When your child is only a few months old, you might not know what type of activities you should be offering them. How do you keep them entertained? And how do you keep their development on track?
The answer to both is simple: playtime! Sensory play for babies is a great way to keep your infant engaged so mom and dad can complete some chores. Plus, sensory activities help your little one develop crucial skills. While sensory play may sound complicated, it’s not. To help make it even easier, we’re going to share great sensory play activities you can do at home.
The Benefits of Sensory Play for Babies
As the name suggests, sensory play involves activities that engage any of the five senses. These include sight, smell, sound, touch, and taste. By letting your child explore the world in various ways, you’ll help them develop their nerve connections and fine motor skills.
Sensory play also gets your baby comfortable with the world so they can grow into confident toddlers. Experts suggest that this type of play is crucial for cognitive development. So while sensory activities may just seem like fun and games, they are an important part of your baby’s life!
When to Start Sensory Play with Babies
There’s not a set age you should begin specific sensory play activities, since each baby is unique. With that said, you can start basic forms of sensory play when your baby is only one month old! After all, it’s never too early to begin introducing your child to the world around them.
Of course, you’ll want to monitor play and ensure that the activities chosen are safe for your children.
Sensory Play Ideas for Babies
The great thing about sensory play is there are lots of inexpensive DIY options available. So pick a few from the list below and get your baby started with sensory exploration.
To work on your baby’s sense of touch, fill a bin with assorted objects you have around your home. To keep things safe, make sure objects don’t present a choking hazard and are taste-safe. We all know babies love to stick things in their mouths!
As your baby rummages through the bin, they’ll learn all about different textures.
Some items you can fill your bin with include:
- teething toys
- soft stuffed animals
- large blocks
Another option is to create an edible sensory bin for older infants and toddlers. Fill the bin with foods of different textures and flavors such as mashed potatoes, fruit purees, and whipped cream.
Jello Sensory Play
Don’t be afraid of your baby making a mess, because playing with jello is a great sensory activity. The squishy substance is sure fun to play with, no matter how old you are. Plus, the different flavors of jello create various scents that your baby can explore.
One fun activity involves suspending different items in jello. Your baby will have a blast digging through the squishy substance to find their teething ring or even a plastic cup.
If your little one struggles with tummy time, we’ve got a great sensory play activity for you. Sensory bags are an easy way to appeal to your baby’s curiosity no matter what position they’re in. Plus, these bags are easy to make!
To get started, find a sturdy zip-lock plastic bag. Freezer bags work great since they tend to be a bit thicker.
Next, fill the bag with a liquid such as colored water or even hair gel. Utilizing a variety of base materials will provide your baby with more learning opportunities.
Once you’ve filled your bags, it’s time to add in items to make them more interesting. Some options include pipe cleaners, glitter, cotton balls, and dried beans. Don’t be afraid to get creative!
After you’ve finished filling the bags, zip them up. For an extra layer of protection, seal the edges with a layer of duct tape.
Hand the bags over to your baby and watch as they explore the different colors and textures with their hands and eyes. With multiple bags, this DIY idea can keep your little one entertained for hours.
To help your little one get their body moving (and make a mess), let them create a masterpiece with edible paint. This activity is best suited for babies over six months old.
The first step is finding a recipe that utilizes ingredients that are safe for young tummies. Our recommendation? Mix some safe food coloring in with a little yogurt for a paint that’s easy to spread and safe for the stomach.
We recommend using edible paint in an area that’s easy to clean, such as the tub or high chair.
While it might be a while before your infant learns how to swim, that doesn’t mean they won’t enjoy playing with water! To get your little one started exploring the water, fill a shallow tray with just a couple of centimeters of water. Next, add in fun objects like sponges and plastic balls.
As your baby splashes in the water, they’ll learn new textures and feelings. You can even add ice cubes to let them explore different temperatures.
These easy to make toys are a fun way to keep young children occupied and engaged with the world around them.
To get started, fill a plastic water bottle or jar with some water and food coloring. While you can stop here, adding in objects of various shapes and textures will only make things better. Some items to add include glitter, pipe cleaners, and cotton balls.
Make sure the lid is secure for little hands. If you want to reinforce it, you can add a layer of duct tape over top. Once the bottles are ready to go, give them to your baby. Not only will they explore via their eyes, but they will also learn how bottles move as they roll and grab them.
Have Fun with Sensory Play
Now that you know how easy and important sensory play is, it’s time to get started! As your baby grows up, you can alter the activities so they can continue to develop crucial skills.
By Briana.Y for SGBabyReview