Fun Sensory Activities


This topical guide will introduce you to important books, videos, and information resources available from the EI Clearinghouse and other sources. Contact us via online form or by phone (1-877-275-3227) to request a resource listed below (or ask your local public librarian). Note that some videos may be viewed online, and journal titles will take you to the publisher’s homepage.

baby in crib with toy


Balanced and barefoot : how unrestricted outdoor play makes for strong, confident, and capable children
Angela Hanscom
New Harbinger Publications, 2016
This book explains why unrestrained movement and outdoor play are vital for children’s cognitive development, and offers fun, engaging activities to help ensure that kids grow into healthy, balanced, and resilient adults.
Call#: HQ 782 .H346 2016
Also available as an eBook.

Busy toddler, happy mom : over 280 activities to engage your toddler in small motor and gross motor activities, crafts, language development and sensory play
Gayle Jervis
CreateSpace, 2013
This book contains over 280 activities designed to stimulate a toddler’s mind and body using easy to find and inexpensive items.
Call#: GV 183 .J488 2013

Come and Play: Sensory-Integration Strategies for Children With Play Challenges
Aerial Cross
Redleaf Press, 2010
This book explores common play challenges and intervention techniques to use when you observe children struggling to play. Focusing on large motor and outdoor play activities, this book also includes background information and sensory-integration play tips from an experienced occupational therapist.
Call#: LB 1139.5 .P55C76 2010

Exciting sensory bins for curious kids : 60 easy creative play projects that boost brain development, calm anxiety and build fine motor skills
Mandisa Watts
Page Street Publishing, 2020
This book provides caregivers with ideas for sensory bins using materials already on hand to help develop fine motor and social emotional skills in young children.
Call#: GV 183 .W358 2020

Fun with Messy Play: Ideas and Activities for Children with Special Needs
Tracey Beckerleg
Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2009
Beckerleg describes activities that children find fun while they are improving their sensory awareness, coordination, communication, and social skills. This practical guide includes suggestions for using different types of equipment.
Call#: GV 183.6 .B396 2009

Play to Progress: Lead Your Child to Success Using the Power of Sensory Play
Allie Ticktin
TarcherPerigee, 2022
This book discusses the eight sensory systems and how a child uses them, and offers easy, fun activities—as well as advice on setting up a play area—that will encourage their development so that your little one will be better able to respond to their emotions, build friendships, communicate their needs, and thrive in school.
Only available as an eBook

Positioning for Play: Interactive Activities to Enhance Movement and Sensory Exploration
Rachel Diamant & Allison Whiteside
Pro-ed, 2010
This book for parents and early interventionists contains a collection of reproducible sheets detailing developmentally appropriate activities that enhance the movement, motor skills, and sensory abilities of young children experiencing a developmental delay.
Call#: WS 350.4 .D537 2010

Recipes for Play : Creative Activities for Small Hands and Big Imaginations
Rachel Sumner, Ruth Mitchener
The Experiment, 2014
This book contains easy and inexpensive ideas for engaging a child’s senses. It’s a book for parents and teachers – or anyone with a child in their life – who want to encourage tactile learning but don’t want their lives to be controlled by chaos.
Only available as an eBook

Simple low-cost games and activities for sensorimotor learning: a sourcebook of ideas for young children including those with autism, ADHD, sensory processing disorder, and other learning differences
Lisa Kurtz
Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2014
This practical book is packed full of fun, low-cost games and activities that encourage the development of motor skills, coordination and sensory tolerance in young children.
Call#: LC 4026 .K87 2014


Applying Sensory Integration Principles Where Children Live, Learn And Play
Paul Trautman, Narrator
30 min; DVD
Pediatric Therapy Network, 2003
This video focuses on the application of sensory integration principles in a variety of settings such as the home, school and community for children with and without special needs.
Call#: WE 104 .A652 2003

A sensory world : making sense of sensory disorders
93 min; DVD
TCU Insitute of Child Development, 2010
This video offers insights about how sensory processing disorders make it difficult for many children to function at home and school. Parents and professionals will learn to recognize signs of sensory disorders and will learn practical strategies for coping with them.
Call#: WS 340 .Se595w 2010

Understanding Sensory Processing
25 min; Online
Starnet: Project Apples, 2019
This video hares insights and need-to-know information for families, teachers, and caregivers on sensory processing.


Young Exceptional Children, 13(5), 17-27
You’ve Got That Magic Touch: Integrating the Sense of Touch into Early Childhood Services
Elaine Fogel Schneider and Philip Patterson. (2010)
Young children use their sense of touch to explore and understand the world in which they live.

Web Resources

Encouraging Development in Everyday Spaces (EIC)
A parent-friendly tip sheet created by the Illinois Early Intervention Clearinghouse. Also available in Spanish.

Just-Right Sensory Play (EIC)
A parent-friendly tip sheet created by the Illinois Early Intervention Clearinghouse. Also available in Spanish.

Say Yes to the Mess! Water Works
Playing with materials such as water can be an important outdoor experience for preschoolers. When children play with water, they can build fine- and gross-motor skills. They can also apply some basic principles of science and engineering. Also in Spanish and Polish.

“What’s the Harm if I Paint my Arm?”: A Toddler’s Guide to Sensory Activities in the Home
Julia Luckenbill, 2017
This NAEYC blog post discusses the importance of allowing toddlers to freely explore sensory activities that aren’t usually thought of as art, such as water, mud, nontoxic plant materials, and sand.