Introduction to Engaging Sensory Trays

Creating Meaningful Activities for Older Adults

What is a Sensory Tray Experience? Watch the video to be inspired!

The Importance of Sensory Tray Experiences

Learning how to create Engaging Sensory Trays will bring your activity program to a whole new level. There are no specific directions for participants to follow, certain skill set needed, or a prior diagnosis of what one can or can not do, so offering sensory trays can be such an easy way to naturally tap into the needs of your resident or client. Sensory Tray experiences are open-ended, lending individuals to relate to the materials in a way that is meaningful and appropriate for them. Experiences are often animated as you never know what emotion, thought, or conversation will surface, triggered by the materials presented. Participants always come out of an engaging sensory tray experience feeling better than when they went in!


This course has been approved for 3 credits from the National Certification Council for Activity Professionals (NCCAP).

This course will take approximately 3 hours to complete. Whether it is for stimulation, creativity, purpose, autonomy, connection or restoration - each experience is different with the participant. We have partnered with the incredibly passionate Nicole Root to provide you with everything you need to introduce these sensory and self expression tray experiences.

Need to get your Professional Development Credits approved by administration? Download the course description to provide them here.

Course Description: The information in this course will guide you down a path to better understand the basics about offering meaningful sensory-stimulating activities to the older adults you care for. It will introduce you to the concept of sensory trays, the benefits, and guide you to creating an action plan to put in place with your residents or clients. You will leave this course feeling inspired to bring something new to your program.

Course Purpose: This course will provide you with basic knowledge about offering Engaging Sensory Trays so you can begin increasing the overall well being of your residents and clients.

Many Activity Professionals, Caregivers, and Therapists are no longer satisfied with just providing those they care for with "something to do". They want their interactions and provided activities to have meaning, relevance, and connection. As a culture we are beginning to now be concerned with supporting emotional well being of the older adults in our lives, so we are developing a desire to move beyond status quo and beginning to think outside the box as to the experiences we bring to our residents and clients on a daily basis. An Introduction to Engaging Sensory Trays supports professionals who are eager to become change makers and begin incorporating meaningful sensory-stimulating experiences into their schedule of activities.

Goals & Objectives:

In addition to the below objectives, you will walk away with a plan to conduct your first sensory tray experience.

  • Broaden your thinking beyond status quo
  • Acquire the knowledge needed to bring new and inspiring activities to your day
  • Understand the philosophy behind offering sensory trays
  • Internalize the benefits of offering sensory tray activities
  • Learn what materials work best for your sensory tray combinations
  • Become familiar with the different levels of sensory tray offerings
  • Gain first hand experience with offering sensory trays to residents/clients

Need to get your Professional Development Credits approved by administration? Download the course description to provide them here.

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Your Instructor

Nicole Root
Nicole Root

Nicole has a passion for creating unique combinations of materials that work well together to help activity professionals/caregivers, and the adults they care for, feel inspired, empowered, and rejuvenated. She has spent recent years facilitating the Tray Play experience in Assisted Living/Memory Care facilities, Health and Rehab Centers, and Adult Care settings in Charlottesville, VA. After each session she is inspired, invigorated, enlightened, and challenged in some way. Nicole is so excited to share this new, thought-provoking and proven experience with you.


"This was extremely helpful in expanding on our sensory bins that we use at our day center. I appreciate all the work that went into creating this presentation/training."

-Katie D.

"My biggest take away is, this is a type of art that I had never considered before that my residents can participate in and get a great deal of satisfaction and enjoyment from. I was surprised at how engaging this turned out to be for my residents and how many areas of programming it (potentially) covers."


Check out Frequently Asked Questions Here!

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