30 Days to Hands on Play: Sensory Tub Play

Day 9: Sensory Tub Play

This should be plenty of fun for all ages, depending on what goes into the tub!

You will need:

  • a shallow cardboard box / plastic tub/ wide basket
  • a range of dry, safe, sensory items to go inside
  • cups/ spoons/ cardboard tubes/ egg cartons etc

Play prompt: 
Fill a container with your choice of sensory materials. Lay out some tools to explore it with such as cups, spoons and tubes. Introduce it to your child and play alongside them! 


Enjoy at least 15 minutes of uninterrupted play time together! Don’t forget to turn everything off!

What we did: We filled a shallow cardboard box with lots of sensory materials that I store in the cupboard for this type of play. We do this often and it’s one of our staple go-to activities to fill time and keep them occupied, so we have quite a store of things that we reuse regularly.

In our box: dry pasta shapes (lots of different types), glass stones, coloured pom poms, stone pebbles, lots of varieties of dry beans.

Other suggestions:

  • add: cotton balls, pipe cleaners, ping pong balls, rice, lentils, bark chippings, dry or silk leaves,    twigs, corks, bottle tops, sequins, cotton reels, small scraps of material, small tree discs/ cookies. 
  • extend: See our Fairy Sensory Tub and Dinosaur Small World for more ideas and ways to extend the play.
  • adapt: for younger children use larger items that will be safe e.g. duplo blocks

Please Note: I am not wanting to suggest food wastage here. However, if you know you will reuse the pasta/ beans for the foreseeable future (we have had some of ours over a year) then I feel it’s fine for this purpose of playful investigation. Try and mix it up with non-food items and use it again!

Pop was a little poorly today so C. got to play with this all by herself. She scooped and poured, and used the spoon to transfer items to little cups. Then she went and got the cardboard tubes and started to slide all the items down them which she loved. She got her little play people too and made up an elaborate game about them climbing the ladders, going down the slides and landing in the colourful sea!

What does YOUR child want to do?!

[Please remember, this is just a play prompt. You are not being asked to replicate any of the ideas exactly from this 30 Day Challenge! We hope to spark an idea for an activity and give an opportunity to try something a bit different each day and the emphasis is very much on having relaxed, good fun and a really engaged play session.]

Let us know what fun ideas you had and adaptations you made by leaving a comment! You can also join the discussion over at The Play Network


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Tomorrow hands on: as we grow will have the challenge for day 10! 


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