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.
- Animals – they don’t have to be plastic, I have seen wooden toys used and felt cut out.s
- Pompoms/mini balls
- Coloured oats
- A large steel tray
These trays are often motivation for Jack to get his book work done. He really enjoys them so much.