Sensory play for toddlers is both fun and important for their development. Today I’m sharing a simple winter sensory play for toddlers. I love setting up seasonal invitations to play for my children. Find more Winter activities for kids here.
This one is mess-free too which is a bonus sometimes. As much as I don’t mind messy play, sometimes mess-free play is needed. I set this one up when my toddler had been ill and neither of us had had much sleep. Find more seasonal activities for kids here.
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Winter sensory play
Below you’ll find details of how to set up a winter tuff tray. Another mess-free Winter sensory activity is Winter in a Bag Sensory Play Activity.
You will need:
Tuff spot * or tuff tray
A selection of blue and winter toys and board books.
How to set up a simple Winter tuff tray in less than 5 minutes
Whilst a tuff tray or tuff spot is not essential is does contain the space. You could simply spread out the emergency blanket and set up the other items on top.
Emergency foil blankets make great sensory toys for toddlers. They love the look and sound of them in my experience. They reflect the light and make a noise when they touch or crinkle them.
Add the large foam snowflakes and then it is time to search out all the winter-themed items you can find. Look in the toy box first. Do you have any blue bricks, stacking cups or rings? What about any toy penguins, polar bears or other arctic animals? Perhaps you have a toy snowman you could add. A musical sensory element like some bells would also be a good addition.
I also added a board book about animals found in wintery lands. I bet you have some winter-themed books for toddlers, if not click through to find out the ones we love.
Exploring the winter tuff spot
My toddler loved this activity. Her face lit up when she saw it. She was immediately drawn to the blanket and she really enjoyed crinkling it between her fingers to hear the sound it made. She also hid her head under it to play peek-a-boo with me. She explored all the toy animals as well as the snowflakes.
The book was a nice addition to the tuff spot as she currently loves books and it was nice to have one relevant to the activity. We didn’t have one of each of the animals in the book but it was nice to show her a 3D one of the ones we did have whilst we read the book.
Find my favourite winter books for toddlers by clicking through. These books would all work fantastically in this tray.
Expanding the activity for older children
You might notice that the snowflakes have sight words written on them. This is for my 4-year-old, a great way to encourage reading in primary school children. For preschool and toddlers, you could write numbers or letters on them.
My 4-year-old also enjoyed the winter-themed tuff tray. She made caves in the sensory blanket for the animals and made-up play scenes developing her storytelling skills. She wasn’t interested in the sight words on this occasion but she really enjoyed the imaginative play.
More winter sensory activities for toddlers
If you want to set up a snowy small world you could also add different things like blue or white water beads * or the glass beads *, if you have older children who are past the putting everything in their mouth stage. Or white play dough or even make some cloud dough.
More things to do with toddlers in winter
Winter is a great season to explore with toddlers, both indoors and outdoors. From the books that you read together to the activities and games that you play, winter is a great theme for toddlers. Here are a few ideas to get you started with your winter themes for toddlers.
Find more Indoor winter activities for toddlers here.
For more winter sensory activities for toddlers click here.
Get my free winter scavenger hunt printable here. A great way to get toddlers outside and engage with nature.
Find lots of ideas for outdoor activities for toddlers in this post. Most of them are suitable for winter.
Develop your toddler’s listening skills with my free sound hunt printable.
Another great thing to put in a winter tuff tray is snow. You could try letting your toddler paint the snow. Find out how here – Painting snow.
Would you like more ideas for enjoying winter with toddlers?
If you loved this post then you’ll love my free 5 day email series where I will guide you through simple ideas for enjoying winter with young children. You’ll receive 5 daily emails, each with ideas for things to do with your child in winter. There are ideas for outdoor play, indoor play and our favourite picture books to read aloud in winter.
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