If there is one thing my mom never fails to do, it’s concocting the perfect Easter basket for both of her children each year (we’re both full-blown adults now, but the tradition is ever-lasting and has our full support). What makes the perfect Easter basket you may be asking? For me and my brother, we look forward to the classic chocolate bunnies, Peeps (in the shape of chicks of course), and other various sweet and sour treats. Although this basket is delicious, let’s dive into a more practical Easter basket for our younger children. More specifically, let’s take a look at some tactile, audible, and developmentally appropriate items we can add in order to support your children’s sensory needs. Bonus: these items can be used to improve both language and fine motor skills!
1. Fan Favorites— Play-Doh and Silly Putty
Play-Doh may be one of the most versatile items to play with. There are so many themed-sets including this bunny and easter egg one. This kit comes with egg molds, bunny pieces, stampers, and fun, bright and pastel colored play-doh tubes. Your child can use these to practice early cutting skills and hand strength as they will be pressing unique designs into the play-doh and cutting out their creative shapes. Similarly, silly putty can be kneaded, twisted, rolled, and squeezed to your child’s heart’s content. It acts as a perfect fidget and can be used to release tension and stress. Bonus tip: hide little beads inside and have your child find and pick them out to work on fine motor skills.
2. Plush Toy Carrot Set
This next engaging activity is one of my personal favorites, and it may just be because I’m a certified vegetable fanatic. These carrots are soft and plush to the touch, and are great for strengthening fine motor skills, especially those superior pinchers. The benefits don’t stop there. This is also great for hand-eye coordination and object/shape recognition. From a language standpoint, this activity is perfect for targeting prepositions. “Let’s pull OUT! Let’s put IN!”
3. Cause and Effect—Wind-Up Toys
Wind-Up toys work wonders when working on language promotion and joint attention. Who wouldn’t want to see what happens after using your hand strength and fine motor skills to wind up these cute animals? After winding it up, try to “wait it out” and have your child fill in the anticipated, “go!” to make the animal move. These are also great for requesting, “more.” Bonus: these are sensory-friendly, as the chicks are soft to the touch.
4. Touch and Feel Easter Books
I am the number one fan of early literacy promotion. In my eyes, the earlier you can get your child familiar with books, the better. This book is equal parts adorable and educational. It is interactive in nature and is soft to the touch. Hippity Hoppity Little Bunny is ideal for letter recognition and early language development, as children have the opportunity to imitate animal noises, repeat action words such as, “look!” and, “hop!” and rhyme words together in a fun and engaging way. The built in bunny finger puppet is also perfect for dexterity and fine motor skills.
5. Light Up Toys
Light Up toys are visually stimulating and do a fantastic job in sustaining a child’s attention. To make it even more sensory-friendly, these chicks have a soft, spiky texture that can be squeezed and stretched to no end. This item is a great aid in helping children regulate, produce a sense of calm, and reduce stress or anxiety.
I hope you add some of these sensory-friendly items into your Easter basket this year! Okay…and maybe some delicious snacks too, because I for one can’t imagine an Easter without a few sweet treats.