Over the past 13 months we have purchased many items for sensory play. Some items have been successful, others not so. To aid with your 31 Day Sensory Play Challenge we have put together a sensory play challenge shopping list of items we have found helpful. Please note that all Amazon links contain affiliated links.
Tuff Spot Trays
Many sensory activities involve messy play. One way to contain the mess and reduce the stress is by using a Tuff Spot Tray. Otherwise known as a Builder’s Cement Mixing Tray, it is a large octagonal shaped tray with raised sides that reduce spillages. It is big enough for your little one to sit in. We bought ours instore from B&Q. However, it was difficult to get the Tuff Spot into our large car. I would therefore recommend purchasing a Tuff Spot from Amazon or TTS as they will deliver it to you.
If you have several children wanting to play at the Tuff Spot at the same time or if your child prefers playing whilst they are standing then you may wish to invest in a Tuff Spot With An Adjustable Stand. The stand can be set to three height positions meaning it will grow as your child does.
If you do not want the expense or have the space to store a Tuff Spot than messy sensory play can take place in any water/sand table, plastic box or large roasting tin.
Our favourite box is a 33 Litre Really Useful Under The Bed Plastic Storage Box. It is a perfect size for a toddler to sit in and rest another box on top. We regularly use an Ikea Trofast storage tray for smaller sensory activities.
For many months we persevered with supermarket bought food colouring. After using nearly a whole bottle to obtain light green play dough I asked advice from other bloggers. They recommended Wilton Icing Colours. The box contains 8 colours and after just one activity we shall never return to supermarket food colouring again. A tiny amount of the Wilton Icing food colouring goes a long way and the colours are vibrant. I can imagine this box will last us a very long time.
Water beads, otherwise known as Crystal Soil or Gel Balls, are water retaining gel that florists use to keep cut flowers alive in vases. You soak the crystals in a bowl of water for a few hours or over night and they expand and turn into slippery squishy marbles. However, they are not taste safe at all and may not be appropriate for babies or younger toddlers.
For the sensory challenge we shall be using the BrainPack from Marbles The Brain Store. Grandad bought us a pack on his recent trip to America. However, in the past we have used Mixed Colors Crystal Water Gel Beads. The water beads can also be bought in individual coloured packs in blue, green, pink, purple, yellow and transparent.
We have a slight obsession with masking tape. Our masking tape car track and train track continue to be our favourite activities. I would not recommend Supermarket Value Masking Tape as it wouldn’t stay down. We had pleasing results from Duck All Purpose Masking Tape.
After persevering for some time with supermarket bought paint we finally treated ourselves to some Baker Ross Ready Mixed Paint. They are great quality paint, the colours are bright and bold and so far they haven’t stained any clothing.
Sensory Play Tips
* The majority of products we buy are Supermarket value range – especially shaving foam, hair gel (for sensory bags), flour (for play dough) and cotton wool balls.
* Black Turtle Beans and Red Split Lentils (both 500g bags) are great for Sensory Bins.
* PoundLand and the 99p Store are great places for picking up sensory items such as glow sticks, balloons, pipe cleaners and pom poms.
* To get jelly to set you will need to add additional gelatin
* Contact paper otherwise known as Clear Sticky Back Plastic can be hard to come buy. We have bought ours from Tesco and Asda, found in the stationary aisle, but the roll isn’t very big – for example when making our Sticky Christmas Tree I had to use a couple of Supermarket bought rolls.
Sensory Play Challenge Shopping List: