Summer Fun Sensory Activities
Summer is in full swing, and we are soaking up every minute of summer fun that we can! We enjoy sensory activities year round, but there are a few sensory materials we use most during the summer months when the sun is shining and our days are spent outdoors. I love the ability to hose everything off after messy play, including my boys!
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1. Water Beads
Water beads are enjoyable year round. Since they are a wet sensory activity they are especially great for summer fun!
- Water Beads Sensory Bin - Our first experience with water beads.
- Frozen Water Beads - Pop hydrated water beads in the freezer for a sensory activity to beat the heat. What do you think happens to the water beads when they defrost?
- Water Beads in the Play Pool - Water beads in water provide new sensory play. In the play pool you can "swim" with water beads for full body sensory play.
- Edible "Water" Beads - Since water beads should not be ingested, here is an edible version from Blog Me Mom that is baby and toddler safe!
- Frozen Water Beads Play - Play involving all five senses from Mess for Less.
- Glowing Water Beads - An exciting way to spend a summer evening, making water beads that glow.
- Frozen Water Beads in a Balloon - The feeling of water beads inside a water balloon is just way too cool.
- Shaving Cream and Water Beads - We combined two of our favorite sensory materials for this unique experience.
Like water beads, we have a good time with shaving cream any time of year. However, in the summer heat shaving cream sensory play can be experienced from head to toe and then rinsed off with a quick run through the sprinklers.
- Outdoor Shaving Cream Pool - The perfect activity for summer fun! Kids can get covered in shaving cream then rinse off with a hose.
- Rainbow Quick Paint Recipe - This two ingredient paint recipe is gorgeous and fun.
- Shaving Cream and Watercolors - Build fine motor skills through sensory play with two simple favorites.
- Rainbow Shaving Cream Slip and Slide - A colorful way to stay active and get messy from Play Create Explore.
- Shaving Cream Sensory Art - Happy Hooligans shows us how to create beautiful process art, and let children explore with different props.
- Frozen Smoothie Paints - Mix up a batch of this simple homemade recipe for some chilly art and play.
I know, it seems so obvious. Of course water is a favorite for summer fun. It is so simple and yet wonderful for sensory play. Here are a few of my favorite ways to enjoy water play beyond swimming and running through the sprinklers.
- Water Sensory Bin for Babies - Super simple sensory bin for babies and young children. Even my older boys love this activity!
- Colored Ice in the Play Pool - Add a bit of color to water and freeze it to enjoy on a hot summer day.
- Ice Bowling - This is one of my very favorite summer games. It combines gross motor skills with sensory play and makes for great family time.
- Rainbow Ice Sensory Bin - Make colorful ice in every shade of the rainbow.
- Watercolor Ice Art - Create gorgeous art and watch colors blend together with frozen watercolors. A creative way to stay cool.
- Melting Ice Experiment - Simple science for kids from Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas.
- Building with Ice Cubes - Turn ice cubes into building blocks on a hot summer day.
- Simple Water Play with Balls - Fill the play pool with a bag of balls and water.
My kids have never had a single sip of Kool Aid, but they love to play with it! Kool Aid is such an inexpensive ingredient to add to play, and it makes even the most simple activities multisensory, adding an amazing aroma to sensory materials.
- Kool Aid Play Date - We invited our play group over for a Kool Aid themed play date with ideas including Kool Aid and shaving cream, Kool Aid watercolors, Kool Aid bubbles, and Kool Aid eruptions without vinegar.
- Erupting Alphabet - Fight summer slide with some letter and sound practice that erupts!
- Kool Aid Puffy Paint - What kid doesn't love to create with puffy paint? By using Kool Aid to color homemade puffy paint, this art experience smells delightful.
- Eruptions with Kool Aid and Paint - This amazing experiment is a must try for kids of all ages. Who knew this would happen wtih just Kool Aid and paint?
- Kool Aid Sidewalk Chalk Paint - Sidewalk chalk paint is so cool! These scented sidewalk chalk paints make outdoor art even more fun.
- Giant Kool Aid Eruptions - Make vinegar free eruptions with Kool Aid and baking soda.
- Kool Aid Finger Paint - Beware if you make this paint you will want to dig in and paint right alongside your kids. You might even want a taste...
- Kool Aid Playdough - Make a variety of scented playdough by adding a packet of Kool Aid. Our lemon playdough is still going strong and getting played with more days than not.
- Kool Aid and Shaving Cream - Add several packets of Kool Aid to shaving cream to create the most gorgeous and best smelling shaving cream ever.
- Kool Aid Ice - Ice is an easy and frugal sensory material. Add some Kool Aid to make ice colorful and scented!
- Rainbow Eruptions - Make beautiful, vinegar free eruptions with Kool Aid.
What child doesn't love balloons? There are countless ways to play with balloons, and of course simple water balloons are at the top of that list.
- Gross Motor Balloon Games - Simple experiments with balloons including my personal favorite, vinegar filled balloons tossed into a pool of baking soda!
- Water Balloon and Pool Play - Add water balloons to the play pool for a splashing good time.
- Colored Water Filled Balloons - For even more fun fill the water balloons with colored water before popping them in the play pool. Watch the colors mix and blend in the water, then splash and swim in a colored filled pool.
