Sensory play is not only fun, but it also has plenty of educational benefits. Playing with sensory toys helps build nerve connections in the brain plus they assist in the development of numerous motor skills. They can also encourage scientific discovery while promoting problem solving. Sensory toys come in all shapes and sizes and are as varied as the kids who use them. Whether the kids in your life prefer fidget toys, sand tables, or mini trampolines, check out our favorite sensory toys for everyone from babies all the way through high schoolers!
Sensory Toys for Babies and Toddlers
1. Dual Rattle and Teether
We love this option for the 12-month and under crowd since it acts as both a rattle and a teether. Offer this toy to your infant around the 4-month mark because most babies begin to learn to grasp around that time.
Buy it: Winkel Rattle and Teether at Amazon
2. Sensory Activity Table
Sand and water tables have been a staple in daycare centers for decades because they open the door for imaginative play while creating the ultimate sensory experience.
Buy it: Sensory Activity Table at Amazon
3. Sensory Balls
Babies and toddlers will certainly love exploring the different textures and colors these balls offer.
Buy it: Sensory Balls at Amazon
4. Water Mat
Tummy time is vital to a baby’s development and helps to prevent flat spots, so we are in favor of anything that helps make that essential time more appealing. Unlike most tummy-time mats, this one uses water to create more of an interactive experience for little ones.
Buy it: Tummy Time Water Mat at Amazon
5. Light Bar
This light bar by Baby Einstein encourages color recognition while also teaching animal sounds. While the animal, xylophone, and music features alone would be enough to put this toy on our list, you can also program it for English, French, or Spanish!
Buy it: Baby Einstein Glow and Discover Light Bar at Amazon
6. Crinkle Book
Crinkle books are the perfect sensory toy for infants since they engage so many senses at one time.
Buy it: Lamaze Peek-a-Boo Forest Book at Amazon
7. Activity Cube
While electronic or battery-operated toys have their place, we love that this cube requires only the imagination of the toddler using it. Kids will love moving the beads around, then changing the hands on the cute clockface.
Buy it: Toyventive Wooden Activity Cube at Amazon
Sensory Toys for Preschoolers
8. Suction Toy Construction Set
The only downside to this fun building toy is that you may need to buy more than one since your students may fight over it. The pieces suction to one another and would even make for a fun bath-time toy at home.
Buy it: Froogly 50-Piece Suction Toy Set at Amazon
9. Bristle Building Blocks
These are the perfect building blocks for preschool-age children who have more dexterity than toddlers but who will still benefit from a toy that is easy to connect as well as pull apart.
Buy it: Picasso Tiles Bristle Shape Building Blocks at Amazon
10. Sensory Letters
These letters provide a stress-relieving sensory experience while also teaching young students letter recognition. That’s a win in our book!
Buy it: Lesong Alphabet Letters at Amazon
11. Outer Space Sensory Bin
Space-loving littles will undoubtedly be drawn to this outer space–themed sensory bin. Give your students a few options for tools, then watch as they dig through and pull out their prizes.
Buy it: Creativity for Kids Sensory Bin at Amazon
12. Montessori Busy Board
Busy boards allow for self-discovery while teaching real-life skills like snapping buckles or tying shoelaces.
Buy it: deMoca Busy Board at Amazon
13. Sit ’n Spin
You probably remember from your own childhood that nothing was more fun than sitting on one of these and going for a whirl. We love that they are self-propelled and therefore encourage coordination.
Buy it: Playskool Sit ’n Spin at Amazon
14. Mini Trampoline
Jumping on a trampoline can enhance children’s muscle development while providing a fun outlet for little bodies that have been sitting still too long. Jumping sends information to the brain about spatial awareness as well as balance and coordination.
Buy it: Little Tikes 3-foot Trampoline at Amazon
Sensory Toys for Elementary School Students
15. Wiggle Seat
Sitting still can be challenging for anyone but especially for kids who may have ADHD or other challenges. These affordable cushions can be a game changer both in the classroom and at home.
