Inside: A great big list of the best sensory toys for kids sorted by age. Part of our best toys for kids series.
There is no doubt that children with specific sensory needs benefit greatly from toys that meet their specific areas of need but sensory toys, games and activities have an important place in the lives of all children. Play that stimulates the senses aids the development of neural pathways in the brain and these pathways are essential to learning in early childhood, though formal schooling and into adulthood. Sensory play matters, and not only for toddlers or preschoolers, but for kids of all ages.
Today I am sharing a list of some of our favorite sensory toys. The list is divided into suggestions for toddlers and preschoolers, for school aged kids, and for toys that get kids moving (for those with little ones, check out our list of the best baby sensory toys). Each toy included on this list engages one or more of the five senses – sight, sound, touch, smell or taste.
Best Sensory Toys for Kids by Age
The ideas below are mostly linked to an Amazon or Etsy product link (affiliate links). These are suggestions only, to provide you with more information or a look at an item we love in our home, obviously you can shop for similar items wherever you prefer to shop.
Sensory Toys for Toddlers & Preschoolers
Fabulous for developing visual and auditory sensory skills, rainmakers are a captivating and super soothing sensory toy for children of all ages.
Have fun making rainbows as you build with these gorgeous wooden blocks featuring captivating windows of color.
Stacking, toppling, spinning, balancing, wobbling, tilting – the six uniquely weighted Tobbles pieces balance, neatly nest, and incessantly spin beyond your expectations!
Made of eighteen connected, twistable pieces that are covered with a soft, latex-free rubberized material designed for maximum tactile pleasure and sensory play, freely twist the sensory tangles fidget toy in every direction.
Super soothing to touch, water beads can be used for exploration in all manner of sensory bins and are great for young children who are past the stage of mouthing objects.
Experiment with creating different tones by adjusting the amount of water in each of your water flute tubes.
Probably the longest serving sensory toy in our household, Magna-Tiles were played with by my children from the age of two to ten. The original Magna-Tiles brand is super quality and offers hours of quiet sensory play for both big and little kids.
Pack it, pull it, shape it, love it – kinetic sand is so incredibly unique that you won’t be able to stop playing with it! It’s kinetic – meaning it sticks to itself and not to you, it oozes, moves and melts right before your eyes and t flows through your fingers like a slow-moving liquid, but leaves them completely dry!
Squishy, squashy Playfoam never dries out. Just squish up the Playfoam, shape it however you like, then squash it back down and start all over again.
The two-tier design of this sensory table provides two levels for sensory material and a unique waterfall effect when filled with water.
Sensory Toys for School Age Children
These soft bouncy balls light up when bounced and the set includes six different colored balls to explore.
The slow and rhythmic drops of these liquid motion bubblers have a very soothing effect on children, especially when they are anxious or overly activated.
Making slime is a fabulously engaging sensory activity for those in the middle grades.
This classic puzzle toy is another fun way to focus attention and makes a great stocking stuffer or party bag filler.
Marble runs provide fabulous opportunities for problem solving alongside sensory exploration. Perfect for those in the middle grades.
Older children will be mesmerized and calmed by the flowing motion of the wax as it rises and falls like lava, and the calming light that the lamp reflects around the room. This lamp is great for mindfulness, relaxation, and to help you just be.
Like the Lava Lamp, a bubble tube offers a calming sensory experience for mindfulness and relaxation, with the addition of a gentle hum helping to add a calming presence to your space.
Sensory Toys That Get Kids Moving
Improves balance and posture whilst providing children with a gentle movement outlet to aid task focus.
Develop body awareness, control and confidence as children master walking across the stepping stones, each of which varies in size and steepness.
Fun for both indoor and outdoor active, sensory play, your child will love rocking, rolling and spinning with a rocking top.
Hung indoors or out, a hammock swing provides sensory pressure all over the body and promotes body awareness and balance.
Great for developing physical motor skills, balance and co-ordination, a portable trampoline is great for indoor sensory play when the weather makes active time outdoors tricky.
For more sensory fun: