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21 Best Calming Sensory Activities for Toddlers

Check out the best calming sensory activities for toddlers and preschoolers to enjoy! These calming activities are perfect for quiet time or activities for sensory overload.

Parenting can be a whirlwind of emotions, especially when it comes to managing the energy levels of toddlers. These tiny humans are bursting with curiosity and energy, making it challenging to find moments of calmness in their day.

However, incorporating sensory calming activities into your toddler’s routine can work wonders in helping them relax and find balance.

In this article, I’ll explore a variety of engaging and soothing sensory activities that will captivate your child’s senses and provide a serene atmosphere for them to unwind.

These calming activities for kids are great for those with special needs as well as those little ones who might struggle with sensory processing disorder.

Both my kids have sensory input issues, so these calming sensory strategies were super helpful for us!

calming sensory activities  for toddlers pin image

About Sensory Therapy 

Sensory therapy for toddlers is a specialized approach that focuses on stimulating and regulating their senses to promote healthy development.

Toddlers have a natural curiosity about the world around them, and sensory therapy provides them with opportunities to explore different textures, sounds, smells, tastes, and visual stimuli in a controlled and supportive environment.

By engaging in sensory experiences, toddlers can enhance their fine motor skills, improve body awareness, develop language and communication skills, work on their proprioceptive input, and regulate their emotions.

Sensory therapy not only fosters a child’s cognitive and physical development but also provides a fun and engaging way for them to learn and explore their surroundings.

While an occupational therapist can really help with your toddler’s sensory diet and do the heavy work if needed, oftentimes, you can simply enjoy some sensory integration activities at home!

Signs of Sensory Issues in Kids 

Signs of sensory issues in kids can manifest in various ways and may indicate a difficulty in processing sensory information.

Some common signs include hypersensitivity or hyposensitivity to sensory stimuli.

Hypersensitivity can be observed when a child becomes easily overwhelmed or distressed by certain sounds, textures, smells, or bright lights.

They may cover their ears, avoid certain foods or clothing textures, or display an intense emotional response to sensory input.

Hyposensitivity, on the other hand, involves seeking out intense sensory input, such as constantly touching objects, seeking deep pressure, or craving strong flavors.

Other signs can include difficulty with transitions, poor coordination, frequent meltdowns, resistance to certain activities, and limited play skills.

These signs can vary from child to child, and it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional or occupational therapist for a comprehensive evaluation and guidance if sensory issues are suspected [source].

One of my toddlers has hypersensitivity while the other has hyposensitivity, so I found all types of sensory integration exercises that work great for both types!

How Do Sensory Calming Activities Work? 

Calming sensory activities are activities that stimulate the senses and promote relaxation. These activities can help children feel more calm, centered, and focused.

They are ideal for children who may have sensory processing difficulties, anxiety, or simply need a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. We also like to use calm activities for kids during quiet time too!

Calm down activities for children can help your toddler calm down, focus, and feel more in control of their emotions.

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Best Sensory Calming Activities for Kids

Here are the best calm down activities for kids. These especially work great for toddlers, but kids of all ages can enjoy these sensory input activities!


playdough in purple, teal, and orange complete

Playdough is an excellent sensory activity for toddlers. It’s a great way to help your child develop their fine motor skills and creativity. You can create different colors of playdough by mixing food coloring with flour, salt, and water.

Your toddler can play with the playdough and create different shapes and objects. Playdough can be a wonderful calming activity for toddlers and can help them feel more relaxed and focused.

Sensory Bags

ice cream sensory bag
Taming Little Monsters

If your little one does not yet enjoy messy sensory play, try out this Ice Cream Sensory Bag. It uses both their visual input and fine motor skills to move the little pieces into the right area.

Plus, adding in some water or gel into the bag will help with tactile play in a non-messy way!

Sensory Bottles

calming sensory bottle

Sensory bottles are a fun and calming activity for toddlers. You can make a sensory bottle by filling a clear plastic bottle with water, glitter, and small toys or objects.

Your toddler can shake the bottle and watch the glitter swirl around. Sensory bottles are an excellent way to teach your toddler about cause and effect and can provide a calming distraction when your child is feeling anxious or upset.

Check out other fun sensory bottle ideas:

Sensory Bins

child playing with beach sensory tray

Sensory bins are a great way to engage your toddler in sensory play. You can create a sensory bin by filling a plastic container with sensory materials, such as rice, beans, or sand.

