isolate and develop each skill one at a time. 

During the early stages of development, children are often unable to efficiently regulate emotions during unexpected events or in times of crisis, 

Sensory play activities are a great way of developing the child’s emotional resilience through meaningful play. 

To help you intimately understand how Sensory can help your child, here is all you need to know about the benefits of sensory play:

  1. Sensory development
  2. Language Development
  3. Development of preliminary skills
  4. Helps introduce cause and effect
  5. Increased concentration and attention-span
  6. Fine motor development
  7. Gross motor development
  8. Emotional Development
  9. Development of Social skills

Why is Sensory Play Important for Preschoolers?

Sensory Play activities are crucial for facilitating the development process in all age groups. 

The chief aim of any Sensory Play activity is to help the child develop an understanding of the intricate functions of the world. 

Sensory Play Activities stimulate the child’s senses as well as facilitate physical, cognitive, emotional, and social development in children. 

While most sensory activities for infants and toddlers often focus on the development of sensorial stimulation and the development of preliminary skills, sensory activities for preschoolers facilitate the development of more advanced skills.

As the child reaches their preschool stage, they often establish the ability to quickly grasp complex skills through simple mediums. 

Preschoolers often possess the capability to draw using a crayon, walk independently, throw a ball, and indulge in self-care activities. 

Sensory play or activities provide preschoolers with the right opportunities that prepare them for performing different tasks such as self-care activities. 

Sensory Play activities also promote the development and enhancement of gross motor skills as well as fine motor skills in children. 

Here is what your preschooler will learn through Sensory Play Activities for Preschoolers:

  • Self-Regulation
  • Gross Motor development and Fine Motor development
  • Balance and coordination
  • Discipline
  • Focus

A list of the Best Sensory Activities for Preschoolers:

Are you a parent of a curious preschooler who gets bored of mundane tasks at a drop of a hat?

If yes, you would know trying meaningful play activities for your 3, 4, or 5-year-old to keep them busy for hours on end can be a daunting task. 

Sensory Play Activities integrate engaging sensorial stimuli that provide a multisensory experience to keep your child busy for hours on end. 

If you are a parent of a 3-year-old, 4-year-old, or 5-year-old who wants to incorporate interactive sensory play activities for your preschooler, look no further. 

Here is a list of some of the best sensory play activities for preschoolers that not only stimulates their senses but also promotes holistic development:

Finger Painting:

The age group between 3 to 5 years is a great time to introduce new means of painting.

Finger Painting is a fun sensory play activity for preschoolers that stimulates the tactile and visual senses. 

Not only will your child have a sense of fulfillment after completing the activity, but intricately finger-painting creative figures will allow them to develop their fine motor skills, creative imagination, hand-eye coordination, and critical thinking.

Rice and Beans Treasure Hunt Sensory Bin:

Sensory Bins come as a great opportunity to facilitate sensory development in all age groups. 

However, this Rice and Beans Treasure Hunt Sensory bin activity is a great way to develop your preschooler’s attention span and categorizing skills. 

All you need for this fun sensory activity for preschoolers are two bins, rice, beans, small objects to hide, and scoopers. 

Allow your child to tangibly explore different tactile sensations as they maneuver through the rice and beans to find different objects.

Nature Walk:

Who says outdoor play activities cannot promote sensory development in children?

Outdoor nature walks not only develop your child’s gross motor skills but also provide them with requisite sensorial stimuli to develop a better understanding of nature.  

Promote your child to jump, leap, twirl, smell, and touch objects during the walks to help enhance their senses.

Farm Animal Sensory Tub:

This Sensory play activity is great for developing your preschooler’s vocabulary as it introduces your child to new vocabulary. 

The Farm Animal Sensory Tub Sensory Play activity introduces your child to the world of farm life teaching them about different farm animals. 

All you need for this fun sensory play activity is a clear tub, rice or beans, farm animal figurines, and a bucket. 

Not only does this activity provide your child with a unique tactile experience but it also develops their fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.

Tactile Sticks:

Tactile Sticks are fun, adorable, and definitely what your preschooler would need to indulge in sensory play. 

All you need for this fun sensory play activity are ice cream sticks, and small moving, vibrant or textured components. 

To decorate tactile ticks for your preschooler you can use googly eyes, rhinestones, different textured fabrics, and pom-poms.

A Pond Full of Numbers:

Water play often is a great way of promoting sensory development in children of all age groups. 

This activity is a great way of introducing numbers to your preschooler to prepare them for kindergarten. 

This activity involves either a water table or two bins (one filled with water and the other empty) that contain pebbles labeled with different numbers. 

Allow your child to enjoy a multisensory experience as they identify, recognize and categorize different math numerals.

Lucky Charms Learning Bin:

Lucky charms are not only delicious to munch on before leaving for school, but they can also be a great way of introducing new shapes to your preschooler. 

This sensory play activity provides your child with a unique tactile sensation along with developing their fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. 

All you need for this fun sensory play activity are two bins, paper cups labeled with different shapes of lucky charms, scoopers, a small bucket, and a funnel. 

Promote your child to search, identify, differentiate, and categorize the shapes into their corresponding cups.

Jumping on pillows:

This sensory play activity for preschoolers is more than just aimlessly jumping around or raising havoc, in fact, this fun activity puts your tiny preschooler’s energy into meaningful use. 

This sensory activity for preschoolers allows your child to develop their gross motor skills and vestibular strength.

Sorting Flowers:

Don’t consider this sorting flower activity to be plain and simple, this sensory activity is meant to enhance and advance your preschooler’s cognitive skills. 

Simply draw different colored flowers on a sheet of paper, place the paper in a zip lock bag, and add pom-pom balls of the corresponding colors into the bag. 

Allow your child to refine their fine motor skills by gradually placing each pom-pom ball into the corresponding colored flower through the zip lock bag.

Sensory Bottle Fill:

This last sensory play activity allows preschoolers to develop their pouring and transferring skills. 

All you need for this fun activity are colored rice, a funnel, a scooper, and small objects that can fit into a water bottle. 

Encourage your child to pick up the rice with the scoop and pour it into the bottle with the help of a funnel to develop their fine motor and gross motor skills.