Sensory Trays

What is a Sensory Tray?

A sensory try or bin is a container filled with materials that appeal to a child’s visual, auditory and kinaesthetic senses. It is a hands-on tool that helps a child stimulate their various senses in a creative way. When a child is upset or anxious the materials can provide a distraction that is also fun.

Tips for Making a Sensory Tray

  • Firstly you need to choose a bin or tray. I suggest using a large plastic container with a lid so it can be easily stored and transported. However a plastic bin or tub or tray can be used.
  • Choose your fillers
  • Add some tools for exploration such as scoops, shovels, small containers, spoons, cups
  • You may want to theme your bin: i.e. Christmas, underwater, autumn, yellow.
  • Fillers need to be chosen that are age appropriate and not choking risks


Rice           shredded paper          cereal  jelly            slime    buttons          pasta      confetti        sticks   salt

Rose petals    fabric scraps  play dough    sequins          rocks     aquarium sand

Streamers      lentils   pipe cleaners    shells     material scraps         pop sticks

Sand    dried beans   lego   ribbon    marbles           flower petals

Straws pine cones      magnets  pegs           play jewellery      beads

Small toys      gravel     oats    popcorn         jigsaw pieces

Our ‘Serenity Bin’ which is pictured can include:

  • Pink rice
  • Rose petals
  • Pink beads
  • Pink sequins

For more great ideas see our E book Making a Calm Down Kit

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