Exploratory play: MTA’s top sensory toys for 2024
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Exploratory play: MTA’s top sensory toys for 2024

by Freya Lucas

June 04, 2024

In early childhood pedagogy, sensory play encourages learning through exploration, curiosity, problem-solving and creativity. Playing with sensory toys engages sensory pathways that access strong and lasting parts of memory, enhancing learning and growth. Tactile, auditory or visual, the many benefits of sensory play include cognitive development, language and communication, social and emotional development, physical skills and creativity.


With MTA’s specialty educational resources sourced from around the globe, sensory toys are beautifully represented and increasingly popular with educators and children alike. Here are MTA’s top sensory toys for 2024.


A little laboratory full of possibilities!

The Texture Time Toddler Loose Parts Kit is designed for young children to experiment, explore and make both non-verbal and verbal distinctions in their environment. Children can mix and match different textures, colours and configurations of the pieces to create unique sensory experiences. 


Luxurious components include mesh, chenille, denim, fleece, velvet and more, while other textured pieces encourage tactile and sensory exploration. The kit is suitable for children aged 18+ months. 


Exploring sounds and tactile play


Shake, rattle and roll with Wooden Sound Blocks that include 12 blocks with different sounds on each. This wooden toy set would make a solid addition to your sensory kit as its rounded edges are perfect for little hands. 


In pastel and bright colours, these blocks are also ideal for stacking and building in all sorts of visually stimulating arrangements. 


Paints and inks are non-toxic in these quality wooden toys compliant with a range of toy safety standards (EN71, ASTM, ST2002 and GB6675). These blocks will suit all little sensory explorers aged 12+ months. 


Add a touch of magic to playtime

Get ready for dancing and rainbow-coloured exploration! If there’s one way an educator can brighten up a child’s play experience, it’s with a Rainbow Play Silkie.


This beautiful dress-up box addition gives educators and children so many open-ended play options from imaginative play to sensory exploration and classic dress-up fun. Superhero or princess, anyone? 


Measuring 90 x 90 cm, Play Silkies are just the right size for little hands to manipulate and explore. They’re suitable for children aged 3+ years.


Enhance gross motor and tactile skills


Colour me happy! There are lots of fun colours, shapes and unique textured balls in MTA’s Sensory Balls Mega Pack. With nine diverse balls in the set, they are soft, stimulating and designed to enhance tactile learning while assisting in the development of gross motor skills, grasping and coordination. 


Children can explore the colours, shapes and textures themselves, while educators can softly roll the textured balls on a child’s back or feet to heighten sensory awareness. 


Balls are such a diverse learning resource, as children can toss, roll or bounce the balls, engage in solitary play, or play together in pairs or teams. Ball play for the win.


A soothing, sensory stress reliever

Hello fluorescent jellyfish! This mesmerising Jelly Fish Tank is a fabulously sensory feature in any early childhood service, aiding in sensory stimulation and also acting as a calming, stress relieving tool. 


The black tank (44 x 23 x 7cm) is home to seven beautiful jellyfish that are remarkably realistic and fascinating with their movements. With captivating mood lighting, children will love watching the amazing life-like swimming motion of the jellyfish. LED lights with multiple settings give educators a range of colour combinations to explore. 


Where would your jellyfish corner be?


Tactile puzzle fun that’s bumpy, smooth and soft 

Whether young children are keen for a fun game or for sensory stimulus, this Tactile Search and Match Game can do both. Curious children flip sensory puzzle pieces over to feel and identify them from their bumpy ridges, smooth surfaces, soft plush surfaces and more. 


Nine different textures on an oversized puzzle piece match to a corresponding spot on the sturdy puzzle board (35.5(w) x 30 cm). 


This set would look great in a sensory kit, perhaps enjoying pride of place on a low tabletop or in a sensory corner. Recommended for children aged 2+ years.


Mesmerising musical sounds

Ding! Ding! This beautiful hardwood toy is a standout with its musical and sensory benefits. It’s a set of 12 Wooden Sound Prisms designed with a wide variety of sound pairings and exceptional sound quality. 


The set contains six pairs of triangular prisms, identifiable by matching percussive or musical sounds and colour-coded musical note logos in six rainbow colours. The musical note logo only appears on one side of each block, so the blocks can be turned upside-down to test the user’s memory skills too! 


Each prism has been crafted in a child-friendly size (5 x 6 cm) and the sound prism set is suitable for children aged 12+ months.


Sparkly glitter wand fun awaits


All that glitters is not gold. It could be any number of wonderful colours! These Glitter Tubes come in a pack of four sparkly sensory wands. These easily grasped sensory toys feature multiple glitter compartments, encased in a tough, safe and durable design.


Glitter tube wands can help promote visual tracking and hand-eye coordination, as well as fine motor skills as children grasp and move them around. 


Each wand reaches 32 cm in length and is light to hold, manipulate and enjoy.


Sensory den or light show!

MTA’s Pop Up Tent in black is such a versatile addition to an early childhood service. It can be used as both an enclosed dark space for light projection or as a sensory den for self-regulation. 


With the addition of light-up resources, the tent can help stimulate children’s senses, spark curiosity, and engage them in exploration. When used as a dark den, the tent serves as a safe, enclosed, calm space where children can relax and regulate their sensory systems. The quiet, darker environment helps children who may become easily overwhelmed by sensory stimuli.


Unlike full sensory rooms, a pop-up tent is both space-saving and practical, serving as a fit-for-purpose sensory space without compromising an entire room.


Science meets sensory – in a tube!

Bring sensory experiences to life with these child-safe jumbo Sensory Tracking Tubes.


(6 (dia.) x 47 (H) cm) that introduce children to auditory, visual and scientific effects of gravity and friction. 


The five thick acrylic tubes are reinforced by soft-touch, over-moulded endcaps and filled with colourful, noisy elements that encourage exploration. The elements include static-sensitive foam, shiny and colourful pom poms, as well as geometric wood and metal trinkets. 


These giant shatter-resistant tubes are ideal for sensory play both indoors and outdoors, and suitable for children aged 12+ months.


Tactile cube game play

Sensory toy play using tactile perception helps to sharpen sensory development in children. This set of Textures Sensory Cubes comes with four beautifully crafted wooden cubes with contrasting textures and 12 tactile pieces. 


The goal of the game is to match the textures on the cube sides with the sensory templates using tactile or visual skills. With the pieces face down and using only the power of touch, can little ones classify the pieces correctly? With the pieces face up, can children use their visual skills to match the pieces to the corresponding cube side? 


With so many game combinations, this set is ideal for individual or group game play in children aged 18+ months.


Ready to explore sensory play? To learn more about MTA’s sensory toy range, or see the full range of MTA products, visit their website here. To connect with your local consultant, reach out to MTA by phone on 1800 251 497 or email [email protected] 

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