18+ Sensory Tubs for Toddlers

18+ Sensory Tubs for Toddlers (Safe even for the youngest kiddos)

Sensory Tubs are tons of fun, but not all are appropriate or safe for toddlers. Since toddlers are known to put things in their mouths, this definitely limits what we can use! Sensory tub contents should be edible (or taste-safe) and/or contain pieces that are larger than the inside of a cardboard roll to prevent choking. We are sharing a collection of our favorite (safe) sensory tubs for toddlers as the final post in our A Very Toddler Summer series we are co-hosting with Toddler Approved.


Be sure to check out Kristina’s post on Summer Snacks for Toddlers as well!



Sensory Tub Ideas that are Safe for Toddlers

Sensory Exploration with Tapioca  ::  Learners in Bloom

Colored Ice in the Play Pool  ::  Learn ~ Play ~ Imagine

Treasure Hunt Sensory Tub  ::  I Can Teach My Child!

(The sand isn’t edible, so keep an eye on your toddler for this one!)




Sensory Tubs safe for toddlers

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs Sensory Tub (a great sensory tub to do with older siblings who can enjoy the book as well)

Rainbow Gelatin Sensory Play  ::  No Time for Flashcards

Color Tubs Water Play for Toddlers  ::  Twodaloo




Toddler Safe Sensory Tubs

Ice and Goop Sensory Play  ::  Creative Playhouse

Ocean Small World Play ::  Rainy Day Mum (just be sure to add large enough objects that they won’t be a choking hazard for toddlers)

Cornflake Sensory Tub  ::  Toddler Approved



More Sensory Tub Ideas for Toddlers

Toddler-Safe Cloud Dough  ::  Happy Hooligans via Kids Activities Blog

Shredded Paper Sensory Tub  ::  I Can Teach My Child!

Cranberry Sauce Sensory Tub   ::  I Can Teach My Child!



Fun Sensory Tub Ideas for toddlers

Taste-Safe Sensory Rainbow  ::  Powerful Mothering

Taste-Safe Moon Sand  ::  Powerful Mothering

Cheerios Sensory Tub  ::  Home Grown Families



Awesome Sensory Tub Ideas for Toddlers

Rainbow Oats Sensory Tub  ::  And Next Comes L

Shredded Coconut Sensory Tub  ::  And Next Comes L

Colored Water Transfer Play  ::  Hands On:  As We Grow



18+ Sensory Tubs for Toddlers



Don’t forget to follow both Toddler Approved and I Can Teach My Child on Facebook and on Instagram. Kristina is @kristinatoddlerapproved and I am @jenaeteach.



And be sure to check out all of our toddler activities here:

very toddler summer-1



What is your favorite sensory tub idea for toddlers?





  1. These are great ideas…and toddlers will love them…but PLEASE think about using food for play…food is NOT a toy and many folks struggle every day to get enough to eat…it isn’t necessary to use food for play materials…there are plenty of non food substitutes!
    This site may be referenced by preschool teachers…

    Many families that have toddlers in attendance at preschool have come from situations where food scarcity brought on by war, poverty, tenuous employment is an every day occurence…and we waste it by playing with it? For kids that are well off…how do you square teaching kids to protect the environment with wasting resources by throwing food/play materials away?

    1. You’re very correct. I work as an Early Head START teacher and we are not allowed to use food with activities for these very reasons.

  2. Jenae, thank you very much for such great and even superb ideas for toddlers! Ideas and materials – are essential, and that IS good that they are made from food, espesially from such food that is possible to find in every supermarket. And this is a good opportunity for my almost-2-geared-son developing his skills, because political environment in Russia (where we live) buying safe goods for toddlers are very expensive (because dollar is very volatile)…By the way, peoples who starve are also cannot afford safe european or american’s toys, because they work for 2 $ for the week…and they also do toys from what they have “under the hand”, for example mix sandal wood with coconut oil to make play dough? and this is definitely waste of materials – sandal is so expensive! …Well, I don’t mean I’m against helping people who starve or suffer from smth, but I mean that we should understand context we live in. Remember – when you afford playing with soup, porridge or another food, but touching, leaking, tasting, messing, putting the food on their head…or mums head – the baby learn the world, learn how to “use” food, and this messing with food helps them to eat independently and with more wish. So…here with playing with toddlers, or grown kids – you are the main conductor, and you teach them that there are some peoples who starve… But playing with materials from food – is another story, don’t mix them.

    1. I think this is misguided. I see where you are coming from, and definitely agree that teaching kids about the value of food and being honest about situations others are in is important. But it simply isn’t true to say it is better for the environment or anyone to not use edible items for child play. These items can make the difference between a child having safe toys or nothing at all when money and access to storebought toys is not available. Also, it is MUCH worse for the environment and everyone in it to create plastic toys in factories under unethical working conditions to sell to children, and accumulatively worse for the children playing with them. Supporting corporations tearing up the environment for resources to make potentially toxic toys with exploited underpaid labor (real people who can’t afford food, because of our support of these products) isn’t teaching empathy, it’s just teaching uncritical thinking.

  3. As an OT, we use food as play because it reduces anxiety for children with sensory processing differences. Its a great way to explore the varied textures, smells, etc. for those picky eaters that may have defensiveness. Its a great way to use their hands or utensils to eventually bring the food up to their mouth for eating. You’re helping a child get the nutrition they need through food exploration. Why guilt families for using this effective approach?

  4. Instead of teaching children that it is a waste to play with edible materials, we should teach them what is actually scientifically in best practice for the environment, and that play is an important right and need for their health that they, and everyone, deserve to access just as much as proper nutrition.

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