Sensory art and activities can be extremely beneficial for a child’s development: they can refine motor skills, encourage cognitive thinking and help calm an anxious kid. Ready to bond with your little ones whilst they have fun and learn new things?

We’ve compiled 5 sensory art activities that will help your children make observations about the world, all while entertaining them for longer than traditional toys or crafts. Plus, the result will be a beautiful piece of art.

Fingerpainting

How to make the paint

  • Pour a small amount of liquid starch on surface
  • Add one or two tablespoons of (non-toxic) liquid tempera paint 
  • Encourage your child to make the paint by mixing it with their fingers

What to do

  • Cover a low table with newspaper, a plastic tablecloth, or an old shower curtain.
  • Take a piece of white paper to the covered workstation.
  • Drop a puddle of paint in the middle of the paper.
  • Encourage your child to spread the paint around with their hands, elbows, and fingers.
  • Consider using other tools for painting, like a rolling pin, straws, etc. Avoid any sharp and pointed objects, though.
  • Make sure there is water and soap nearby so your child can wash their hands as many times as they want.

Stretchy dough

How to make the dough

  • Mix 1 cup vegetable oil, 1 cup water, and 1 teaspoon of food colouring in a bowl
  • Slowly add 4 cups flour and stir with a wooden spoon or hands until the dough forms a ball
  • Put the dough on the table and knead until smooth

What to do

  • Help your child put on an art shirt or apron since the dough is very oily.
  • Pound, roll, knead, poke, and stretch the dough.
  • Add sculpting tools to your play and explore creativity with different shapes and objects like a cone, tree, circles, etc.

Sand drawing

How to make a sandbox

  • Use a pan or cookie sheet and cover it with a dark paper.
  • Pour and cover the pan with fine craft-store sand.
  • Shake the pan so that the sand is evenly distributed, and your sandbox is ready!

What to do

  • Encourage your child to feel and explore the sand before drawing.
  • Draw lines in the sand using fingers, spoons, chopsticks, etc.
  • Pat the design with your hands to smooth the sand and start over again!

Painting with jingle bells

What you need

  • Open-box with short sides or a tray with longer edges
  • Paper
  • Paint
  • Jingle bells
  • Cups (for paint and jingle bells)
  • Spoons (helps to get the jingle bells out of the paint cups)

What to do

  • Encourage your kid to drop the bells into colours of their choice.
  • Then drop the bells into the box and ask them to move the box with their hands.
  • Ask your child what will happen if they tilt the box? The bells will of course move and make a sound as they run into the sides of the box.

Splat art

What you need

  • A solid and hard play station like a small table or wooden floor
  • Long sheet of brown butcher paper 
  • Tin cans to hold down the edges of the paper
  • Pom-poms or cotton balls
  • Liquid colours
  • A small wooden mallet or a spoon

Process

  • Set up your play station on a table or ground by covering it with brown butcher paper.
  • Encourage your kid to choose or mix colours of their interest and dip the pom-poms in paint.
  • Place the pom-poms on the paper and splatter them with a wooden mallet or spoon.
  • Or, drop the cotton balls soaked in paint on the ground.
  • Remove the cotton ball with a spoon, fingers, or tongs.
  • And, repeat!

These simple art and activities for kids are open-ended allowing the child for a multi-sensory experience making the process of learning fun and interesting!

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