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Understanding Sensory Toys for Toddlers

Ever wonder about sensory toys? What makes them different than regular toys and what is an example of a sensory toy?

In his theory of cognitive development, famous psychologist Jean Piaget coined the Sensorimotor Stage where he believed that during this early stage, Infants and toddlers gain knowledge by engaging in sensory experiences and handling objects.    

Sensory toys are a great tool for parents to use during the infant and toddler stages.

What Are Sensory Toys?

Sensory toys are toys that stimulate the senses: sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. Sensory toys have grown in popularity among child development experts who believe they support sensory integration.

Sensory toys are different from regular toys because they are designed to invoke a sensory response. For example, a regular toy, like a figurine, is designed to be a replica of a character; where a sensory toy might include elements such as bright, contrasting colors, sounds, or different textures. 

The Benefits of Sensory Toys

Sensory toys have been shown to have developmental benefits for all children, but can be especially useful for those with sensory processing disorders, ADHD, autism, etc.  Sensory toys can help provide feedback to their sensory systems and regulate their sensory needs. 

Sensory toys can even help create new neural pathways in the brain, pretty cool right?  They have also been shown to help develop fine gross motor skills.  During times of stress, the right sensory toy can help provide a sense of calmness and relief. 

Examples of Sensory Toys and Their Uses for Toddlers

Sensory Bin

Sensory bins are great for toddlers!  You can buy them or make them yourself.   Kids will feel, smell, touch, and use repetitive skills useful for development. Check out this great sensory bin tutorial. 

Sensory Bin

Figgy Play Couch

The Figgy Play Couch is perfect for sensory play. Turn it into a tunnel that kids can move through, they will feel the fabric, and how there body reacts to being in different positions. 

Figgy Play Couch

Textured Balls

Kids love textured balls. The textures can be calming and provide them with different sensations. Bounce the ball off different items to hear how the sound differs.

textured balls

Play Dough

Play Dough is colorful, squishy, and can smell great! It’s a perfect sensory toy because there are lots of inputs.  You can make play dough at home with our favorite recipe.

Play Dough