Sensory play for babies has so many benefits. It can help support their fine and gross motor skills, help build pathways in the brain, develop language, and help them to understand the world around them. Another great thing about sensory play is that you don’t need to spend a fortune for your baby to get the benefits. Here’s a quick, beginners guide to sensory play for babies.
Sensory play is a way for babies to learn about the world using their senses. Use things that they can touch, and things that are safe for them to put in their mouths. It can be as simple as setting up a water play area or as complex as you want to make it.
Setting up a sensory table can be as simple as using a few plastic containers. There are special sensory tables that you can buy, but all you really need to get started is some containers. If you can, use shallow ones that will make it easier for your baby to reach into them.
When you’re thinking of things to put into your sensory play area, remember that you need things with different textures, different consistencies, different smells and different tastes. Stick with larger items, or edible items for younger babies. As your baby grows, you could start introducing other things.
You can start sensory play by choosing a base. Things like sand, and play dough are good bases, but you may prefer to use them for older toddlers. Younger babies might be better using things like cooked pasta, cooked rice, and water. Let the pasta or rice cool before letting your baby touch it. You can also use food colouring to dye the pasta or rice different colours. Autumnal colours like reds, browns and oranges can work well at this time of year.
You can add any extras you want, as long as you are sure that the items are safe enough that your baby won’t choke on them. For younger babies, you could add different fruits and vegetables. You can let your little one experiment by giving them raw vegetables, cooked vegetables, stewed fruit, and raw fruit. You can even cut the fruits and vegetables into different shapes using small cookie cutters.
For older babies and toddlers, you could use extra items like leaves or dried flowers.
Remember to keep small items away from children and do not leave children unattended whilst using sensory play.