Buy it: Inflatable Wobble Seat at Amazon
16. Liquid Motion Bubbler Timer
These are perfect for when a student needs a quiet moment to calm down.
Buy it: 3-Pack Liquid Motion Bubbler Timer at Amazon
17. Stretch Toys
Fidget toys are all the rage and for good reason since they can help calm our nerves and settle us when we are feeling overstimulated. We love that these stretchy bands are both affordable and versatile.
Buy it: Multi-Pack Fidget Stretch Toys at Amazon
18. Screwdriver Busy Board
Let your little ones feel like Bob the Builder while also working on hand-eye coordination!
Buy it: Panda Brothers Montessori Screwdriver Board Set at Amazon
Although they can be pricey, these are a favorite toy of any kid that is lucky enough to own them. The creative possibilities are endless and they are just challenging enough for elementary-age students.
Buy it: Magna-Tiles 100-Piece-Set at Amazon
20. Kinetic Sand
Since kids are always drawn to sand whether it be at the beach or in their own sandbox, why not stock up on some kinetic sand for your classroom. It’s like regular sand but even better since it has a unique texture and comes in a variety of colors.
Buy it: Kinetic Sand at Amazon
21. Wikki Stix
We love Wikki Stix because they can be used for both learning and play. While learning letter recognition and formation can be tedious, having students practice forming letters with these can add a bit of fun into the mix.
Buy it: Wikki Stix at Amazon
22. Sensory Stress Balls
Let’s be honest, we all need something to squeeze when we are feeling frustrated or overwhelmed. These balls will be perfect for your students, but don’t forget about your teacher friends too!
Buy it: 12-Pack Sensory Stress Balls at Amazon
23. Cuddle Ball
This plush pillow would make a great addition to a calm-down corner since it can be hugged or squeezed for a calming effect. You may want to get an extra one for home too since they make for a cute decoration as well!
Buy it: Plush Knot Ball Pillow at Amazon
24. Pod Swing
What kid wouldn’t feel safe and secure in this adorable pod swing? Hang one from a hook in the ceiling or get a separate swing stand for it.
Buy it: Outree Kids Pod Swing Seat at Amazon
25. Water Beads
These start as a science experiment, since they grow slowly over time with the addition of water, and they end as a unique sensory experience.
Buy it: 300-Piece Water Bead Set
Sensory Toys for Middle and High School Students
26. Brain Teasers
Even big kids enjoy and benefit from sensory toys. We love the variety and affordability offered by this big box of brain teasers and puzzles.
Buy it: 20-Pack Wooden and Metal Brain Puzzles at Amazon
27. Wobble Stool
Unlike a lot of wobble chairs and stools on the market, this one can be adjusted as needed to suit older kids and teenagers.
Buy it: Adjustable wobble stool for teenagers at Amazon
28. Shape-Shifting Cube
The endless possibilities of this shape-shifting box will surely keep middle school students engaged for long stretches.
Buy it: Shashibo Shape-Shifting Box at Amazon
29. LEGO Sets
Oh LEGO, how we love thee! This is such a unique LEGO set that will prove a challenge for even the best builder you know.
Buy it: LEGO Succulents at Amazon
30. Gravity Maze
This maze will work on motor control while also encouraging development of visual perceptual skills—plus, it’s just really fun!
Buy it: Perplexus, Revolution Runner Motorized Motion 3D Gravity Maze at Amazon
31. Fidget Spinner
Fidget spinners have been all the rage for a few years now and for good reason since they help people of all ages deal with their anxiety and restlessness. We love that they are affordable and can be bought in bulk.
Buy it: Fidget Spinner Toy 5 Pack at Amazon
32. Acupuncture Rings
Surprisingly simple, these acupuncture rings can improve focus and ease tension. At less than $10 for a bundle, you can buy enough for the whole class to use while practicing mindfulness.
Buy it: Mr. Pen-Spiky Sensory Rings at Amazon
Want to add to our list of the best sensory toys? Come share in our WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook.
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