Sensory Play – Baby
Touching, looking, listening, moving and exploring with their mouth is how babies learn as they play. Development of senses – sight, hearing, touch, smell, taste, and senses of balance and movement are the foundation for all other learning.
Did you know?
Mirror toys, crinkle bags, furry materials, noisy shakers and rattles are great toys to stimulate your baby’s senses and keep tummy-time fun. Babies need lots of tummy time to build up their head, neck and upper body strength.
Say the words that go with what your baby is experiencing with their senses e.g. wet, cold, warm, smooth, bumpy etc. Draw their attention to sounds, sights and things they can feel around them e.g. Point to a helicopter in the sky and name it, then make the helicopter noise.
Movement is an important sensory experience too! It stimulates your baby’s body systems that control direction, position, balance and coordination. Some simple ideas for doing this with your baby are gently bouncing them on your knee or holding them in the air or cuddling them close while you dance. Slow songs and movement are good for calming and soothing. Faster songs and movements are good for wake up play time.
Going for a walk outside or taking mat time outdoors, provides a natural sensory experience for both you and your baby. You can look and listen for birds and planes, or touch and smell the flowers to engage the senses.
Baby massage is a calming sensory experience that also helps bonding between your baby and you. A short and simple massage after bath or nappy change time can become a special part of your routine.
Watch your baby and tune in to when your baby has had enough. Your baby can get overwhelmed by too much sensory input (sights, smells, sounds, touch, movement). All babies need some regular quiet times of stillness and silence.
Be aware of small or loose items that could be a choking hazard for babies.
Across the ages
All the activities listed on our “Play Ideas” page can be applied across different age groups. See how mark Sensory Play can be fun for toddlers, children and playgroups.
Activities listed under “baby” are suitable for children under 12 months. This age is largely about babies exploring their own bodies and the world around them from the safety of a close relationship with their caregiver.