Sensory Trays

by Amy Collins June 18, 2018

Get your class exploring different textures with a range of different sensory trays, either as a walk or by setting up different seated stations.

You will need…

  • Flat area of ground for the trays to sit on
  • 6 or more Shallow (F1) Gratnells trays
  • A range of different materials, including but not limited to:
    • Bird seed
    • Cooked and chilled spaghetti or pasta shells
    • Shaving gel
    • Bubble wrap
    • Water filled balloons
    • Grass
    • Sand
    • Beads / glass pebbles
    • Shredded tissue paper
    • Cotton wool balls
    • Water
  • Small chairs
  • Tissues for drying and cleaning hands and feed

What to do…

  • Set your chosen amount of trays on to a flat area of ground. If completing the activity as a sensory walk, place the trays directly next to each other with no space between them. If completing the activity as separate stations, set each tray on the ground with a small chair right behind each one of them.
  • Fill each tray with a different material.
  • If walking, step into the first tray and discuss the texture of the material.
  • Note down key words and phrases that can be used at a later date to describe that material.
  • If using as separate sensory stations, cover each tray before taking the children to them.
  • Before you reveal the contents of the tray, let the child sit down and have them cover their eyes.
  • Uncover the tray and it’s contents, and have the child place their feet into the tray. With their eyes still covered, have them try to identify the contents of the tray.
  • Note down key words and phrases that the children use to describe each material. If they are unable to identify the material at the time, use the describing words to help them identify them as a group at a later stage.
  • The sensory stations can also be set up on tables, and the children can use their hands rather than feet to attempt to identify the items.

Health and Safety

As with all Gratnells Learning Rooms What’s In My Tray activities you should carry out your own risk assessment prior to undertaking any of the activities with children.