Sensory play is the ultimate boredom buster that’s hands-on, educational and best of all, fun for kids of all ages. Children will love playing, investigating and exploring these easy at-home activities that are guaranteed to keep your kiddos busy. 


Stamped Monoprints

Cranbrook Art Museum shares this fun open-ended art activity that lets kids use common household objects such as toilet paper rolls, blocks, cars or any fun item that can be used to “stamp” paint onto paper. Share your kid’s creations with Cranbook Art Museum at #CreatewithCAM and #LittleGuideDetroit. 


Gardening with Kids

Not only is gardening the perfect outdoor sensory activity for kids but it also sparks children’s natural curiosity, covers multiple STEM concepts, and helps encourage a healthy and balanced diet. To get you started, LittleGuide Detroit has created the ultimate beginner’s guide to creating a vegetable garden at home


Scoop and Pour with Sand or Water

Filling, scooping and pouring activities develop fine motor skills, explore cause and effect, and teach self-awareness. Grab a large bowl or storage bin and add water, sand, dried rice, or beans along with measuring cups, spoons, and funnels and allow your little ones to go to town scooping, digging, and pouring. The possibilities are endless! 


Science Experiments

These 12 fun science experiments make the awesome educational sensory experience- best of all they can be done with just a few common household materials. 


Sensory Bags

We spend enough of our day cleaning up after our little ones so if sensory activities seem a bit overwhelming, check out these mess-free options. I always have a few sensory bags lying around the house for when I need a few minutes to throw in a load of laundry or sneak in a quick coffee break. They make the perfect screen-free entertainment when dining out with kiddos too! 


Toy Washing Station

Create a toy washing station with items you always have lying around the house. Put some water, soap, and sponges in a bin or large bowl, throw in some toy cars, baby dolls or whatever your kids will love “giving a bath” and let them scrub a dub dub til their little fingers get pruney. Mom Hack Tip: Toss a large bath towel underneath the sensory bowl to catch all of the water that is sure to spill over. 


Make Nature Soup

This unique sensory activity from Happily Ever Mom has endless possibilities for child-led learning through play. Head outside for a nature walk and have kiddos gather leaves, rocks, and acorns. Once home, drop your nature treasures in muffin tins, add water and food coloring and freeze overnight. The next day set out all of the “nature soup” ingredients (frozen nature treasures, a bin of water, a few fun tools to dig/scoop/pour with) and step back and let children decide where the fun leads. 


Cool Whip Art

Cool Whip makes amazing edible paint and is great for children who love to put everything in their mouths. For added fun, add a few drops of food coloring in and let little kids use paintbrushes, cookie cutters or their fingers to create beautiful pieces of artwork that smell and taste delicious. 

Learning Extension: Encourage children to practice writing letters and numbers in the Cool Whip.


Sticks and Playdough People

This mess-free activity only requires playdough, twigs and whatever else your kids want to use to create their stick people. Let kids imagination take the lead on this fun and easy activity as they build all kinds of creations. 


Essential Sensory Materials

For those of us parents who aren’t crafty (myself included) or simply don’t have the time or energy, keep it simple and easy with these go-to sensory experiences. As an educator and mom, I always have play dough, finger paint, water beads, and sand available and accessible for my little guy. He loves the freedom that comes with choosing what materials to use and how to use them and I love watching the different learning opportunities that emerge.  




Ashley Porter is a Chicago native who now calls Birmingham home. Ashley and her husband Mike and son Jake love attending local festivals, exploring Detroit’s diverse food scene, and venturing outside of Metro Detroit to enjoy the natural beauty of Michigan. With a background in Early Childhood Education, Ashley loves connecting with and supporting families in her community, which is why she is so excited to be a part of LittleGuide Detroit.