How Sensory Toys Foster Development in Early Childhood: A Deep Dive into Homemade Sensory Cubes and Pillows

Kate Chered
5 min readFeb 3, 2024


Sensory toys play a vital role in promoting child development during infancy, providing them with the ideal balance between fun, learning, and developmental benefits. However, among all those, the homemade sensory cubes and pillows stand out for their versatility and the personalized touch they bestow on a child’s exploratory playtime. This article intends to help one understand the psychology behind this form of play as well as reaps the benefits of these sensory toys like cubes and pillows alongside giving a step-by-step guide in making them at home.

What is the Psychological Basis Behind Sensory Play in Early Childhood Development?

Sensory play is founded on Jean Piaget’s theory of cognitive development, which articulates that children perceive and learn from the world through their senses and interaction with their surroundings. Sensory toys include cubes and pillows filled with various textures, sounds, and colours that arouse a kid’s sensory response. This stimulation doesn’t just entertain; it is an essential factor in developing critical neural pathways necessary to a host of skills, from motor skills to problem-solving.

According to the research, sensory play helps sharpen the senses, especially in the developmental stages of early childhood, when the brain’s plasticity is at its maximum. Children learn to process and respond to the vast collection of sensory information, strengthening crafts of study accordingly — cognitive skills, memory, and accomplishing more complex learning duties through tactile experience, visual stimulation, and auditory cues. It requires skill and precise movements to manipulate the elements of a sensory toy. Therefore, this form would be particularly beneficial when developing fine motor skills.

How to Stimulate Development Using Homemade Sensory Cubes and Pillows?

At home, creating a sensory cube or pillow is not just an activity but giving your child a personalized tool for development. The process begins with selecting suitable materials:

  • Fabrics of varied textures
  • Fillers in the form of foam or synthetic fibres
  • Elements resulting in sounds like crinkling paper or bells

These sensory cube cushions or the surfaces of a sensory pillow can be created in such a way as to provide an experience that’s smooth to rough, squishy to firm, sensitive to touch but hard to apply pressure, and many other young explorers’ nearly infinite sensory needs will demand. In addition, zippers, ribbons, buttons, and velcro add complexity while at the same time making everyday tasks part of play to encourage the development of practical life skills. Adding things that will test the child’s young brain in the toy can promote problem-solving and cognition skills, and the sensory toy can develop as the child grows.

Adding a variety of fabrics and textures is an excellent way to enhance these toys. For instance, a sensory pillow might include soft fleece, rough burlap, and smooth satin, chosen for their unique attributes in producing varied sensations. The sensory cube, in turn, might embed the puzzles into sides, have soft pockets to find out the objects, and have segments making different sounds for interaction.

Where do you look for inspiration and materials for your sensory toy project?

Flexibility is beautiful about the project when you are making sensory toys. Inspiration can be everywhere, from a child’s interest to materials you may already have at home. Thinking of craft stores, thrift shops, and even closets can bring about a treasure’s worth of materials that could be repurposed into interactive sensory experiences. The tricky part is locating materials with different textures, colours, and sounds that are soft and durable enough to survive playtime without being destroyed.

The choice of materials should be based on their durability to withstand continuous use and washing and keep them safe for children. Every element must be securely attached to prevent any risks of choking or other injuries. This is especially the case for toys to be used by small children, who may want to explore with a sense of touch or taste since they will often place items in the mouth.

The internet is quite helpful when looking for tutorials and patterns for the sensory toys. This kind of content, with detailed step-by-step instructions, readers will find illuminating the way on a few websites and forums about parenting, early childhood education, as well as DIY crafts, like how to make sensory cube or pillow, in the hopes that any parent from novices to intermediate sewing skills can complete this project without apprehension.

These instructions for DIY sensory toys aren’t your ordinary craft activity; it’s an investment in your delight. The toys provide for learning through play, which is a natural principle deeply rooted in educational theory and practice. Such homemade toys do not only keep most of the time children engaged but also at the same time develop skills in them which will be used by them during their lifetime within different situations.


How can homemade sensory toys be safe for children to use?

For homemade sensory toys, use only durable and non-toxic materials, securely fix all elements so that they cannot be swallowed or choked on, and periodically check the condition of the toy.

What materials are perfect to use in order to make a good sensory cube or pillow?

The best materials for a sensory cube or pillow should include different textures such as fleece, satin, burlap, and elements that make sounds like crinkling paper or bells. Ensure you choose safe, washable, and durable fabrics and fillers.

Where can I find out more about sensory toy designs?

Get inspiration for designs on parenting and early childhood education sites, DIY craft forums, or simply by what your child seems to be taken with — textures they like to feel, objects they like to play with.

How early is too early to introduce kids to sensory toys?

Sensory toys can be introduced right from 2–3 months of age, regulating the complexity and variety of sensory elements with the growth so as to continue offering developmental benefits.

How do sensory toys contribute towards development in a child?

Sensory toys help develop a child’s senses, fine motor skills, cognitive and problem-solving skills, and also aid in developing memory through tactile feedback, visual stimulation, and auditory cues.

How flexible can I get with a homemade sensory toy?

You can be in a position to make a homemade sensory toy with different creative textures, colors, sounds, developmental elements as they seem best geared towards improving specific sensory as well as motor needs that you need them.