Creating natural sensory tubes is a fun activity that gives children the opportunity to learn about the seasons and the environment around them whilst also exploring a range of sensory experiences. This activity is really easy to set up with just a few simple resources and an outdoor area.


A ground sheet (or tarpaulin) to sit on (optional)
Sensory tubes

FS2 Sensory tubes

How to make the sensory tubes:

1. Each child is given their own sensory tube that they can put their desired natural object inside. The children can then go and explore the natural area to search for what items they would like to include within their tubes. Things to be considered when picking out items for the tubes could include:

  • What do they want their tube to look like?
  • What different coloured or textured resources could make it more interesting to look at?
  • What size objects can be fitted in the tube?
  • Could water be added within their sensory tube?
  • Which items would float and which would sink?
  • Will the tube make a noise when it is shaken? What items could be added within the tube to make a noise?

outdoor learning

2. Objects can be placed within the tube as they are walking around the natural area (EG woodlands) or collated on the tarpaulin where they could sit down and have help putting them inside the tubes. This gives them the opportunity to talk about why they chose specific objects, why they chose them and what they’re trying to achieve. Twigs, conkers, petals, acorns, and leaves all make great additions to add to the overall colour and texture within the tubes.
3.  As the natural objects are collected within the tubes it provides the children the chance to understand particular seasons. They can think and talk about what they can hear, smell and see and how this could vary within different seasons of the year. Once the objects are added they can analyse their individual tubes as well as compare theirs to others looking at their differences in texture, colour and shape.
4. When the activity is completed the tubes can be emptied, washed and reused for another natural object sensory tube activity or for indoor art and craft activities.


EYFS goals supported with this activity

ELG03: Speaking- Children can express and articulate themselves efficiently and show awareness of listeners’ needs
ELG04: Moving and Handling- Children can show good coordination and movement with both small and large movements
ELG06: Self-Confidence and Measures- They feel confident to speak in a group with familiar people, communicating their ideas and will chose relevant resources for the chosen activity. They also ask when they do or don’t need help.
ELG12: Shape, Space and Measures- Children can use everyday language to talk about weight, capacity, size and position to compared quantities and objects to solve problems.

What fun outdoor learning have you been doing with your children this term? for more ideas visit our outdoor learning page or follow on Pinterest.