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Taste-safe Sensory Play for Infant and Toddler Early Learning Classrooms

Young children in the toddler and late infant age groups love sensory activities that allow them to squish, squeeze, and explore different textures with their hands. These types of activities support early development by encouraging little ones to discover with their senses as they strengthen the fine motor skills in their hands and fingers. When incorporating sensory activities into infant/toddler programs, you’ll want to remember that infants and toddlers like to explore with their sense of taste as well as with their sense of touch, and offer only taste-safe sensory experiences. In this article, we share some simple-to-prepare recipes for sensory learning activities that are both engaging and safe. 

Frozen Fruits & Veggies

Frozen produce, such as peas, corn, and berries, are wonderful ingredients for sensory exploration and learning. Frozen peas are especially beneficial because their small size encourages little ones to try picking them up between their pointer finger and thumb— which helps to strengthen the muscles in their hands that they’ll later use to hold a pencil.

Frozen produce is also cost-friendly and safe (and healthy!) to eat. To incorporate frozen fruits and veggies into a sensory activity, simply dump some frozen produce into a small tray, and set out some child-sized scoopers and cups. Let the produce sit for a minute or two to soften up (to avoid a choking hazard, it is best to let the fruits/veggies become slightly mushy), and then give a scooper or cup to the little learners in your program so they can learn and explore!

One-ingredient Edible Sand

A sand-filled sensory bin provides loads of opportunities for learning and play! It can be turned into a construction-themed activity by adding small trucks; a beach-themed activity by adding pretend sea shells and shovels; or a fossil-themed activity by adding pretend dinosaurs. 

To create taste-safe sand, all you need is crackers and a food processor. Place the crackers in the food processor and blend them until they reach your desired texture. Place the cracker crumbs into a bin or a large tray and invite the little ones to play!

Cloud Dough

Cloud dough is a unique material that infants and toddlers enjoy squishing and packing together into a variety of shapes before it returns to its original, crumbly texture. This simple recipe from Lemon Lime Adventures is entirely taste-safe and uses only two ingredients – rice cereal and coconut oil! To make the cloud dough, pour one cup of rice cereal into a container and add 3 tablespoons of melted coconut oil. Then mix everything together before letting the mixture cool. 

After the cloud dough has cooled, place it on a tray or in a sensory bin and encourage the children to explore! Offer spoons, cups, cookie cutters, or other materials that little learners might enjoy using to scoop and shape the cloud dough.


Jello’s jiggly texture makes it a uniquely fun ingredient for sensory learning play. It is also perfectly safe to eat and comes in lots of colors. 

To set up a jello sensory activity, simply choose a flavor/color of Jello and follow the instructions on the box. Make one large batch of jello using a cookie sheet so that children can play together, or put the jello into smaller cups for individual use. The early childhood blog, Kid Activity with Alexa, suggests hiding toys in the jello and offering spoons to children so that they can dig and carve out the toys. 

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