Why our OTs love sensory trays



Sensory trays are an effective way to help your child with a disability to improve and develop not only their senses but also their fine motor movements. They prompt self-directed play where your child is able to explore and play independently. Plus, they are so much fun and low cost to set-up!


What is a sensory tray?

A sensory tray (sometimes called a sensory bin) is typically a deep tray, plastic tub or a large container of some sort (think Tupperware or dishwashing bowl) filled with materials and objects carefully selected to stimulate the senses. 


Sensory tray ideas

There are lots of different items that you can place in a sensory tray to make them exciting for your child. Sensory trays can be used at any age starting from infancy. Just make sure that the materials selected are age and ability appropriate (such as no choking hazards if your child is likely to put things in their mouth). Here are some ideas to get you started and there are also lots of further ideas online, just google “sensory tray ideas”.


Colour coded trays – use items of the same colour but varying textures and shapes such as red beans, red tissue paper, red pom poms, red pipe cleaners and red alphabet magnets.

Messy trays – these are so much fun just be prepared for the cleaning up afterwards! Try using shaving cream with spots of food colouring dotted and watch your child swirl and blend the colours.

Nature trays – encourage your child to explore natural textures, colours and smells by including crunchy autumn leaves, rocks, sand, dirt, pods, sticks – anything you can find in a garden.

Themed trays – these are great fun for special occasions! Create a Christmas tray with pieces of red tinsel, a Santa figurine, stars, red and green pom poms and gift wrapping bows.


Further information

At Xavier, our team of occupational therapists support children and young people in Brisbane and throughout the Brisbane area including Ipswich, Logan, North Lakes and Deception Bay.

Get further information on how our team can support your child with disability by visiting our occupational therapy page , emailing or call us on 1800 XAVIER.