I just went through my craft supplies, our pantry, and some toys, and found a bunch of different objects with different textures and feels to include in the sensory tray. I've seen lots of ideas for sensory tubs, but I liked the idea of having each of the different items separated into their own spaces - at least until my toddler started playing with it, and moving them all around. But it started off so he could see what all the different objects were, and I could let him feel them individually and talk about the sensory word for each.
Here are the objects I used (and the "feel word" I associated with them):
torn up bits of construction paper (rough - the edges)
tinsel ribbon (fuzzy)
little tinker-toy like pieces (bumpy)
tulle fabric/netting (rough)
felt scraps (soft)
pipe cleaner pieces (fuzzy and "bendy" - which may or may not be a word...)
glass marble game pieces (smooth)
painters tape (sticky)
gear-shaped toy (bumpy)
I know I used some of the "feel words" more than once... but I was just going with objects I had readily on hand. Some other fun ones to use would be things like beads, buttons, legos, play dough, rice, sand, cotton balls, etc. If you're feeling more adventurous (or more willing to clean up afterward) you could find some things for words like slimy and slippery!
Curious about all these things! Definitely got right into feeling and picking up all the different objects.
Really going to town now with the two handed approach. A bit harder to teach the different feelings, but at this point he was pretty much over that, and just wanted to play with everything.
A few ways we worked on the sensory words - I would let him pick out an object, and then he would hold it in his hand and I would say what it was, and the word to describe it. Then I would rub it on his cheek, or the back of his hand, or even on his little feet, and repeat the sensory word. He's pretty ticklish, so this made it even more fun!
One warning: since many of the objects are rather small, be sure to supervise this activity to avoid any risk of choking.
I'm thinking of trying this out with some of the other senses. Like different tasting foods in each spot - what a fun lunch that could make!