Take a walk through the summer! At the end of each school year I ask my students what their favorite activities were that we did throughout the year. I try to recreate these favorites again during the month of June. This year the overwhelming favorite was a sensory walk, so I created this summer sensory path, and it was a hit!

We had done a sensory path for the story, “Going on a Bear Hunt” and it was a lot of fun and a great learning experience for the kids. We also did a sensory walk in the fall and filled with bins with fall themed things.

This summer sensory path is a great addition to a water day or outside play day.

I used this activity during a kindergarten water day. I set up the center and had an endless line of children for over two hours. Kids did the walk over and over again.

I did the activity with close to a hundred children, however, it works wonderfully with small groups or at home with your own children.

Part of the fun comes from each bin feeling different and kids love being barefoot!

summer sensory path shows a pinterest pin.

Summer Sensory Path Materials

The sensory walk is really easy to set up and create. A free printable is available to have on hand when preparing and setting up your path. Subscribe to Play Learn Inspire at the bottom of the page and download right away.

Most of the materials you need for this activity are fairy simple. There are six bins for the summer sensory path, but you can include more, or less. You will need:

summer sensory path shows a printable showing what to put in each bin for a summer walk.
  • 6 Bins (Large or small or an assortment of sizes)
  • Smooth Gems
  • Water Balloons
  • Ice
  • Sponges
  • Wooden Blocks
  • Water
  • Food Coloring

I used two long bins and four regular sized bins. Use whatever size you hand on hand. Each bin will include something different for children to walk through.

I set the bins out on yoga mats, but you can simply place them on the grass or sidewalk. The yoga mats help avoid any slips and they can help make the materials in the bins more visible.

I suggest placing a towel at the end of the path for kids to set their shoes on and dry their feet off on when they are done the walk.

Each of the bins are described below, when you have all of your bins ready, children take off their shoes and socks and start walking through their summer sensory path!

Sensory Bins – Tips

You can run your sensory walk in whatever way works best for you and your group. I’ve suggested a few tips below for what I have found makes the experience the most meaningful.

As children walk through each bin ask them what they feel and see. Does the water feel cold? What color is the water? It’s a great opportunity for communication as children step into each bin. Children likely know what each of the materials in the bins feel like with their hands, but it is a new experience to feel them with their feet.

Encourage children to go slowly and even put both feet into each bin as they walk. This will make the walk longer and encourage children to consider stop and think about what they are feeling.

Avoid adding anything that would make the bins slippery. I typically set the sensory walk up beside a gate or something that the kids can hold onto as they walk. If you are able to hold children’s hands as they walk it can avoid anyone falling.

Summer Sensory Path – Colored Water

In the first bin, add water to fill about halfway and then add food coloring. I created purple water, but you can make the water whatever color you want.

sensory activity for kids shows a bin with a swirl of blue and red food coloring.

This first bin does not include any special materials. This bin is used to keep the rest of the bins clean, and get kids used to the water on their first step. As children step into this bin they rinse their feet off. You can easily change out this bin as needed if it gets dirty.

Summer Sensory Path – Gems

In the next bin, place a collection of smooth gems and then add water. I used blue gems to give it the look of water, but you can use any gems that are smooth to step on.

summer activity for kids shows a bin with blue beads in it.

Children described this bin to feel like they were stepping on stones on the beach. Encourage children to move their toes through the gems and feel what they feel like under their feet and in their toes!

Summer Sensory Path – Water Balloons

This was a favorite! I used a long bin for this sensory section, but you can use any size bin you have. I knew that it would be a popular part of the walk so I decided to use the longer bin. Alternatively, you can always fill two, or three, separate bins with balloons.

Fill a bunch of balloons with water to roughly fill the bin and then add water.

summer sensory path shows a long bin filled with water balloons.

As children walk through they can drag their feet or simply step around the water balloons. My children described it as walking through jellyfish!

Sensory Activity – Ice

This was a fun bin even after the ice had melted and was no longer visible in the bin. It was always a great reaction when kids stepped into the ice cold water. You can keep adding ice as it melts if you do the walk on a hot day.

summer sensory walk shows a bin with ice and water in it.

Outdoor Activity – Sponges

This bin is great for sensory! I glued a few packs of sponges to the bottom of the bin with hot glue. I was somewhat surprised that they stayed glued after they had been walked on for several hours, but none of them even started to come off.

outdoor activities for kids shows a long bin with sponges glued to the bottom.

Glue the sponges to the bottom of the bin and then add a bit of water. Children step out of the ice water and onto the sponges. They enjoyed feeling some of the water squish out of the sponges and explained that the water felt warm (after the ice water) and the sponges were nice and soft on their feet.

Sensory Activity for Kids – Floating Cubes

Many children found the final bin fascinating. At first some kids were hesitant to step onto the blocks but once they did, and they stepped through the blocks into water, they said that it felt really interesting.

summer sensory walk shows a bin with colorful wooden cubes.

Some children described it as feeling like they were stepping into a cup with ice in it. This bin also leads to lots of great discussions about things that float versus sink. Although the cubes would hurt to step onto, since they stay at the top kids feet simply pass through.

Make sure to add enough water to separate the cubes from the bottom.

summer outdoor activity shows a bin with water and wooden cubes floating on top.

Many children took time to look at the bin from the side after they stepped into it and some watched as other children stepped into the bin to watch what happens. There was lots of learning and experimenting happening!

outdoor summer activity shows a child stepping into a bin filled with water and wooden cubes.

Summer Sensory Path Set Up

The order of the bins worked really well for my group, but you can put the bins in any order. With some sensory paths you want to set it up in a specific order so that bin ingredients don’t mix, but since all of the bins include water, you can choose the order.

I do suggest the plain water to start in order to wash off any grass or dirt from kids feet before they get further into the walk. If you have other ideas you can add several more bins!

summer sensory path shows a row of bins with different summery items like water balloons, ice etc.

This activity is a great chance to get outside. It was a great addition to our water day and offered a structed learning activity that the kids loved! I am always surprised by how popular these types of sensory walks are, but many kids will do the walk dozens of times!

outdoor learning activity shows children walking through bins with water balloons.

Another option is to set the bins up in a circle to form a continuous loop!

summer activity shows a child walking through water balloons.

When I set up the summer sensory path at home for my own kids and family we set it out and everyone played for awhile and came back to it throughout the day to walk through again.

I hope if you try it at your school, or at home, that it is as popular as it was with all of my kids!

summer sensory path shows children walking through bins filled with sponges and water balloons.

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Comments

3 responses to “Summer Sensory Path for Kids”

  1. […] For another popular sensory walk, check out a Summer Sensory Path that kids will love! […]

  2. […] you walk through fall, continue with the sensory learning for kids with this a “Summer Sensory Path” and “Going on a Bear Hunt“. These activities are perfect for classroom or at […]

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