Playing with your baby is important. It’s vital for an infant’s social, emotional, physical, and cognitive development. It’s also the way that babies learn about how their body works. Sensory baby play aids in the development of an infant’s 5 senses. How you play with your baby can help them reach milestones faster. Sensory baby play can even help improve fine motor skills and critical thinking.
Exploration is at the heart of all sensory baby play. As you may already know, babies want to explore and touch everything. This is one of the main reasons that most babies, once mobile, are in to everything. Exploring with sensory toys helps your baby solve problems. What does this feel like when I touch it? Does this make noise if I squeeze it? What will happen if I crawl over there to get that toy? What will happen if I pull up over here next to this toy?
However, sensory play for baby doesn’t always require the use of store bought toys. It’s easy to implement sensory baby play into your day to day activities.
Please Play with your Food
It’s said that play is the work of babies. If that’s true, then clean up after baby play is the work of their parents. Sensory baby play may include many experiments, such as, throwing a bowl of food from their highchair just to see what will happen. It might mean they grab their biscuit and squish it between their fingers or they turn their sippy cup upside down and watch the juice trickle down onto their plate.
As parents, we might want to discourage such behaviors, but these behaviors are the necessary work of being a baby. What better way to explore the five sense than with food? Food s colorful and fun to look at, it smells good, it tastes good, and it makes sounds and feels cool when you squish it.
As infants grow into toddlers, their play goes from sensory exploration to imaginative play. In this form of play, often called pretend play, they begin to create their own play scenarios and ideas.
Is your Baby Hitting Milestones?
So what kind of play is best for your child? That depends on their developmental stage. If your baby is about 3 months old and learning to grab for things then offering a large soft object is the best. However if your baby is 12 months and starting to learn some cause and effect, relationships then play a simple version of hide and seek or other easy, interactive activities.
All babies hit milestones at their own pace.
Social play is also important for your baby this kind of play can be as simple as playing peek a boo. Any kind of game that makes your baby smile or laugh is great for social development. Don’t forget to have,plenty of tummy time with your baby as this will also help to develop their neck and back muscles.
Once your baby begins to grow and starts seeking out her favorite toys, she’s hit a new stage – object play. This stage can be loud as they like to smack toys together or bang pots and pans together to make as much noise as possible. This stage is also a time for more experimenting because your baby is working on learning out what different objects can do. You can learn more about baby play and when infant milestones should be met at Baby Center.
5 Ways to Introduce Sensory Play to your Baby
When babies use their senses to learn how things work it’s easier for them to retain information. Just like when children are older and they learn by doing, rather than by reading about it in a book, hand on play aids babies and toddlers in learning important skills necessary for hitting those milestones. Unstructured play that allows children to investigate helps with problem solving.
- It’s easy to add sensory play to your daily routines. When you’re in the kitchen preparing dinner give your toddler some pots, pans, and wooden spoons. Let them explore how the pans sound, how they look, how they feel, and even how they taste!
- Babies can experience chores right alongside you. Doing the laundry? Let them sit in the basket of warm, freshly dried clothes.Toss a t-shirt over their head. Show them how to sniff for the clean smell of laundry detergent. Sort the clothes into piles of the same color. If you allow your baby to be a part of the chore experience, they’ll be more likely to help when they’re older.
- A fun way to let your baby experience sensory play is to fill a plastic bin with a drop of food coloring in water and add toy dishes. Sit them in their high chair next to the sink while you do the dinner dishes. Sensory play doesn’t have to be all about chores, you can throw in toy boats or ocean toys too. However, when you let your child mimic what you’re doing, it helps them to feel apart of the action.
- Finger painting is an excellent way for babies to experience sensory play. Edible finger paint gives you the peace of mind that they don’t inject any toxins. Strap them into the high chair and let them paint while you sweep the floor.
- Of course, there’s no better time to add some sensory play than when giving your little one a bath. The bathtub is the perfect place for sensory play experiments because it’s an easy way to contain the mess. Growing a Jeweled Rose is the place to go for sensory play ideas for the bathtub. We especially like her ideas on glow in the dark bathtub sensory play.
Sensory play is so very important for all children no matter the age. All forms of play helps with development and learning. Even school age children are learning social skills on the playground. So, encourage your children to explore the world around them, ask questions, make noise, and have fun.