Sensory play activities can be used as soon as a baby is born. Even in the womb babies are able to hear and react to sounds, and can even taste food. Developing the senses during a child’s first year is important for helping their learning, but also for creating a bond between parent and child.
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Shake, bang, stack and stroke toys to encourage babies to explore in different ways. Congratulating and praising baby when they investigate objects is a great way to build self-confidence.
- Coloured fabrics
- Soft toys
- Coloured balls
- Light-up toys
About the activity
Set out a selection of toys of different colours and textures on a soft mat or blanket.
Place baby onto the mat among the toys and allow them to move between the different items that take their interest. For younger babies, encourage them to roll over towards objects that fascinate them by showing them their favoured toy and expressing happiness and excitement.
Point out the different toys and repeat what they are, their shape and colours. If you have light up toys or soft coloured lighting, point these out to baby and allow them to quietly watch.
Encourage babies to touch and hold the different items. Concentrating on touch, drape the different fabrics near to the baby, even passing them gently over baby’s hands or face so they can feel the textures.
Concentrate on sound and listening, knocking toys together and encouraging your baby to do so too, if they are able. Try to make different sounds, by tapping toys of different weights and density together. Scrunch up strips of different sized foil at different speeds, to create different types of noises.