- Water Balloon Play Date - Play water balloon basketball and other gross motor games with your playgroup.
- Water Balloon Equations - Keep math facts fresh with this simple water balloon toss game.
One word: sandbox. Sand is a wonderful sensory material. Kids can scoop, dump, pour, let it run through their fingers and toes, dig, build castles and so much more! Tip: Use cornstarch to remove sand without scratching skin.
- Sand Paint - This recipe for play is simple and perfect for creating sensory art.
- Natural Sand Playdough Recipe - I bet this playdough recipe from Creative Playhouse has an amazing texture.
- Rainbow Sand Slime Recipe - Create gorgeous slime in a rainbow of colors.
- Beach Sand Cloud Dough - Make cloud dough with real sand like Fun at Home with Kids.
- Scented Sand Paint Recipe - Textured and scented paint, need I say more?
- Dinosaur Fossils - Excavate dinosaurs with this fun activity from Coffee Cups and Crayons.
Like Kool Aid Jello makes for extraordinary sensory play.
- Rainbow Jello Sensory Bin - Cook up a few batches of jello then toss them in a sensory bin and let littles ones explore freely.
- Frozen Jello Sensory Play - Take it a step further and freeze jello like The Imagination Tree for summer fun sensory play that keeps you cool.
- Frozen Sour Grapes - Make this unique tasty treat from Mess for Less to stay cool.
- Fizzing Gelatin - This erupting play recipe from Fun at Home with Kids is amazing!
- Easy No Cook Jello Playdough - Follow this playdough recipe from Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas for some scented fine motor and sensory play.
- Jello Scented and Colored Rice - Fun-a-Day made one of our favorite sensory materials using Jello. I bet it smelled incredible!
One of the least expensive art and sensory mediums for summer is sidewalk chalk. Learn, play and create with this simple material.
- Tic Tac Toe Games - A simple twist on a classic game.
- Gross Motor Phonics Games - Work on letter sounds and blends with this active game.
- Crushed Chalk Recipe for Play - Crush up bits and broken pieces of sidewalk chalk to create new ways to paint and play.
- Letter Sounds and Sight Word Spray - Introduce letters, sounds, or sight words with this wet and wild summer game.
- Gross Motor Addition Game - Reinforce math skills for summer learning.
- Homemade Sidewalk Chalk - Did you know you can make your own sidewalk chalk? Fun at Home with Kids shows us how.
- Glow in the Dark Sidewalk Chalk - What about homemade glow in the dark sidewalk chalk like Coffee Cups and Crayons, how cool is this?
- Wet Chalk Drawings - Add a little water to make wet chalk drawings like Housing a Forest.
- Two Ingredient Sidewalk Chalk Paint - This is our newest favorite paint recipe, sidewalk chalk made from just crushed chalk and water. It dries in vibrant, beautiful colors.
Many of our favorite recipes for play contain cornstarch. Cornstarch is inexpensive and versatile. Here are a few of our favorite ways to use it:
- Sidewalk Chalk Paint - Like I mentioned above, we love sidewalk chalk. Even more fun is sidewalk chalk paint. You can make your own with just cornstarch and water.
- Scented Sidewalk Chalk Paint - Or extend the fun by adding a simple scented ingredient.
- Frozen Lemon Oobleck Recipe - Make a favorite sensory recipe frozen for to keep cool this summer.
- Color Mixing and Oobleck in the Play Pool - Enjoy sensory play from head to toe by making Oobleck in the play pool.
- Edible Sensory Paint - This baby safe edible paint combines cornstarch and a few other common pantry items.
- Erupting Chocolate Oobleck - Mix up a batch of Oobleck that erupts, and bonus: it smells like chocolate.
- Sudsy Goop - Oobleck/goop is one of our favorite recipes for play. Blog Me Mom made this favorite a whole new material just by adding soap!
- Erupting Rainbow Sidewalk Chalk Paint - What's better than sidewalk chalk paint? Sidewalk chalk paint that erupts, of course!
- Frozen Watermelon Oobleck - Cut up a watermelon and let little hands explore it. Pop it in the freezer to make it nice and chilly. Finally, turn it into a batch of Oobleck.
- Sparkly Finger Paint - Make finger paint that really shines!
- Painting with Ice Chalk and Oil - This paint recipe is super messy, but it's worth it.
- Erupting Ice Chalk Paint - Ice Chalk. Paint. Erupting. Need I say more?
A summer sensory list wouldn't be complete without bubbles! Bubbles are a childhood favorite, and I am amazed at how many ways there are to play.
- Color and Bubbles in the Play Pool - Add colored soap to the play pool for a refreshing way to stay cool.
- Rainbow Bubbles Snakes - Blow rainbow bubble snakes like Housing a Forest. I guarantee these will amaze your children!
- Bubble Science - Explore bubble science like Buggy and Buddy.
- Kool Aid Bubbles - Make colored and scented bubbles for a multisensory experience!
- How to Blow a Bubble with Your Hands - Dazzle your kids by teaching them how to blow bubbles with their hands like Housing a Forest.
- Bubble Pool - Fill the play pool with bubble bath to entertain your baby like Plain Vanilla Mom.
- Bubble Painting - Make bubble prints like Housing a Forest.
- Colored Bubbles - Color bubbles for added fun.
What is your favorite sensory material for summer fun?