Your toddler can play with the materials and explore different textures. Tactile bins can be a calming and engaging activity for toddlers and can help them feel more relaxed and focused.

Check out these other sensory bin ideas:

Salt Writing

salt sensory activity
Busy Mommy Media

If you are looking for some sensory calming strategies perfect for preschoolers, try this salt writing activity!

It will engage their sensory system while also helping them learn some letters at the same time!


Lavender slime

Another one of the calming activity for kids that we always loved, is to make and play with some slime. Plus, with this Calming Lavender Slime, your toddlers will feel relaxed no matter how they play with it!

Frozen Oobleck

frozen oobleck
STEM Powered Family

Oobleck is one of the best calming sensory activities we have ever done! It is so simple to make, and is so therapeutic for little ones, and even adults!

It is fun to watch your kid try to figure out how it works. They will love it so much and engage in this sensory activity for hours on end at times!

Bubble Wrap Play

Bubble wrap is not only fun to pop but also provides sensory feedback that can help soothe your toddler. There are endless opportunities to play with bubble wrap!

Bubble wrap painting is a fun and engaging sensory activity for toddlers. You can create bubble wrap paintings by painting on bubble wrap with different colors of paint and then pressing the painted bubble wrap onto paper.

Your toddler can press the bubble wrap onto the paper to create a colorful and unique painting. Bubble wrap painting can help your toddler develop their fine motor skills and can be a relaxing and fun activity.

Or you can do a bubble wrap stomp! Lay out a large sheet of bubble wrap on the floor and let your child stomp, jump, or walk on it, enjoying the satisfying sound and sensation. This activity can serve as an excellent outlet for excess energy while offering a calming sensory experience.

We do the bubble wrap stomp all the time!

Bubble wrap is one of the best calming toys for toddlers too!

Make a Burrito Deep Pressure Activity

One of our favorite deep pressure activities for toddlers is to make a burrito! Have your child get their favorite blanket and lay it out on the floor.

Toddler inside a blanket

Your child gets in, and you make the blanket as tight as possible, turning them into a little burrito!

They find it so much fun and it helps with their sensory system.


Yoga is an excellent way to help your toddler feel calm and centered. You can introduce your child to basic yoga poses, such as downward dog or child’s pose.

Little girl doing downward dog

Yoga can help your child develop their balance, coordination, and flexibility. It can also be a calming and relaxing activity that can help your child feel more in control of their emotions.

I personally use this book and our kids and I love it!

You might love these little yogi card decks to help your little ones too!

Feather Tickle or Massage

Tickling with a soft feather can be a delightful and calming sensory experience for toddlers. Lightly stroke the feather along their arms, legs, and back, allowing them to giggle and relax. This activity can help your child release tension and bring a sense of joy and tranquility.

The delicate touch of the feather provides a gentle massage-like sensation that can calm their nervous system and induce relaxation. This activity is especially beneficial before bedtime to help your child unwind and prepare for sleep.

Sensory Storytelling

Engage your toddler’s imagination and sensory skills by incorporating sensory elements into storytelling.

Choose books with textured pages, scratch-and-sniff sections, or interactive flaps.

As you read the story, encourage your child to touch and explore the sensory features, immersing them in a multisensory experience that promotes relaxation and focus.

Check out some of our top favorite PaperPie books with sensory fun!

Quiet Corner

Designate a special corner in your home as a quiet retreat for your toddler. Set up a cozy area with soft pillows, blankets (like a weighted blanket), and plush toys.

Quiet corner room for kids

This quiet corner can serve as a safe space for your toddler to retreat to when they feel overwhelmed or need some downtime.

Encourage them to snuggle up with a book, listen to calming music, or simply take a few moments of quiet reflection.

Having this space will really help with self regulation skills.


Harness the power of scents to create a calming environment for your toddler. Essential oils such as lavender, chamomile, and tangerine are known for their soothing properties.

Lavender with an essential oil bottle

Use a diffuser to disperse these scents into the air or dilute them with a carrier oil and gently massage onto your toddler’s feet or back. You can also put them in playdough, slime, or other sensory bins.

The gentle aroma can help relax their mind and body, promoting a sense of calmness.

Sensory Walks

Take your toddler on a sensory adventure with a nature walk. Encourage them to touch leaves, smell flowers, listen to the sounds of birds, and feel different textures such as tree bark or grass.

