Sensory toys are a great way for preschoolers to learn and explore. They help children build their vocabulary, develop motor skills, and strengthen the bond between you and your child. Plus, they can be used as an alternative to traditional toys that may cause harm or discomfort if not properly supervised.
If you’re looking to purchase some of the most popular sensory toys on the market, check out these expert tips and tricks. You’ll find a list of the top sensory toys below with details about each toy, including its benefits, age range, and suggested retail price (SRP). If you don’t see your desired toy listed here, consider browsing through our favorite sensory toys page for even more ideas.
Popularly known as Bubble Wrap, this toy is made from bubble-shaped polyester film, which is durable, tear resistant, elastic, and lightweight. It’s used in many areas of business, such as packaging, advertising, and art projects. This material has been around since the 1940s and is great for absorbing sound. It also provides a soothing feeling when pressed against a body part.
As kids move around the room while playing with it, bubbles will bounce off walls, furniture, and other objects. The result is a fun game that encourages children to move around and explore their environment. Many people use it as a calming activity for babies and toddlers who are overstimulated by noise or movement.
This game works best when played indoors and requires no assembly. Bubble Wrap comes in three sizes: small, medium, and large. The small piece is ideal for babies and toddlers (under 18 months old), while the medium size works well for older kids (three years or older) and adults. Finally, the large sheets are suitable for anyone over 5 feet tall.
Bubble wrap is perfect for calming down fussy infants and toddlers who like to get active. It can also provide hours of entertainment to children who enjoy building forts, playing games, and exploring their surroundings.
Age Range: 3 months – 18 months
Recommended Retail Price: Small $2.99; Medium $4.99; Large $9.99
Crayon is one of the most popular sensory toys for many reasons. First, it provides children with a safe opportunity to express themselves creatively. Second, it lets them experience different textures and colors. Third, it allows them to create unique designs that reflect their personalities. And finally, it’s affordable and portable enough to take anywhere.
When purchasing crayons, look for ones that contain natural pigments instead of synthetic dyes or powders. These colors won’t fade and won’t stain surfaces. Natural colors include reds, blues, greens, pinks, oranges, purples, browns, whites, and yellows. Some brands offer a wide selection of colors, while others only offer black, white, and a few shades of color.
The best crayons come in refillable tubes, usually available at most office supply stores. Keep in mind that they have a limited number of uses before they begin to lose their stickiness, so you might want to buy a new tube every couple weeks.
Crayons are easy to use and require little supervision. Kids will love coloring inside and outside their lines, creating colorful pictures, and decorating their rooms with their creations.
Age Range: 6 months – 12 years
Recommended Retail Price: $1.99-$3.49 per pack
Watercolor Paint Pens
Watercolor paint pens were designed specifically for children ages four and up. They feature smooth, non-toxic, water-based paints that dry within seconds. Each pen includes a cap that doubles as a storage container, with a lid that locks shut to prevent spills.
These pens allow kids to experiment with mixing and blending two or more colors, using a variety of techniques to create detailed drawings. Watercolor paint pens provide hours of fun without requiring any messy cleanup.
Benefits: With such a wide age range, watercolor paint pens are a wonderful choice for children of all ages. They work well for preschoolers, helping them practice fine motor skills, eye-hand coordination, and visual memory. Older kids will also appreciate how fast and mess-free the process is.
Age Range: 4 years & up
Recommended Retail Price: $6.99-$8.99
Scratch ‘N’ Sniff Books
Scratch ‘n’ sniff books are a simple, yet effective, way to introduce young children to reading. They’re a great option for parents who aren’t familiar with the concept of sight words but would like to expose their baby or toddler to books.
Unlike regular books, scratch ‘n’ sniff books are meant to be smelled rather than read. A special page is included in each book that contains a series of letters and symbols. While holding the book close to your face, gently rub the page back and forth across your nose. As you do so, you’ll notice that certain letters and words appear. For example, the word “dog” could make you smell kitty litter.
Once you’ve learned what each letter and symbol smells like, try using them in sentences. You should be able to understand the meaning of the text after several attempts.
Scratch ‘n’ sniff books are a great introduction to literacy because they’re both educational and entertaining.
Age Range: 1 year & up
Recommended Retail Price: $6.99-$12.99
Finger Painting Kits
Finger painting kits combine creative expression with social interaction. Children have fun exploring the various colors and textures found in everyday items, such as paper, tissue papers, and cotton balls.
While finger painting is typically done on a canvas or other flat surface, you can also use it to decorate paper plates, cups, napkins, and other common household items. Kids will love experimenting with different materials and techniques, which they can then share with friends.
Finger painting is an excellent way to teach children about creativity and self-expression. In addition, it offers them the chance to play with something besides a screen or tablet.
Age Range: 2 years & up
Recommended Retail Price: $5.00-$10.00
Rubber Stamp Sets
Rubber stamps are great for introducing children to artistic expression. They’re inexpensive and easily accessible. Most come with different sets of stamps, allowing them to personalize their artwork, add quotes, and draw pictures.
Some rubber stamp sets can be used with markers, pencils, crayons, and chalk. Others come with ink pads that can be used with felt-tip pens, colored pencils, and markers. When choosing a set, look for ones that are sturdy and have a clear image.
Rubber stamping is a great way to introduce children to the arts. By drawing and painting with markers, pencils, and chalk, they’ll gain important tactile skills that will prepare them for future endeavors.
Age Range: 3 years & up
Recommended Retail Price: $3.99-$4.99
Paper Plate Masks
Masks are a fantastic way for young kids to express themselves creatively. Their faces become a canvas for artwork, adding a layer of depth to otherwise bland backgrounds. Masks are especially beneficial for those who struggle to communicate verbally or visually.
You’ll need to cut out two circles, one larger than the other. Once you’ve got them ready, place the smaller circle on top of the larger one. Then, cut out the shape of a mouth from the larger circle. Use scissors or a craft knife to carefully remove the smaller circle.
Next, glue the mouth on the face of the mask. Add a pair of eyes and a pair of eyebrows. Allow the mask to dry thoroughly before placing it somewhere where your child can discover it. That way, he or she will be motivated to put on the mask and explore his or her own creativity.
Paper plate masks are a great way to promote imagination and creativity. Because they’re relatively inexpensive and easily accessible, they’re a great tool for encouraging early childhood development.
Age Range: 3 years & up
Recommended Retail Price: $0.99-$3.99
Play dough isn’t just for kids! Adults can benefit from it, too. It’s easy to clean up and requires very little maintenance. You can make homemade play dough simply by mixing flour, salt, oil, and water together. Afterward, knead the mixture until it forms a ball and let it sit for at least 30 minutes to harden.
To help children develop their gross motor skills, play dough can be formed into shapes or rolled out into ropes. To encourage imaginative play, you can fill plastic containers with the dough and then give them to your child. He or she can use them to act out stories and role plays.
Play dough is a great way to encourage your child to explore his or her environment. It’s also a good replacement for clay, making it a versatile toy that can be used with almost anything.
Age Range: All ages
Recommended Retail Price: $0.50-$3.99
Tissue Paper Dolls
Tissue paper dolls are a classic plaything for kids of all ages. They’re inexpensive and easy to assemble. Simply cut out a head, torso, arms, legs, and dress from a sheet of paper. Next, fold the pieces into the proper shape, and glue them onto cardboard templates that you’ve created beforehand.
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