To understand a property of a thing, the child needs to touch it and make sure whether it is rough or smooth, bitter or sweet (fruits and vegetables). The developmental sensory activities for toddlers, you will read below, are associated with the definition of different objects’ properties such as: mass, time, color, smell, shape, length, area, speed, toughness, strength, temperature, sound, etc. These properties we perceive using all our senses: sight, hearing, touch, smell, taste.
Melt the ice
Put some ice into a spoon and let the child touch it and feel how cold it is. Hold the spoon over a fire burner or over a candle flame. Watch together with your child the ice melting. When the ice becomes water, ask your child to touch the water and make sure that now it is warmer than the ice. WARNING! While carrying out this experience, be careful that the baby does not burn his fingers.
Get the stones
Together with your child put several stones on the bottom of the bowl (they should be dry), cover them with some sand and pour water. Ask your child to get the stones out one by one (tell him that a stone became dirty and wet), to rinse off the sand in the water and to spread them on a plate or a tray.
Take four several half-liter transparent plastic bottles, fill them half with water. When the child doesn’t see put a little paint of one color inside the lid and close the bottle. Tell your child: “Look, the water is clean and clear. And now (shake the first bottle) – the water became red.” Do the same with the rest of the water bottles.
Add first some red paint in a glass of water (better use a brush) and then yellow paint. Explore the color you will get. Add then another color, blue for instance. When the water grows too muddy, you can play the next game. While the child doesn’t see, put an object (stone, ring, small metal car, etc.) in the glass, and the child needs to guess the object in there. If the child is too young, you necessarily speak instead of him.
Water in a sieve
Try to keep water in a sieve, colander or a cup with holes. You can give your baby this thing while he is bathing for him to ladle water and watch it pouring out.
Experiment with your child and see which items sink in water (a stone, a spoon, a steel car) and which ones float (a ball, a rubber toy, a plastic boat, a feather, a wooden stick).
Box and bag
The child needs to sort the objects – put solid ones (a cube, a book, a car, a doll, a glass, etc.) into a plastic box and soft toys – into a bag. Tell the child that hard objects knock, and soft ones do not knock.
Show your child two bears of the same size made of plastic (solid bears) and plush (soft ones). Tell him that hard bears knock loudly and are not crumpled, and soft bears don’t knock and are easily crumpled. Then give your child a small box and let him try to put there the plastic bear (it is impossible) and the soft one (it is possible).
Put the items easy to distinguish by touch into a rag bag: a woolen yarn pom pom, a toothbrush, a small ball with pimples, a piece of fur, a foil ball, a sponge, a walnut, etc. The child should put a hand into the bag and name the objects before taking them out.
Games with foil
Give your child a small piece of foil. Show how to crumple and make a ball, and then straighten it again. You can create foil worms, caterpillars, swans, etc.
Cold – hot
Draw the child’s attention to the cold (snow, juice from the refrigerator, water), warm (battery), and hot items (fire, iron, kettle).
Havier – lighter
Put a heavy object into one baby’s hand (a metal car, a soap bar, a small hardcover book) and a light thing into the other hand (a small ball, a cube, a piece of paper, etc.). Ask or tell your child in which hand lighter and heavier objects are.
What is hidden?
Put various volumetric toys or small items (a rattle, a ball, a cube, a soap bar, a book, etc.). Cover them with a thin but opaque piece of cloth. The child needs to touch the objects through the cloth, to define and name them. If the child doesn’t speak yet, you should name the objects instead of him.
What is the object made of?
Show your child the materials various items are made of: a glass is made of glass, a cube – of wooden, a fork – is made of metal (iron or steel), a doll – of plastic, a sock – of fur, a ball – of rubber, a vase – of clay, etc. You can find pairs together with the baby: a wooden cube and a wooden doll, a metal fork and a metal spoon, etc.
Pair pieces of cloth
Prepare the pairs of fabric pieces: velvet, linen, cotton, fur, satin, etc. The child should close his eyes and find the same pairs of cloth. If the child is too young, he doesn’t need to close the eyes and you should help him find the pairs.
It is also can be funny to play with cling film. If you place peas or other small items between the two layers of stretched film, this will take some time for the child to take them out. The baby will have to think how to get the items out, and it will be interesting for him just to move them.