Sensory Play

Hidden Toy Sensory Play

Here is an activity that you can twist and fix to fit your little ones likes. Don’t look at what I have used and think, “Well I don’t have 97 pompoms and a container of counting bugs so this activity is out.” Do you have some cotton balls? How about you munchkins favorite tiny dinosaurs or ponies? Then your in!


  • Sensory item (pompoms, cotton balls, beans, rice, water)
  • Tiny toys (Toy bugs, animals, dinosaurs, princess’)
    • We used THESE counting bugs
    • 61l86jk2+zL._SL1000_.jpg
  • Containers to collect found items
    • I used my counting bear cups but I could easily use kids bowls
    • If you were hoping to help your little work on colors you could even have different colored papers laid out for them to line up their found items.
  • OPTIONAL: Tools for picking up bugs.
    • My toddler is obsessed with the alligator tweezers that come in the TAKE 10 products. They are fabulous. You could use clothes pins or tweezers.
    • (Seriously my preschool teacher brain is freaking out about the awesome small motor skills going on in these pics!!!!!)

Set up

  • Find a container that will fit your sensory item, for me it is pompoms in my water table.
  • Mix the “pompoms” with your counting bugs, or other item.
  • Set up your small containers and any other item


Activity Time

In our preschool room right now we have a little garden and camping set up so I told my girls they needed to get all the bugs out of their flower seeds….yes those pompoms are supposed to be seeds. My munchkins jumped right on it!


In the beginning of the activity they were just so excited to hunt for bugs. Once they found one they would capture it.

With a little prompting they started dropping the bugs in the right colored cups.

After a little bit of time I started asking my toddler what color bug she found. Or what type of bug. Any chance to get some chitchat going on will increase learning.

Once my girls started telling me what type of bug they were catching they became very worried about the spiders. They told me they were bad spiders and wanted to eat the other bugs so they had to be caught in a net. This added a whole new level of sorting into the activity!


We talked about which color had more bugs. We talked about which ones were bigger or smaller. I had my toddler help me count up each cup of bugs and my 5 year old added them all together.

It was such a hit we ended up hiding the bugs in the “seeds” a few times.


After the excitement died a little I encouraged some imaginative play with the bugs and asked my girls if they were going to keep any as pets for the camp site. This was perfect because it made their camping game have a new purpose…”Where would the bugs sleep, what would they eat, what were their names?”

Even my littlest munchkin enjoyed the play!

I didn’t get any more pictures once she realized there were tiny poofy things that fit oh so nicely in her mouth just in reach. Babies!


  • Time your kids, turn it into a game. See who can find the most in 47 seconds?
  • Make a graph and when they find a certain toy it needs to be placed on the right line of the graph.
  • Make a pattern out of your found items. BIG, small, BIG, small.
  • Have your child close their eyes and hunt for the lost toys with their hands!



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