A Guide to Sensory Play Ideas for Babies
Hello world! After around nine months of waiting, your little bundle of joy has arrived. While eat, sleep, repeat is bound to be the general rhythm of those early days, even from the beginning you can introduce sensory play to your baby’s routine. Unsure where to start? Read on to learn about the importance of sensory play and to discover sensory play ideas for babies that you can try at home.
WHAT IS BABY SENSORY PLAY?
Sensory play for babies includes any activity that stimulates their sense of touch, smell, taste, sight, or hearing. Through sensory activities, you can encourage your little one to use their senses to play, be curious, and explore.
WHY IS SENSORY PLAY IMPORTANT?
A baby’s senses start developing while in the womb; before they’re born, they can feel your movements, taste the foods you eat, and tune in to your voice and everyday sounds. Once they’re born and open their eyes for the first time, they’re exposed to even more stimuli. Each new sight, smell, touch, taste, and sound introduces them to the world around them.
Sensory play for babies is an early but important step for baby development and invaluable to support cognitive growth. Through sensory play at home you can teach your baby about so many different things in a fun and gentle way. As they engage in play that stimulates their senses they’ll learn about new textures and sounds, while also developing their memory, listening, problem solving, and motor skills.
SENSORY TOYS FOR BABIES
Wearable rattles for your baby’s wrist and socks are one of the best sensory toys for babies, as they are a great way to stimulate their hearing and encourage them to experiment through shuffling about to make sounds.
A traditional baby-safe rattle is another sensory toy option and will help your baby explore their sense of touch, too. If they’re not old enough to pick up objects yet, gently place your hand around theirs, and move the rattle to the beat of some music.
Babies love to express themselves through sound; playing with a rattle will introduce them to rhythms and patterns.
Another one of the best sensory toys for babies is a play gym as it incorporates lots of sensory activities in one, so you don’t have to worry about having lots of toys on hand in the early days.
Our Woodland Animals Baby Gym has a simple wooden frame that’s easy on the eye and doesn’t take up much floor space. Not only does it look good in your home, but your baby will also enjoy looking up at the fox, bird, and rabbit hung from the centre pole. The wooden characters feature bells and beads to add sound and texture to your baby’s sensory play. Suitable from two months +, your baby can transition from watching the eye-catching shapes float around to using their hands to reach out and explore the tactile shapes.
As your baby lies back and engages with their interactive play gym, keep them comfy with our Portable Quilted Playmat as the base for their sensory play. It's made from 100% cotton to be soft against your baby’s skin.
SENSORY ACTIVITES FOR BABIES
THEMED SENSORY PLAY IDEAS
There are lots of creative baby sensory ideas you can try at home. Themed sensory play, like under the sea, a teddy bear’s picnic, a safari, or a woodland stroll, are a fun activity you’ll both enjoy.
For a woodland theme you could sit or lie your baby on our Woodland Animals playmat and surround them with baby-safe objects to suit the theme. How about a fox or bunny teddy and appropriately sized materials from nature? You could use a feather to lightly tickle their skin and ignite their senses. If your baby shows signs they’re not a fan of this, move on to exploring a different object together. You could also listen to a relevant nursery rhyme or atmospheric music, like woodland sounds, to excite their ears.
A baby’s eyesight is a little fuzzy until they’re around five months old and they can’t perceive colour in the same way as we would. That’s why the contrast of black and white toys and books are great to capture their attention. With a monochrome soft or board book, baby can learn to focus on simple shapes as well explore the feel of the pages as their finger strength develops. Black and white picture books are brilliant for baby sensory at home or even on the go.
Another popular baby sensory idea, that’s suitable starting from two - six weeks, is to create a Munari mobile. Designed to boost your baby’s visual skills, this easy-to-make Montessori mobile comprises of geometric black and white shapes and a glass ball to capture the light. The elements of the mobile are lightweight and easily sway about which make them super appealing for little ones’ eyes to track. Crafty mamas-to-be can follow one of the many tutorials online.
EVERYDAY SENSORY PLAY AT HOME
Don’t forget day-to-day activities like bath time, changing their nappy, tummy time, or cuddles also engage their senses. So, don’t feel you have to have a specific sensory play idea planned for your baby every day; simply cuddling your little one and singing them a song or pulling silly faces is a rich source of stimulation.
Whether you’re reading up before your baby’s arrival, or are new parent looking for fresh ideas for baby sensory at home, we hope our sensory play ideas for babies have inspired you. If you’re looking to meet other parents and discover future playmates for your baby, you may also like to try baby sensory classes in your local area.
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