24 Sensory Activities for 1-2 Year Olds

Sensory play activities for one-year-olds and two-year-olds are very stimulating and help them explore the big world surrounding them. As they play, they are building important cognitive skills and developing their fine motor skills.

Sensory play is a great way to bond with your child and create loving memories. Try including multi senses like smell and touch when playing to keep things interesting! To get you started, here’s a list of my favorite sensory activities.

activities for 1 to 2 year olds

Sensory Activities for 1-2 Year Olds

1 – Edible Play Dough Recipe

This couldn’t be easier. All you need is cornstarch, a box of Jell-O pudding and warm water. No cooking required! *avoid pistachio if your child has allergies*

homemade edible play dough

2 – DIY Tugging Box

I love this activity because not only does it involve sensory play, but it also helps your child develop their fine motor skills. It’s a great pull activity! You can add some sensory stimulation with different textures and colors.

3 – Yarn Sensory Fine Motor Skills Activity

Reuse some empty wipe containers and make it a sensory activity by adding some yarn. Awesome activity to help your child develop fine motor skills.

4 – Oats Easter Eggs Sensory Bin

I love sensory bins for all kids but mostly little ones. They are so versatile and so fun for them. This one is no exception. I prefer to use baby/toddler-safe items like oats. If ever they take a bite, they are safe!

Easter Oat Sensory Bin
Credit – happytoddlerplaytime.com

5 – Rainbow Spaghetti Sensory Bin

A classic but oh-so-fun activity! My daughter couldn’t play with this for the longest time as she had sensory issues. But now she loves it. All you need is some cooked noodles, food coloring and a little bit of oil so they don’t stick together!

6 – Sensory Treasure Box

This idea of creating a sensory treasure box is amazing! Kids love to discover, more so when it’s in a box as it adds some kind of mystery to it. You can use many things from the home so no need to buy a lot of things!

7 – DIY Water Bead Light Box

Water beads are mesmerizing for kids, but they are also unsafe for little ones. This is why I created this lightbox activity! My daughter loved it SO much. It was the best activity I ever did for her. She was captivated by the light and the bright colors as well as the feeling of the beads rolling under her hands.

Water Bead Light Box Activity for Kids

8 – Sensory Play in Bags

Another way to keep things safe is to contain the sensory play in a bag. So many ideas with bags, you will surely find one here that your child will love!

9 – Oobleck Sensory Play

Oobleck is another sensory play activity that I really enjoy! Again, mostly taste safe for your child as it’s made with cornstarch and water. So simple to do and the options are limitless!

calming book

10 – Play with a Water Table

The best investment we’ve ever made was to buy a water table. But, we not only have one now. We have 3! I love how versatile they are. We’ve added soapy water, made a mud table as you can see below and so much more!

11 – Edible Finger Paint

I created this activity because my daughter had sensory issues and I was trying to get her to tolerate some sensations. This finger paint was made with vanilla yogurt to which I added some food coloring. I love it because if they do have a taste of it, it’s totally safe!

edible finger painting

12 – Edible Cheerios Play Sand

This is pretty simple. You simply have to grind your cereal (we used stale Cheerios) to a fine texture, similar to sand. Once again, peace of mind for you! If they take a bite, it’s all good.

13 – Drawing with a Car

Your little one might have a hard time grasping a crayon or maybe they don’t really care about drawing. This alternative makes drawing so much fun!! Simply tape a crayon in front of a car and let them doodle away.

Drawing with cars activity for kids

14 – Painting in the Tub

Painting in the bathtub is such a great activity for your child. And it’s fairly easy to clean up as well! You can make an edible paint with yogurt or pudding if you’re afraid they might eat it.

15 – Bubble Wrap Stamping Painting

Your little one might have a hard time grasping a crayon or maybe they don’t really care about drawing. This alternative makes drawing so much fun!! Simply tape a crayon in front of a car and let them doodle away.

16 – Card Slot Drop

Another fun activity to help your child expand their fine motor skills as well as their pinch grasp. All you need is a deck of playing cards and a container.

17 – Egg Carton Push & Pull

A great push & pull activity to help with grasping and fine motor skills. All you need is an empty egg carton and some straws. You could also use popsicle sticks.

18 – Sensory Bins with Beans & Rice

I love sensory bins. Yes, they might make a mess but it’s pretty easy to clean up. Here we’ve used rice and lentils. You can use so many fillers. The ideas are really endless with sensory bins.

Sensory Bin Ikea Flisat Table

19 – Glow Stick Sensory Bath

Sensory baths are amazing. They help my daughter calm down. We add bubbles, glow sticks (closely monitor so the kids so they don’t bite them!), bath lights, and some music.

20 – Blowing Bubbles

Blowing bubbles is a great sensory activity for kids. Little ones are captivated by the bubbles. It also helps them learn how to “blow” which is working their muscles for speech as well.

21 – Draw in a Box

Keep those big boxes!! It’s so fun for kids to draw in a box. Whenever you modify an activity, it expands their mind to other possibilities! Like “Oh wow, we can draw in a box!”. If your child doesn’t enjoy drawing, they might like this option instead.

22 – Pom Pom Whisk

Another simple activity with things you may have at home. You can fill a whisk with pompoms or cotton balls and let your child dig them out. A fun sensory activity that takes no time to make at all!

23 – Sensory Touch Wall

I made this sensory wall for my daughter when she was 2. I used sticky paper (Con-Tact Self-Adhesive) and taped it with painter’s tape to the wall in reverse so the sticky side was off the wall. I then added different textures like a dusting pad, a square of bubble wrap, a piece of felt, etc. She loved this wall so much!

24 – Paper Tunnel Ball Roll

A super fun activity for little ones. Simply use some cardstock or thicker paper to create the tunnels. I taped them down with painter’s tape. Kids can roll the balls under the tunnel or even use a stick to hit the balls.

How does sensory play help a child’s development?

Sensory play is important for a child’s development as it helps them to explore and make sense of their environment. It also helps to develop their fine motor skills, as they learn to manipulate different materials. Additionally, sensory play can help to boost a child’s cognitive skills, and memory.

Studies have shown that children who engage in regular sensory play have better language development, problem-solving skills, and social skills.

What if my child has sensory issues?

If your child is particularly sensitive to certain stimuli, start with shorter and less intense sensory play activities. But don’t stop immersing them in the sensory world. They need to be exposed to various stimuli in order to be desensitized.

If you suspect that your child has some serious sensory issues, you may want to consult with their doctor or an occupational therapist. They can help you to identify which activities may be most beneficial for your child and how to adapt them to meet their needs. If you’re not sure if your child has issues, please see the signs & symptoms of sensory issues.

Will my child outgrow their sensory issues?

Most children will outgrow their sensory issues as they get older and their nervous system matures. However, some children may continue to have sensory issues into adulthood. If you are concerned about your child’s development, speak with their doctor.

Please note: Always supervise your child while doing a sensory play activity.

Other sensory activities you may enjoy:

Easy Sensory Activities for Kids
Sensory Crafts for Kids
Oatmeal Sensory Bins