7 Summer Sensory Activities for Kids

With summer fast approaching we are always looking for activities to keep the kids busy and entertained. In this post, we’re sharing some of our favorite summer-themed sensory activities for kids. Stimulate their senses with entertaining activities this summer. 

What are Sensory Activities?

Sensory play is any type of play that involves (you guessed it!) the senses! And today we’re sharing our favorite activities that activate and stimulate your tot's senses for summer. These activities mainly focus on stimulating the senses of touch, sight, and hearing since those senses are the most accessible.

Sensory play is very important for children’s brain development and fine motor skills! But beyond brain development, sensory play is also a great stress reliever and can be a fun way to entertain your kids while they’re at home. And sensory play isn’t just for babies and toddlers. You can find ways to create sensory activities for kids of all ages. 

Here are our favorite summer-themed sensory activities, to help your child learn, experience, and enjoy the world around them this summer. 

7 Summer Sensory Activities for Kids

  1. Sandbox Sensory Bin

Child playing in a sandbox full of summer toys

Simple objects like shovels and cups are enough to spark their imagination and get them playing! This is an easy activity to set up for your kids. You just need an empty box or bin that you can fill up with objects of different sizes and textures. 

If your kids are a bit older, you can add sand to the bin but if they’re still in that stage of putting everything in their mouths, try to only fill the bin with items that have been cleaned and aren’t choking hazards. 

And if you have it, magnetic sand is always a hit because of its own ability to become an activity of creating shapes and building out of the sand. 

  1. Frozen Sand Sensory Bin

A frozen sensory bin doesn’t just have to involve sand. Sand just creates an element of discovery for your kids to find items in the sand as it melts. But if you don’t have sand on hand, you can freeze toys in water or on their own. To make a frozen sand sensory bin you need to fill your empty bin with wet sand. Then hide objects in the sand and freeze. The next day you can pull the sand out, tip it out of the bin and let your kiddo discover small objects hidden as the sand unthaws. 

  1. Plant a garden

Small kid planting an egg carton garden

Planting a garden is a great way to get your hands dirty and discover the different textures and smells of nature. Digging in the dirt, sorting seeds, watering, and smelling the flowers or herbs you plant will all stimulate the senses.

 We suggest planting small seeds into the cups of an egg carton or into small paper cups that you can keep in the window. This doubles as a great learning exercise to discover where our food comes from and even grow things like your own spices to enjoy later. 

  1. Water play

Kid playing in a kiddie pool with colorful plastic balls

If you have a baby pool, fill it up and provide a few cups, balls, and other household items for them to explore in the water. Perfect for a hot summer day, you can even sit back with your feet in the pool while they play. 

If you don’t have a small pool, you can still fill up a couple of pans and plastic containers with water and let your tots explore pouring, splashing, and playing in the water. 

  1. Watermelon Slime

Child holding red slime full of small balls

Here you can make red or pink slime and squish watermelon seeds into the slime. Then encourage your little ones to push and pull the seeds in and out of the slime. This doubles as a great fine motor activity as it teaches them how to hold onto very small objects within a larger mass. 

  1. Colorful sand painting 

Make colorful sand for kids to create their own art with. Sand adds a new texture to the paint, so whether you’re using fingers or paintbrushes, this activity is sure to awaken the senses. Mix a couple of different colors of paint with small amounts of sand, and let the kids paint. You can add different amounts of sand to each color of paint which will create even more textures (and colors) to play with. 

  1. Nature Sensory bag (and sun catcher) 

Toddler playing with a plastic bag full of blue slime and summer objects

Creating a Nature Sensory Bag is another activity that keeps on stimulating the senses even after you’re finished creating the bag itself! And this is one of the best activities that you can do with kids of varying ages because different elements can appeal to kids of all ages. Some kids will enjoy the end product of squishing the items within the bag, while older kids will enjoy the scavenger hunt aspect of creating the bag itself. 

Start by creating a scavenger hunt for your kids just in the backyard. They’ll collect the items that they find on the scavenger hunt and add them to a (durable) plastic bag. You’ll then fill the bag up with cheap hair gel. You can hang the bag from the window so it will catch the sun. The kids can enjoy the rainbows made by the light coming through and practice their fine motor skills by pushing the items around inside the bag. 

These activities are a great place to start stimulating your kid's senses, encourage them to get outside, and teach them that it is ok to get our hands dirty planting a garden or painting with sand. We hope that the biggest takeaway from this post is that sensory activities don’t have to be complicated in order to be fun! It’s usually as simple as taking some items you already have at home and presenting them in a new way for your kids to explore.

Father and son wearing matching radio pajamas

We hope you enjoy exploring the world this summer with your tots, and why not do it in matching PJs?! Shop the newest summer collections from Birdie Bean for comfy, durable, and sustainable bamboo jams for the whole family.