Home ยป DIY and Crafts ยป Ocean Themed Sensory Tray

Ocean Themed Sensory Tray

At the moment in our homeschooling journey we are focusing a lot on sensory play. Both kids enjoy it and it adds some fun to our learning. It does get very messy some times but that is when they have the most fun. So we set up for the messier days, then I can leave them and not telling them all the time to be clean and tidy.

We are currently busy with the Ocean but I did this tray for them a while ago and it was one of the better one’s we have done and they are still playing with it. Pinterest is full of ideas for sensory trays because there are no rules and you can go wild with how you set them up.

The main goal of a sensory tray is to expose your child to different textures, smells and even tastes. You don’t want to overload the tray and add in too many different items but don’t limit yourself. Put some items together and see how your kids enjoy it. I bought some steel over trays to put ours in but you can use anything.

I bought some plastic sea animals of different sizes for this sea themed one. Some of them had little squeakers in which adds a different sensory experience and Emma enjoyed these ones more than Jack.

I added some sea shells in different sizes and shapes. Our local Chinese shop has bags of them so I am not 100% sure of their authenticity but we don’t live close to the sea so we are working with what we have. If you have toddlers be careful with this because some of them were really small.


The pompoms where my favourite and you can get them in different colours and sizes at the Chinese shops.


I was going to leave it like that but it looked a little empty so I added some coloured oats and I am so glad I did because it made a big difference.


The coloured oats are so easy to make. Just throw some oats into a ziploc bag, add some food colour, shake and voila.

You just add everything into the tray and let them play with it. I just lay the trays outside for them or on the table and leave it. Some times it sits their for a few days and other times they can’t wait to dive into it. I love watching them play with these trays because they get so creative and will bring other toys into it and create such cool stories with the toys.

This is a fun way to incorporate different sense into your child’s every day play. You can swap the oats for rice, noodles or popcorn kernels.

Don’t be too stuck on the mess when your kids are playing. Set everything up outside and let them use cups, spoons and even water to explore the tray.

What do you need to make an ocean themed sensory tray.

  1. Animals – they don’t have to be plastic, I have seen wooden toys used and felt cut out.s
  2. Sea-shells.
  3. Pompoms/mini balls
  4. Coloured oats
  5. A large steel tray

These trays are often motivation for Jack to get his book work done. He really enjoys them so much.

Have you made these trays for your kids? How did they enjoy them?



    8 May, 2019 / 4:13 pm

    This looks like so much fun! My son would love it!

  2. 9 May, 2019 / 5:43 am

    I am gonna keep this in mind. Our daughter would enjoy this. Thank you for sharing.

  3. 10 May, 2019 / 10:27 pm

    What an awesome sensory bin. I love the theme and all the components. I can see why kids love this!

  4. 11 May, 2019 / 5:07 pm

    My daughter has sensory processing disorder, I would LOVE to make her something like this because I really think she would benefit but she always has speech and receptive delay so she would just eat everything instead. ๐Ÿ™

  5. 13 May, 2019 / 7:13 am

    I have been neglecting sensory play with our kids. I must start doing it again. This is such a cute one, my girls would love it too. Thanks Laura.

  6. 18 May, 2019 / 9:29 pm

    This is the cutest ! I can totally make this !

  7. 27 May, 2019 / 5:14 pm

    Hi Laura, I enjoyed reading through your article, thanks a lot.
    I love the beach and ocean. Unfortunately, living in southwest Ohio means the beach is at least 12 hours away and we are lucky if we get there once a year. My daughter has yet to experience a real beach or ocean so I wanted to bring the experience to her right at home. With some materials like Flexible ice cube tray fish molds,
    Gelatin packets, Blue food coloring, Glitter, Water, Ocean animal figures, i was able to make her some Rainbow Fish ocean sensory bin was a fantastic activity. My daughter loved digging in and playing with the slippery rainbow fish!
    Janie Melcher recently posted…Best Bath Toys For 6 Month OldMy Profile

  8. Monica
    24 June, 2019 / 4:44 pm

    I love making sensory bins for my little one. I’ll have to make an ocean themed one for this week! ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. 23 July, 2019 / 8:29 pm

    That’s such a cute idea! I wouldn’t have ever thought to color oats! I thought it was fish pebbles at the first sight of this craft. My kids would love this.

  10. 25 July, 2019 / 6:54 pm

    This is a great idea! My little girl loves the beach so I think she will love this sensory tray too. I believe we have most of the materials at home. Can’t wait to get started.

  11. 26 July, 2019 / 8:12 pm

    What a fantastic idea! And I have all of this stuff at home already. Putting it on today’s to-do list. Thanks!

  12. Sarah
    31 July, 2019 / 9:07 pm

    What a fun sensory bin. We made one like this with water beads but then sea animals. The kids loved it.

  13. 31 July, 2019 / 11:31 pm

    Colored oatmeal is a great idea for sensory play! This looks like a lot of fun.


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