Sensory Art for Children

Course Instructor

Kara Bledsoe

Course Information

This class is specifically geared for toddlers ages 18 months to 5 years old. From birth children use their senses to explore and make sense of their environment. They learn how to navigate through their world by touching, tasting, smelling, seeing, moving, and hearing.

Additional Class Information

Children and most adults learn effectively by retaining information through engaging their senses. Providing opportunities for children to use their senses is crucial to brain development and even helps to build nerve connections in the brain. This helps to build a child’s ability to complete more complex tasks while supporting cognitive growth, language development, motor skills, social interaction, and problem-solving skills.

What will your child get out of sensory art and play? With sensory activities, there is always more going on than meets the eye. The class includes activities that stimulate your child’s senses: touch, smell, taste, movement, balance, sight, and hearing. Your child may not create a great number of projects in this class. The focus is on the process and open-ended activities rather than the product. Lessons and activities change each semester but activities may include watching bubbles float and feeling them land on your skin, scrunching colored paper to hear noise, observing light and shadow, watching colors mix and patterns form by finger painting or sponge painting, creating shapes and playing with kinetic sand, or playing with musical instruments and listening to the tone and pitch as they strike or blow through instruments softly or forcefully.

An example of successful sensory play is when a child finds it difficult to play with other children when there is too much going on in their environment with conflicting noises or sights. Through sensory play, the child can learn to block out the noise which is not important and focus on the play which is occurring with the peers. Another example is a child who is particularly fussing with eating food with a wet texture such as spaghetti. The use of sensory play can assist the child with touching, smelling, and playing with the texture in an environment with little expectation. As the child develops trust and understanding of this texture it helps build positive pathways to the brain to say it is safe to engage with this food.

The class is taught by instructor Kara Bledsoe who works to create a dynamic little community of parents (guardians) and their toddlers. As much as creating learning environments, Bledsoe works to bring parents and their little ones together through playing and creating in a space where parents can connect to their kids and with other parents.

You can help develop your child’s creative side and build cognitive and motor skills by providing similar environments and activities at home. Please remember that at this age children will not perfect an art medium and produce complete projects. Scribbling, doodling, playing with modeling clay are ways your child will develop muscle memory, strength, dexterity, and creativity. Another wonderful way to engage their senses is by playing outside with nature where there are thousands of colors, movements, textures, sounds and smells!

Help your community by fulfilling McKinney Center's mission.


The McKinney Center at Booker T. Washington School is a multi-use facility providing arts education through Jonesborough's Mary B. Martin Program.


Phone: 423.753.0562

103 Franklin Ave.
Jonesborough, TN 37659