Babies can do so many things! They are so keen to explore everything and they just love to discover and play. Here are some fantastic sensory activities for babies, particularly once they’re sitting on their own. These activities will be enjoyed through toddler years as well. With all sensory play, supervision is required and all edible sensory activities are not intended to be consumed in full, but rather are safe if infants try a few mouthfuls as they play. Use common sense to ensure that sensory play activities do not present a choking hazard or other dangers to babies and you have a wonderful time watching your little one learn and grow.
8 Fantastic Sensory Activities for Infants and Babies
You can make easy sensory bags for babies to play with by getting heavy duty snaplock bags and filling them with all kinds of different substances. Cooked spaghetti, non-toxic paint, wheat, rice, dried beans, pompoms, cellophane, ping pong balls – anything that is safe really. Be creative and use your imagination. Once you’ve filled the bags, shut them and then use duct tape to seal and reinforce every side to make them stronger.
Collect a range of plastic bottles and jars and fill them with a range of creative materials to make your own sensory toy bottles. You can choose things that look great like an assortment of ribbons, pompoms, colored popsticks or matchsticks, plastic letters or animals, different colored cellophane and more. The sky is the limit. You can also use things that make different sounds – water, sand, stones, beans, bells, bottle caps and more. Once you’re done, make sure you tape up the openings with duct tape. Even if your baby can’t open lids yet, lids may come loose with repeated shaking or use. Babies love these bottles as they can roll them and stand them up, shake them, bang them and explore the different weights and sounds.
Sensory Boxes for Babies
Find a box that is large enough for a baby to crawl or sit inside and turn it on its side. Poke holes in the top and tie ribbons so that they hang down over the opening and make a fun curtain for baby to crawl through or sit and play with. You can also tape all kinds of interesting objects such as plastic bottle tops or pieces of different textured fabric to the sides for babies to touch and feel. You can cut windows in the box for babies to post things through or peek out of. You could cover some windows with colored cellophane for added interest.
Letting babies play with a variety of Tupperware and other child safe containers, as well as objects that will provide interesting ways of interacting with the containers. Cups are great, plastic spoons to bang on them, assorted kitchen utensils, a scrubbing brush, plastic bottle tops, ping pong balls and so on. Children love to put things inside other things and given an interesting assortment of objects, will play for a long time exploring all the different things they can do with the objects provided.
Sensory Water Play
Water play is a fantastic sensory experience for babies. Of course, all water play should be closely supervised. Water play can include bath time, having a container of water to splash with outdoors, creating some puddles outside for babies to sit and splash in or stomp in and anything else involving water. Children love bubbles, pouring and things that float. You can make water play more interesting by adding a variety of containers for children to play with, or adding commercial gears that spin, containers with different sized holes and so on.
Sensory Sand Play
Sand play is also an excellent sensory activity for babies, although children will need to be closely supervised until they are old enough not to eat too much sand! Provide children with a wide range of buckets, implements for digging and pouring as well as water to play with. Allow children plenty of opportunity to explore and play freely, rather than insisting that they build structures – they have plenty of time for that as they grow. It’s more valuable for little ones if you follow their lead and enjoy digging, pouring and all the fun children enjoy in the sand.
Edible Sensory Activities – Spaghetti!!
Playing with cold, cooked spaghetti is a wonderful sensory activity for babies. It’s safe if it goes in their mouth and isn’t a choking hazard – and it feels amazing. It’s probably a good idea to do this outside, but just let babies play with it, pick it up, squish it and explore the sensations. Other edible sensory experiences that are great for little ones include jelly and cooked rice. People sometimes worry that this will teach babies that it’s okay to play with your food but babies do not view these experiences as food and nor do they understand social conventions until they are older. As children grow, they will learn social conventions and their early sensory experiences will not be a problem.
Baby Finger Painting Sensory Activity
Finger painting is a much-loved activity of most babies and young children. Until children are old enough to not eat paint, you will need to find a totally safe version such as Glob Paints. Alternatively, you can find plenty of great recipes on the internet for baby-safe or edible paint recipes on the internet. It’s best to let babies play with paints outside on a tarpaulin with a nappy only. Another place you can play with paint is on the walls of the shower or bath, provided babies are able to sit without slipping. If your baby isn’t ready for paint yet, you can put some paint into a large snaplock bag and tape the opening closed. Babies can move the paint around and squish it through the bag.
So there you have it 8 Fantastic Sensory Activities for Babies that you can do at home.