When it comes to fine motor development, parents often worry about their children lagging behind. But there are plenty of EASY and FUN ways to encourage fine motor skills while stimulating the five main senses; hearing, seeing, touch, taste, and smell. I’ve compiled a list of my favorite 5 senses activities that are sure to inspire some productive playtime!
This original post is featured on my other blog, Intensive Therapy for Kids.
Hearing Sensory Activity – Sounds Sensory Jars
Do you have an empty jar or small container tucked away at home?
If so, pull them out to create an excellent hearing-sensory activity for your little one! If you don’t have empty jars or small containers on hand, no worries. They are inexpensive and quick to find.
What You’ll Need
- Plastic jars with lids
- Items to add to your jars
Objects lying around your home or kitchen will do to add to your jar. Gather things like marbles, rice, beans, popcorn, coins, sand, glitter, gumballs, gems, buttons, or cereal.
Hearing Sensory Activity
The goal of the “Sounds Sensory Jar” is to inspire your child to place objects into the jar and discover what kind of sound it makes when they shake it.
This activity can encompass ALL 5 senses depending on what you put into the jar.
Kick this activity up a notch with these plastic jars with lids to turn it into an educational experience. I love how this set comes with a pen, spatula, and labels.
Here are a few activities to try out:
- Label the items on the jar to teach objects and words.
- Turn it into an engaging math game by counting or guessing how many items are in the jar.
- The spatula is a perfect size for kids to play with to twirl, stir, or have fun with the objects. Plus, it can be used as an inclusive tool to help whoever is whipping up a yummy treat in your kitchen!
A hands-on activity to boost fine motor functions, cognitive thinking, and shape and color recognition.
Sensory Smell Activity – Scratch-N-Sniff Stickers
This activity takes me back to when I was little. I remember having a blast scratching and sniffing grape and strawberry cartoon stickers. For whatever reason, I remember those two smells.
What You’ll Need
- Scratch-n-sniff stickers with an assortment of scents
- Construction paper or plain white paper
I recommend these stickers because of the variety of scents included (17 to be exact!) such as grape, lemon, strawberry, blueberry, raspberry, orange, apple, mango, pineapple, avocado, banana, watermelon, peach, gardenia, vanilla, lavender, and cola!
Sensory Smell Activity
This is one of my FAV fine motor and sensory activities because of the all different things you can do with stickers.
Get creative with this and have fun creating different sticker activities with your kiddo to encourage pinching and fine motor development. Some things you can do:
- Play a “matching game”
- Make an “I spy” sticker book
- Work on body awareness (place a sticker on the toes to encourage reaching or on the knees to teach about the body part)
Ask your child, “Where is your knee?” and see if they can place a sticker there. Repeat this for their feet, tummy, hands, etc.
An entertaining activity to heighten your sense of smell and improve fine motor skills.
Sight Sensory Activity – Beach Ball Word and Number Game
Play this sight sensory activity indoors, outdoors, or on vacation! This word and number game are super simple to create with just a few bucks.
What You’ll Need
- Plastic Beach Ball
- Sharpie Marker
Sight Sensory Activity
Tailor this activity to what suits your child best! Do they need to learn how to count to 10 or understand a new vocabulary word?
Take your plastic beach ball and sharpie to write with. Then, write whatever numbers or words you’d like on the ball to create the perfect game for them. It’s really that easy.
A beach ball is suggested because it’s easier to write numbers or words between the segmented lines.
How To Play…
Toss the ball back and forth. When you catch it, whatever word or number your finger lands on, say that word or count that number. It’s nice to throw in a couple of words or numbers your child may already recognize to inspire their confidence.
A wonderful activity to enhance and develop gross motor functions while improving math and language skills.
Taste Sensory Activity – No-Mess Nutrition Sensory Bin
I recently came across this sensory activity and immediately knew I had to share it with you!
What You’ll Need
Taste Sensory Activity
This taste sensory activity is a smart way to introduce or reintroduce healthy foods to your kiddo. This activity pretty much stimulates all senses but more importantly, it encourages your child to learn about yummy nutritious treats.
Put all sorts of colorful fruits and veggies into a bin to let your little one explore nutritious treats. Feel free to introduce your child to either fruits or veggies, you don’t have to do them all together. Completely up to you! Then, have some of the “real food items” on hand to let your kiddo taste test during their next meal.
You can always do a REAL fruit and vegetable nutrition bin or just start off with one food group. It’s definitely messier but such an amazing way to inspire your child to try out nutritious treats!
An easy hands-on activity to enhance fine motor development while teaching about healthy food options, shapes, and colors.
Touch Sensory Activity – Dry Pasta Sensory Bin
Making a dry pasta sensory bin is a great way to provide tactile sensory exploration. Plus, all you need are pasta and some other items like spoons or containers!
So while you’re busy in the kitchen, your kiddo will be too!
What You’ll Need
- Plastic cups
- Measuring cups
- Dry pasta
- Plastic bin (20 or 30-quart bin)
Touch Sensory Activity
This at-home touch sensory activity is a great bonding opportunity for both you and your child. You may incorporate it into a learning game to teach your child measurements and numbers too.
Feel free to get creative too by adding colors (to help with color recognition) or different shapes of pasta to further engage your child in the sensory bin. Have fun counting the pasta, measuring it out, or grouping it together by certain shapes or colors.
Have your child sit on a blanket while playing for an easy and quick clean-up!
A wonderful fine motor activity for a child to strengthen grasping skills.
Questions and Answers
What age is best for sensory play?
Earlier the better. A baby is ready for sensory play early on because you can stimulate their senses with daily activities.
As early as a few months old you can start introducing your child to the creative world of sensory fun OR anytime they begin opening their hand from a fist to reach for things.
What are the benefits of sensory play?
A child explores their world through play! That’s one of their ‘love’ languages when it comes to enjoyment, learning, and growing as a child. Sensory play helps with:
- Language development
- Gross motor skills
- Cognitive thinking
- Learning differences
- Cause and effect
When we create a joyful environment for our kids to have the freedom to play, the more we can encourage their curiosity and creativity through sensory exploration.
To Wrap It Up
These 5 senses activities are just a few examples of how easy it is to encourage fine motor skills while also stimulating the senses. And the BEST part…they can all be done with items you most likely have around the house!
These activities are not only fun, but they also promote learning and creativity. So if you’re looking for some productive playtime inspiration, try one (or all!) of these activities to encourage sensory and fine motor development.
Until the next, post I’m sending you all the positive parenting vibes!
What 5 senses activities do you love or recommend? I’m curious! Let me know in the comments below. Your input means a lot and helps others who read this post!
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About The Author
Linds is the proud mom of two little miracles, Mono Mono twin girls, and one AMAZING older brother! She is the founder and content creator of Mono Mono Twins, Intensive Therapy for Kids, and Co-Founder of The LENN Foundation, a 510c3 that helps children with cerebral palsy receive grants for intensive therapies to thrive. ♥
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