My 2-year-old really enjoys doing sensory walks. He asks to do this activity all the time, which keeps him quiet busy! A sensory walk is a great way to explore the sense of touch, especially for children with sensory processing needs.
A sensory walk is very easy to set up and clean up is easy! Here’s what you need:
- plastic tubs
- material to fill the tub
- water beads
- dry black beans
- colored water
- shaving cream
To set this up for my children, I used 7 tubs. You could use however many you’d like! When you design your sensory walk, make sure to keep in mind times when kids would need to clean their feet off before stepping into another bin (ex: shaving cream needs to be cleaned off before stepping into sand!).
Here’s the order of how I designed this sensory walk: dry black beans, water beads, blue water, towel, sand, shaving cream, green water, and towel.
After we set up the line, my children walked through it. I let them explore this as I watched them and asked them questions. I love to ask my children what their favorite material was and how each tub felt for them. This is a great way to talk about textures and sensory attributes (hot/cold, squish/hard). The kids started with the black beans. We talked how they felt hard on our feet.
Then they put their feet into the squishy water beads. We talked about how they felt cold and soft. Next, they rinsed their feet in the blue water. I made the blue water feel warm so we talked about the temperature.
After the blue water, the kids dried their feet off so the sand wouldn’t stick to it. When they walked in the sand, we talked about how soft it felt, but it was a different kind of soft compared to the water beads. (This was their favorite material to feel with their feet!)
Then they squished their feet in the shaving cream. It felt silky and fluffy. Lastly, the kids washed their feet off in the green water (which I made colder) and then dried their feet off.
After my two younger boys did the sensory walk more than ten times, my oldest boy (7.5 years old) wanted to join in! And I even did the walk!
Honestly, I thought it was fun to walk through. There’s something neat about having your feet touch different textures. If you have a child who has sensory processing disorder or doesn’t like some of these textures, you could start with just one tub of something less intimidating (such as pom poms) and do a little bit of touching with your feet or hands. Work your way up to stepping into the bin. It may not happen right away for some kids. Or you may be surprised at how your child really enjoys exploring their sense of touch.
I hope you’ll try this activity out with your children!