12 Unique Sensory Activities for 2 Year Olds

Emma Davies
Stay at Home Mom

Try to plan your day, especially during holiday times. Make a list of fun things to do outside of the home such as going to the park, and then check out all the ideas for sensory activity.  There are so many and no child should ever have a bored expression. One great idea is to help you make supper, such as putting rice or pasta into a bowl.  The child could be creating their own pretend meals, and in turn be touching and feeling the rice or pasta by making little mounds pouring it into containers; they’ll play for ages with this sensory activity.

  • Making rainbows

It’s so simple and great fun, and completely mess free. Just pour some kid’s paints in different colours and seal them well into a strong clear plastic freezer bag.  Allow the child to pat, swirl and make shapes and funny faces with their hands, and even try making a rainbow.  Sensory and imaginative play will be enjoyed.  Just watch their faces light up when they make a silly face that is Mom or Dad!

Check Craft activities for 2 year olds for more ideas!

  • Water play ideas

All kids love bubbles in a sink, and to wash things.  Suggest to them that the small plastic toys need a bath, and allow the child to enjoy the experience using all their imaginative play.  They’ll play for ages and as long as you’re around for safety, and lots of fun will be enjoyed with bubbles.  Perhaps add some food or paint coloring to make it more exciting.  Maybe all the small toys could enjoy a pink bath and the larger one a green bath?

  • Bath times

Make it fun to ask various toys to enjoy the bath along with your 2 year old.  A great idea is to stack the small toys into a small washing basket so they’re all contained and for allowing which toys go in and out of the basket. It’s a great fun idea.  Bath times are always too short but make the most of this special time.

  • Paddling pools and water slides

Always under supervision allow your child to pour the water in and out of any container, jump in and out of the pool, splash about, and just throw the water in the air. Always put sunscreen on your child and allow them to have the time of their lives.  Just sit and watch their antics and take photos as they enjoy one of the best sensory activities. Many kids will love playing imaginary games in water and it’s a hit with children of all ages. If a water slide is attached, always check their safety, and never leave young children unattended in a pool however shallow the water.

  • Bouncy castles and ball pits

Bouncy castles were invented in 1959 and are quite simply good old fashioned fun, and saves jumping about on beds and furniture.  Whether it’s in the garden or at an event, all kids love them.  Not only does it provide social skills but offers all the sensory experiences and good all-round exercise along with gaining good doses of Vitamin D.  Ball pits or a ball crawl pits are one of the best sensory activities and 2 year old will enjoy hiding among the plastic balls and having a fun time in making their own dens. 

  • Sensory jars

Just watch your 2 year sniff jars with ingredients such as lemons, herbs, or scent. They’ll usually pull a face, and may not like the smells, but just get their reaction to something like garlic, or chocolate. Their expression will tell all. Ask them which they love best, they’ll probably want to go on a sniffing expedition throughout the kitchen, then smelling flowers and shrubs in the garden.  It’s a fun activity and you’ll be amazed at what the child likes and dislikes with smells.

  • Messy messy fun playtimes

If you’re baking, give your 2 year old their own blob of pastry and a few raisins and tell them to make shapes and perhaps some cakes.  Let them play and create masterpieces, bake them and they’ll enjoy seeing their own handy work, then eating them.  Also check crafts activities for 3/5 year old.

  • Sandy games

Whether on the beach or in a sand pit at home, running and pouring sand through little fingers is the best fun.  Buckets and spades to the ready, every child will love this sensory activity, and making sandcastles or a fort with a child allows you to act out your early childhood memories.  Kids will play for hours on a beach making their own creations, then with a mix of paddling in the sea and getting water in buckets they’ll enjoy making mud pies on the beach, and this is the best ever free fun.

  • Halloween sensory activities

From fake spiders or wobbly fake eyes in slimy colored jelly to squishing colored spaghetti through tiny fingers, Halloween is a fun sensory playtime. Get your toddler making funny faces and see their reaction when they create some monsters from play doh.  Give them monster names and line them up on the window sill ready for trick and treat. Every child loves Halloween and it’s a great time to get creative, not least in dressing up as a witch or something very scary with a mask.  Apple bobbing is great fun with trying to grab apples by the stalks in the mouth. Kids love to try this and always allow a prize for who can grab the most apples.

  • Take sensory activities right through the seasons

During any season there’s sensory fun to be enjoyed. If a 2 year old can hold a simple conversation then make a picture collage and indicate something for each season. What happens in spring etc, and leaves falling in the autumn, then snow in winter.  Make a scrapbook and add things associated with different seasons and talk about them, or make up a story about the child going out to play on a snowy day. Ask what they would love to do best.   Enjoy some role play to represent the seasons, as not only does it get your child’s imagination going but it’s fun seeing how they react to each season.

  • Sensory bins

These are ideal for talking about the seasons. Fill some cartons with ice from the freezer and chat about winter, then another container with dried leaves, coconut flakes can be snow, and make perforated containers to allow kids to make their own rain that can happen at any time of the year. It’s more difficult to make sunshine but just draw a huge smiling sun and stick it on the fridge door to enjoy.

From pasta, to drinking straws, pens and crayons, jelly beans, or any type of dried beans, pieces of felt or small pieces of cloth, the playlist is endless.  Allow kids to pull out whatever they wish from the sensory bin and see how they explore and make things.  If you have an activity table or area so much the better as messy play can be left for the next day. 

  • Handling plants or shrubs

Every child loves to run their fingers through tickly long grass or touch hay bales. They will discover that holly leaves are prickly and stinging nettles bite, and gradually they’ll understand that certain plants should not be touched. Texture is always fascinating to a child, also enjoying rolling down a long grassy hill or picking daisies to make a daisy chain is an unforgettable childhood experience.

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