Are you looking for easy ways to engage your little one? Do you want help developing their senses in a safe and fun way? Sensory activities for babies are an excellent way to do JUST that.
Through creative play, you can enhance your baby’s five senses; touch, taste, smell, sound, and sight. More importantly, help them to develop the skills necessary to complete complex learning tasks like cognitive thinking, gross motor development, and social interaction.
Before we dive in, I want you to know that some of these activities are therapist-recommended by my friends at NAPA Center. I’ve had the pleasure of collaborating with NAPA over the years through my nonprofit The LENN Foundation (where we help kids with cerebral palsy receive therapies to excel in their development).
Focusing on tools to help your little one develop is KEY, especially early on. AND having preemie twin girls myself who were in the NICU for over 4 months, I understand the importance of early development. The sooner the better! So what better time to start than now?
Let’s dive in!
First, Why Are Sensory Activities For Babies Good?
Believe it or not, babies learn about the objects around them through the exploration of different textures or cause-and-effect relationships. This is WHY sensory activities for babies are good! These types of activities spark a baby’s developing brain and helps to build neural pathways.
Why is this important?
It allows a baby to DEVELOP the skills necessary to complete complex learning tasks like cognitive thinking, gross motor development, and social interaction.
Pretty incredible, right? So with that said, here are 5 AMAZING sensory activities to safely stimulate your sweet pea’s curiosity.
Fat Brain Dipl Baby Toy
This pop-it toy is a fantastic sensory tool to hold a little one’s attention (ahem, adults too)!
The bright-colored silicone bubbles encourage hand movements (to poke or pop the bubbles) and visual stimulation to track with the eyes.
It’s easy to use too. With its clever design, little fingers may grip it effortlessly while simultaneously pressing the dimples for a click-clack reward.
Soft books are wonderful sensory activities for babies for a few reasons:
• To stimulate the senses of touch, sight, and sound
• Inspire a love for books at an early age
• Develop vocabulary
• A great bonding experience for both of you
These 3D books are an excellent way to engage and nurture your baby’s development. It’s safe for your little one to explore with their hands and mouths while allowing them to learn about different textures, hues, and objects.
I personally love these crinkle books for early learning! You get 6 books that expose your sweet pea to numbers, veggies, fruits, vehicles, numbers, animals, and ocean life. They are machine washable and non-toxic too.
Veggie Finger Painting
Finger painting is a WONDERFUL hands-on experience to develop fine motor skills while allowing your babe to explore their creativity and self-expression. It also helps to build finger dexterity which in turn builds strength and coordination. Building these skills will help your kiddo eventually hold onto things like scissors, crayons, and toys.
Here is a messy hands-on activity WITHOUT the toxicity AND it inspires healthy eating too!
This eco-friendly paint powder is safe, organic, and made out of vegan-friendly edible veggies. The goal of this activity is to spark creative play while welcoming oral exploration (should your babe decide to stick their sweet little fingers in their mouth).
This finger paint comes in a variety of colors; purple, green, yellow, pink, and orange.
Weighted Sensory Stacking Ring
This classic stacking game has been kicked up a notch!
I’m a huge fan of this sensory activity because it promotes early learning and grasping skills all in one.
These 9-rings range in various textures, sizes, and weights to strengthen hand-eye coordination. Plus, one of the clear beaded rings mimics a rattle to inspire sight and sound. Overall, the textural variety is GREAT for fine motor and oral exploration.
It’s no surprise this sensory activity is Amazon’s “#1 best-seller” in sorting and stacking toys.
Wiggly Jiggly Animal Jello
Turn a yummy snack into a silly sensory activity! This activity focuses on heightening the senses of smell, touch, and taste.
Jello play encourages tactile exploration and experimentation by encouraging hand movements.
Doing this sensory activity creates little resistance which strengthens the hand muscles, as well as helps to improve fine motor coordination. Then, when you add in the squishy, slippery texture of the jello, it automatically stimulates the hand and finger muscles for manipulation.
For this activity, use any jello flavor your kiddo adores!
For a vibrant smell (to really get those nostrils working), lemon or lime jello works best. Follow the easy instructions on the box to make your jello.
After the jello is made and BEFORE it chills, insert a small choke-free toy in a plastic cup or muffin pan. You may also use a large bowl to put multiple toys into it and pour the already-made jello over the toys. Let it sit in the fridge and after it has set, let your babe get curious digging, tasting, and touching the wiggly jiggly jello.
You may also choose choke-free toys to educate your kiddo like animals, shapes, or numbers. I recommend these adorable animal bath toys to use for bathtime AND this sensory activity.
Questions and Answers
What are the five sensory activities?
Touch, taste, smell, sound, and sight.
What age is best for sensory play?
Earlier the better. A baby is ready for sensory play early on at a few months old. During this age, you can begin to stimulate their senses with daily activities.
What are the benefits of sensory play?
A baby explores their world through play! That’s one of their ‘love’ languages when it comes to enjoyment, learning, and growing as a child. Sensory play helps with all sorts of things like:
• Gross motor development
• Cognitive thinking
• Cause and effect
When you create a sensory environment for your baby to play freely, the more it encourages their curiosity and creativity to explore.
To Wrap It Up
These sensory activities for babies are easy to do at home and don’t require a lot of materials. It’s definitely worth adding to your little one’s “development toolbox”!
Most importantly, these sensory activities may help develop the skills necessary for complex learning tasks like cognitive thinking, gross motor development, and social interaction.
I hope you give some of these a try and if you do, I’d love to hear how it goes. 🙂
Until the next post, I’m sending you all the positive parenting vibes!
What other sensory activities for babies do you recommend? Let me know in the comments below. As parents, we could all use a little help along the way. 🙂
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About The Author
Lindsey is the proud mom of two little miracles, Mono Mono twin girls, and one AMAZING older bro! She is the founder and content creator of Mono Mono Twins, the blog Intensive Therapy for Kids, and Co-Founder of The LENN Foundation 501(c)(3) which helps children with cerebral palsy (like her sweet nephew, Lenny) receive grants for intensive therapies to thrive. ♥
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