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  • Writer's pictureVicki Manning

Exploring senses with flower play

You know the phrase 'when life gives you lemons, make lemonade'... well today in our house it was 'when your son knocks over a vase of flowers, make sensory play!'

Pink and yellow flower sensory bin for toddlers and preschoolers

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Mr 10 was a bit too enthusiastic playing with Mr 2. They were rolling around in their pyjamas on the floor and in one of those slow motion moments, Mr 10 accidentally knocked my vase of flowers on the floor.

After a few choice words and a mop up, I saw that most of the stems had broken. Once I'd rescued what I could, I thought - why waste all those beautiful flowers? So I put together a little sensory bin for my youngest to play with.

This is what I love about sensory bins - you can just use whatever you have to hand!

This was a great opportunity to experiment and explore our senses using the flowers.

flower sensory play for kids

I put the flowers in a tray along with toast tongs, a magnifying glass and a mortar & pestle. There was already a lovely scent coming from the tray and it made Mr 6 curious.

flower sensory play for kids

He got stuck in straight away and had a good sniff. He compared the smell of the different types of flowers, said they were 'fruity and flowery' and the gave them to me.

He then took the mortar & pestle and put some flowers in to grind. He had very specific ideas about how much of each flower he wanted, and used the tongs to carefully transfer them to his bowl, counting them as he went along.

He had lots of fun pulling the petals off the larger flowers and tearing the rose petals into pieces 'so that the smell would come out'.

Mr 2 also enjoyed the bin. He spent a lot of time grabbing and dropping the petals from a height, exploring gravity and enjoying the textures.

He practiced using the tongs - a great way for him to hone his fine motor skills. I love these toast tongs as they're really big so easy for little hands to grab.

He wanted his own little bowl to mix flowers like his big brother, so I grabbed a plastic one from the kitchen. Normally I would let the boys share everything in the tray, but the mortar and pestle are heavy stone and he has a tendency to chuck things around 😂

This was also great opportunity to learn about the structure of flowers. We used the magnifying glass to explore the parts of the flowers up close and Mr 6 talked about where the seeds would come from. Mummy grabbed her flower book so we could see what some of the parts were called.

This was such a simple sensory bin to setup but the boys got a surprising amount out of it!

  • How the flowers smell (olfaction) and the changes when they were crushed / mixed

  • Fine motor skills through handling of pestle / tongs

  • Descriptive language, such as colours, shapes and textures

  • Understanding gravity by the way the petals fell

  • Learning about the parts of a flower

When we were done playing it was so easy to tidy up - we popped all the petals in our compost bin!

Have you tried flower play? I'd love to know how you got on!

More ideas

Playdough - the ultimate guide


Hi, I'm Vicki!

I'm an author and mum to three energetic boys who love learning in a playful and creative way! For more playful learning, creative inspiration and crafts, visit us at:



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