We are HUGE sensory play fans over here at Mix it Up Dough! But, we also recognize that a barrier to sensory play for most parents is the mess. Whether it's play dough, rice, water, or Cheerios, sensory play doesn't have to be a pain to set up or clean up. With the right tools, you can make sensory play a breeze. I've complied a list of items we use in our house to keep play and clean up simple!
Play dough is obviously our favorite sensory base in this house, and luckily it also one of the easiest to clean up, but we still have some recommendations for products that can help with your child keeping their play dough play contained and neat. Other sensory materials aren't as clean, so we're here to help you out with minimizing that mess as well!
We own two of these and have used them heavily for the past three years. This mat is the perfect size for under my kids playroom table with plenty of leftover mat around the edges to catch splashes and spilled materials. It is large enough for 4 kids at one time to play comfortably with a bin in the middle. And best of all, water does not seep through on to our floors! It also has rubber dots on the bottom to stop it from slipping. Once we remove our tools & other toys, we wipe whatever base may be on the table top onto the mat, bundle it up, shake it off outside, and toss it back into the closet or the laundry machine, if needed. Quick and easy clean up from even the messiest of sensory play.
We initially purchased smaller sized silicone mats for our kids while eating out at restaurants. Once we saw how easy they made food clean up and how well they held up in the dishwasher, we bought a larger size for sensory play. This keeps your table from getting residue from a sensory base (think slime, paint, shaving cream, etc), gives your child a defined area to keep their materials & accessories, and can easily be picked up & to pour a base back into a bag, container, or trash can!
These are the best choice for sensory play with smaller pieces or materials while also getting the benefits of a silicone mat! These trays are large and deep with a raised edge that helps keep their little items or tiny sensory materials (kinetic sand...rice...eeks!!) from going from the table to the floor. We love these for our play dough kits because while the sensory base is super easy to clean, sometimes those fun little accessories like to roll!
This is our most used sensory play product we own!! I cannot say enough wonderful things about the Ikea Flisat Table. It has a super simple design, making it easy to put together and clean up. The table top is smooth and wipes clean easily, has never stained, and is easy to chip off any dried materials from.
The top white panels are removable and beneath you can purchase bins of all different sizes and depths to store/play with sensory materials.
If you have little ones and you're lucky enough to find one in stock (it's gotten a bit easier since the pandemic slowed down!), grab it!!
You're probably wondering why this is here, but if you have used play dough before, you know sometimes it can dry in the tiniest of toy crevices. Our solution is simple! Let the play dough dry and then use a toothpick to poke out the pieces. Done! Also, it can be sort of weirdly satisfying...haha!
We hope this post helps sensory play be more approachable and less intimidating because of the potential for messes! Let us know your favorite sensory play products below!
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