What are Sensory Toys?

Have you heard the phrase sensory toys and wondered what it's all about? Maybe you are wondering what is the difference between a sensory toy and a standard toy.

Well you have come to the right place, let us help you to understand what sensory toys are all about, and explain why they are so important for kids of all ages.


What are Sensory Toys? 

The quick answer is that a sensory toy is one that stimulates one or more senses.

Sensory toys can come in a variety of different forms, usually stimulating one or more senses. The five main senses being: taste, touch, smell, sight and hearing.

Touch: This is toys with different textures, from soft to hard, bumpy to sticky.

Sight:  For Babies the High Contrast toys help the eyesight.  As the child grows, the toys can include Flash Cards, Books, Looking through different coloured filters, Observation puzzles and kaleidoscopes

Sound:  Toys that make noise when you shake them. Rain makers and rattles for babies and musical toys as they grow.

Smell:  Scented Playdough or markers, or the natural wood of toys will inspire play. Try the amazing Dirt Playdough you can DIY at home.  Recipe here.

Taste: This can be explored through foods rather than toys. As the child grows different textures can be introduced. 

OK, job done, now you know what they are,  Let's learn why everyone is talking about them.


Peacock Colours | Tender Leaf Toys | Lucas loves cars

 I see you. Looking at the world differently.  Peacock Colours

Why do we need Sensory Toys?

Sensory toys have always been around however we didn't have the knowledge that we do now about the benefits and importance that play can bring to a child. 

Sensory toys help babies and small children to learn, explore and interact with their surroundings.  With each toy that has sensory input you child is adding to their understanding of the world around them.  We are filling their senses and adding more information to the library of what the know.

Different sensory toys will introduce small children to new sensations. This one makes a crinkly noise when I scrunch it.  This one has bold stripes for visual stimulus. As the kids grow older they will be able to name that sensation, adding to language and understanding.

Through play with a sensory toy a child may better understand each of their senses (for babies)  and then how to manage them. (or older children)

Like with many different styles of play, sensory play helps small children develop important motor skills, cognitive and social skills all while getting creative through play.


Play Silks High Contrast Dots | Play Silkies

Play Silkies are great for all ages.  High Contrast 

What about Sensory Play? 

Learning is best when it is done in fun and engaging ways. Sensory Play is when you specifically set up play that engages your child’s senses.

For example, Setting up a play space with all different textures, naming them and describing them.

Sensory play encourages learning through exploration. Through play based activities, children can have their sensors stimulated.


Jellystone Tray Play Blue | Jellystone

 Add different elements and textures to your Play Tray

How do I pick the right sensory toy for my child?

Different age groups will always have different toys, and considering your child’s individual needs is also something to factor in.

Developmental stage can come at different ages and your child's preferences will guide you when selecting the perfect toy. The types of activities your child seeks or avoids and your budget and size is also something to consider when making a purchase. 


Rolio | Fat Brain Toys

 Textured, moving parts make Rolio great for little hands..

Some additional benefits of sensory toys: 

Helping with anxiety/calming down. 

A toy that provides sensory input, For Example  a soft toy, or fidget toy, can often help to settle anxiety.  This is by providing sensory input that your child can focus on to slow their thinking.

This is how a Calm Down bottle works.  Watching the movement provides a focus and helps to reduce stress.

They can help to improve focus, concentration and self-regulation.

Jellystone Calm Down Bottle - bold colour | Jellystone

 A calm down bottle helps with focus and mindfulness.


Jellystone Sensory Ball and Play Silk | Jellystone

Combine a sensory ball and Play Silk to create a sensory game.


Written by Hanna and Helle.

Hanna is the mama of 3 boys who has fairly good knowledge of toys and in her very limited spare time is studying play therapy. 

 Helle is the owner of Lucas loves cars.  She likes to play and some say she's good at it.