Starting at an early age, children use their senses to explore the world around them. And not surprising, they also learn best and retain the most information when they engage their senses.

Sensory play is one way to engage students through their senses as it stimulates sight, smell, taste, touch and hearing. It also plays a major role in students’ physical, social and cognitive development. And although sensory activities are fun and engaging for students, they also encourage them to use scientific processes as they play, create, investigate and explore.

It’s also important to note that sensory activities are not only beneficial for babies or children with disabilities. Sensory activities support healthy development and provide a range of benefits for all children, including:

  • Strong cognitive skills
  • Fine and gross motor development
  • Language development
  • Increased social interaction
  • Enhanced memory

In this activity, students will create shaving-cream paint to create their own masterpieces. As they complete the activity, the paint’s smell, colors and texture will appeal to their senses.

Warning: This activity can get messy. Be sure to take the appropriate steps to contain the mess, like using a spill tray or covering the activity area with a cloth. Also, carve out time to involve students in the cleanup of the activity once finished.



  1. Fill each plastic cup with shaving cream.
  2. Add in a few drops of paint and mix well. For students who love sparkle, add metallic paint or glitter to the mix.
  3. Set up an easel or poster board outside or in an open space. Then have students use their hands or the paint brushes to paint with the shaving cream. Let them be creative!

Looking to provide more sensory activities in your program? Check out this list of resources to help you get started:

This activity was adapted from Banish Boredom: Activities to Do with Kids That You’ll Actually Enjoy