Mom walking with her two kids in nature

Connecting with nature in a mindful way can have a grounding and calming effect on your child’s senses.

Cloud Watching

On a calm and clear day, lay a soft blanket on the grass and encourage your toddler to lie down and look up at the sky.

Spend some time together identifying shapes in the clouds, talking about the colors of the sky, and enjoying the gentle breeze.

This simple activity promotes relaxation and encourages your child to appreciate the beauty of the natural world.

We used to do this all the time as kids and love doing it with our toddlers too!

Sensory Baths

Transform bath time into a calming sensory experience by adding a few elements that engage your toddler’s senses.

Use lavender-scented bath products for a soothing aroma, incorporate colorful bath toys or foam letters for visual stimulation, and play soft music in the background to create a serene atmosphere.

The warm water and sensory elements will help your toddler unwind and relax before bedtime, making it another one of the best calm down activities before bedtime!

Try out this calming bath playdough!

Calming Music Scarf Dancing

Music has a profound impact on our emotions and can be a powerful tool for relaxation. Create a calming playlist featuring gentle melodies, nature sounds, or instrumental music.

Play this music during quiet times, before naps, or in the evening to help your toddler wind down and find inner peace.

If you want, you can also get some colorful scarfs for kids who love to dance and move around during the calming music too!

Calming Sensory Toys

Invest in sensory toys designed to promote calmness and relaxation. Look for toys that provide tactile stimulation, such as squishy balls, textured sensory balls, or fidget spinners.

Some good ones might include:

These calming toys can help your toddler redirect their energy and engage their senses in a soothing manner.

Mindful Breathing

Teach your toddler the practice of mindful breathing to help them calm their minds and regulate their emotions.

Mom and toddler girl mindful breathing

Encourage them to take slow, deep breaths, inhaling deeply through their nose and exhaling slowly through their mouth.

This simple technique can be used in moments of stress or when they need to find a sense of calm. Or, you can include it in your calm morning routine to start off your day on the right foot!

Sensory Art

Engage your toddler in sensory art activities that provide a calming and creative outlet. Set up a painting station with a variety of materials such as finger paints, textured brushes, and different textured papers.

Encourage your toddler to explore the materials with their hands, fingers, and even their feet. The process of creating art can be both therapeutic and calming, allowing your child to express themselves while engaging their senses.

It is a bit more messy play but is so wonderful for your kids!

Calming Sensory Activities FAQs

How do you calm down a sensory child?

Try some sensory bottles or bins, wrap them in a blanket, play with some sensory toys, or other calm down activities for kids.

How do you calm down from sensory overstimulation?

The best way to calm down from sensory overstimulation is to remove yourself from the environment and find a calming play. A quiet corner is perfect for little ones that only has calming things.

Can calming sensory activities be incorporated into daily routines?

Yes, calming sensory activities can be easily incorporated into daily routines to help manage stress and anxiety. For example, taking a few minutes to practice deep breathing or engaging in a short yoga sequence before bed can help promote better sleep and relaxation.

How long should I engage my toddler in sensory activities?

The duration of sensory activities depends on your toddler’s age and attention span. Start with short sessions of 10-15 minutes and gradually increase the time as your child becomes more engaged and comfortable.

How can I incorporate sensory activities into my toddler’s daily routine?

Integrate sensory activities into different parts of your toddler’s day, such as during playtime, bath time, or before bedtime. Creating a consistent routine will help your child anticipate and enjoy these calming sensory experiences.

What if my toddler shows resistance to sensory activities?

Every child is different, and some toddlers may initially resist certain sensory activities. Start with activities that align with their interests and gradually introduce new ones. Offer choices and observe their reactions to determine what engages them the most. My second toddler hated messy sensory play but I slowly introduced it to him and now he loves it!

Calming Sensory Activities Wrap-Up

When it comes to calming sensory activities for toddlers, the options are endless. By incorporating these activities into your little one’s daily routine, you can create a serene and soothing environment that helps them relax, unwind, and find a sense of calmness.

From sensory bins and lavender playdough to feather tickling and mindful breathing, each activity engages their senses and promotes a state of relaxation. Experiment with different activities and observe how your toddler responds to find the ones that resonate with them the most.

Remember, finding moments of calmness for your toddler is not only beneficial for their well-being but also provides an opportunity for you to connect and bond with them in a peaceful and meaningful way.

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