Baby sensory ideas you can try at home - From birth - 12 months.

Little ones don’t need extravagant play times set up for them. Absolutely everything is something to explore and wonder at when experiencing it for the first time! From toes in the grass to splashing in the water, babies find out about this brand new world around them using all of their senses, sometimes all at the same time!

Everyday activities such as nappy changing and feeding are great opportunities to develop your baby's sense of touch, smell, hearing, sight and taste. 

Here are 5 top sensory activities for your Newborn:

  1.  Face to face time
    They enjoy looking at open eyes and smiling faces. So take that time to look at your baby, smile at your baby. Make funny faces and noises. Be creative and follow your little one's cues to what they enjoy.
  2. Tummy Time
    This is an important activity for your baby. It helps to build coordination and strengthens your baby’s neck, shoulders, arms and trunk. These muscles help with the motor skills such as rolling over, crawling, pulling self up and sitting up.
  3. Singing to your newborn
    Everything goes here. Whether these include nursery rhymes or songs that you make up on the go. Whether you include them while you are cuddling, walking, changing their diaper or giving them a bath. Singing can be used to soothe, entertain and create that special bond.
  4. Lay on their back
    By laying him down on his back he will have the opportunity to explore his hands and feet. This helps with eye-hand and eye-foot coordination. You can encourage his interest by playing games with his arms and feet.
    For example:playing ‘this little piggy’ and counting his toes.
    For hands, you can sing a finger song such as ‘Tommy Thumb’ and massage each finger as you sing.
  5. Going for a walk outside
    This is a great activity that has many benefits for you and your baby. Both of you will get the much needed Vitamin D. You get exercise. Your baby will get an opportunity to stimulate their other senses by seeing, hearing and feeling the wind on their face.

By the 6th month, your baby will be going through more transitions. Here are a few things that you may see your 6 month old do:
– Sitting: Your baby may be starting to sit up alone. At first, they may be using their hands to prop themselves up. Over time they will start sitting unsupported.
– Rolling: Your baby is probably rolling from their back to their stomach and vice versa.
– Moving about: You may notice that your little one is able to move from one side of the mat to the other by simply rolling over and over.   They may also start to creep forward or backwards.
– Hand development: Your baby will reach for toys and grasp them. They will also bring their hands together and may start separating their fingers. You may also notice your little one watching their hands as they move them around.
– You probably have stared your baby on solid foods.
– Communication: Your baby is now smiling, laughing, and babbling (“ma-ma,” “ba-ba”). Ensure you read to your baby daily to further help with their language development.

Your baby is growing up fast and they are ready to play more and more. Through play, your baby gets to experience different sensations, which help your baby’s development both mentally and physically.
Here are my top 5 sensory activities for the 6th month old:
  1. Peekaboo
    Peekaboo is such a fun game for the baby. The smiles and the giggles keep on coming. They love the surprise of seeing that hidden face pop back up in front of them but also appreciate the predictability of what is going to happen. It is a great game that focuses on an important cognitive development that demonstrates your baby’s ability to understand object permanence.
  2. Water PlayIf it’s summer, outside is a perfect place to play. If however, these are the cooler months playing in a bathtub is just as fun. If you are using a baby pool or a bathtub only fill it up with few inches of water. Depending on how well your baby is sitting up you may want to hold them up or just get in the water with them. Then, let your baby splash around. You will get lots of smiles as they kick around with their legs or splash around with their hands.
  3. Drumming BandA perfect drum can be made from a simple kitchen plastic bowl or an empty container. All you have to do is turn it upside down, grab some wooden spoons and viola!!
    Let your toddler explore the sounds and get more control of their hands as they start banging around on the drums.
  4. Food Play
    I know that the thought of having a baby play with food freaks out many parents. They will get it all over themselves and there will be lots to clean up afterwards. Yes, it’s messy but it is actually really good for them. Getting messy is part of the process of learning to eat. As they play and explore they learn about all the properties of the food. They learn about the texture, the smell if it makes any sounds when it’s squished.
  5. Light Show
    Explore visual senses through glowing lights in the dark. You can play this game in any position. Your baby can be lying down on their tummy or their back. They can also be sitting up.

Every 12 month old is different and has different abilities but here are a few things that you may see your 12 month old do:
– Mobility:
  • Your 12-month-old is able to creep or crawl
  • Is able to sit independently
  • Pulls self up to stand
  • Walks holding on to furniture
  • Can stand alone
  • May have taken their first steps
– Hand skills: Your little one’s hand skills are continually improving. At 12 months your baby should be able to point and/or poke things with their pointer finger. They should be able to use a pincer grasp (thumb and pointer finger) to pick up things. They should be able to put things into a container and then take them out. They will also finger feed themselves and start getting better at using a spoon.
– Communication: Your baby is learning language by imitating you. You may hear a few words like ‘Mama’, “Dada’, ‘no’. To keep increasing their language skills make sure you speak to them continually throughout the day. Describe daily tasks or activities that are happening around them. Make sure you remember to read to your little one daily. They may also be using their pointer finger and use pointing as one of their means of communicating with you.
– Social: Your little one may be testing their limits. You may be hearing ‘no’ on a regular basis. They may be starting to throw tantrums. You may also notice that your 12 month old might be shy or anxious towards certain people.

One year on and so much incredible growth and development has happened. Your once helpless newborn has now transformed into a little person who is mobile and so much more independent.
Here are my top 5 sensory activities for the 6th month old:

  1.  Free play and exploration

    One year olds love to explore. Providing them with opportunities to free play and explore their environment and objects encourages curiosity and also fosters creativity.
    Pots, Pans, wooden spoons, whisks and spatulas are great for this as well as cardboard boxes. They will use their imagination and have hours of fun. (hopefully)
  2. Water Play

    his activity is great for any season. It doesn’t matter if it’s summer or winter. During summer you can play outside. You can play in water parks or fill up a water table, a baby swimming pool or simply a large container with water. In winter your baby can play in sinks or in bathtubs. Your little one will love splashing around and playing with a variety of water toys. Maybe add some bubble bath/soap for extra fun.
  3. Sandbox

    This activity can get messy but it is also easy to clean up. Depending on what you can find in your supermarket you can use any of the following for this activity: dried porridge oats, dried pasta, dried rice and cereals. Place it into a large container with a splash mat underneath it. First, let your little one explore the texture with their hands. Then add some toys or cups and spoons to the mix. They can keep strengthening and developing their hand skills as well as use their imagination to explore.

  4. Painting/Drawing
    This activity can get messy but its great fun for your little one. Its best to place them at a table or in their highchair. Simply cover the area in old newspaper and put your little one in old clothes and they can paint and drawer to their heart's content and the pictures make beautiful memories for parents too.
  5. Blowing bubbles
    Nothing delights a 1 year old more than popping bubbles. Stick to a simple bottle of bubbles, or make plenty, with a small bubble machine


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