Help your little one grow with easy sensory activities you can set up at home! Before we dive in, it’s important to ask: why is sensory play important? Babies are naturally curious about their environment, and early childhood is a time for great growth potential. Sensory activities for infants are important because they are designed to stimulate their five senses—sight, hearing, touch, taste, smell. Through these exercises, babies will also build their hand-eye coordination and motor skills. Above all, sensory play helps little ones develop socially and emotionally. A sensory table or engaging bath time can have a calming effect on infants. Not to mention, these activities help parents and caregivers bond with their baby too! From tummy time to storytime and beyond, these easy and enjoyable activities will not only stimulate your little one’s senses but also contribute to their overall growth and development. Let the fun begin!
Tummy Time Fun
Turn tummy time into a sensory adventure! First, you’ll need to create different sensory bags. Fill a large clear bag with clear hair gel, a little food coloring, and glitter. Squish the bag to mix together. Next, add decorative items to the bag. Here are some fun seasonal ideas:
- Valentine’s sensory bag: Fill your baby’s world with love! Inside a bag, just add red food coloring, pink glitter, and plastic mini hearts.
- Easter sensory bag: Celebrate Easter with your little bunny! Create a bag filled with yellow food coloring, pink glitter, orange plastic carrots and mini bunnies.
- Fall sensory bag: Create multiple bags – one with mini plastic pumpkins, one with colorful faux leaves, and one with acorns.
- Winter bag: Make it a winter wonderland inside! Add blue food coloring, white glitter, pom poms, and white plastic snowflakes.
When your bag is filled, seal it and tape it up so nothing leaks. Finally, tape the bag to the floor. While baby is on their tummy, help guide their hand over the bag to explore the different textures and watch the colors swirl around. Sensory activities like this one are a fun way to have squishy playtime for every season that’s mess free!
Sensory Activities and Name Books
Storytime is a delightful and essential activity that fosters a baby’s early learning and development. The more books you read aloud, the more words baby will hear. By hearing a variety of words and sentences every day, they’ll have an easier time learning how to talk and build their vocabulary. And don’t forget, reading is a calming activity! Instead of screentime, consider scheduling storytime so baby can hear your soothing voice.
If you’re looking to take storytime to the next level, consider personalized children’s books that feature baby’s name in the story! A book like Goodnight Little Me is a lyrical lyllaby with baby’s name in the story and illustrations—perfect for your bedtime routine. Want to shower your little one with love and giggles every day? Reasons Why I Love You can be personalized with your own “reasons why” to show a child how much they are loved by family. See your baby’s face light up at the sound of their name, creating a sense of self-awareness. As they grow, these books will lay the foundation for a lifetime love of learning and reading!
Sensory Bin Ideas
When it comes to sensory activities, this idea is perhaps the easiest to set up with endless options! Sensory bins have the same essential elements: a container full of items with different textures, shapes, and colors that babies can play with.
Here are some ideas to set up your own bin at home:
- Jumping Sensory Bin: Place your baby in their jumper seat. Next, fill a plastic bin with a sensory item such as smooth rocks and water, whipped cream, or rice. Finally, place the bin under baby’s feet so their feet touch the material as they bounce. This is a great way to introduce baby to different textures and to de-sensitive their feet.
- Water Bin: Fill a bin with water and baby-friendly bath toys. Your little one can enjoy tummy time while they interact with the water and the toys inside the shallow bin.
- Pasta Bin: Fill a bin with large or jumbo-sized shells. Little hands will love exploring the rigid textures. For this activity, we recommend supervision in case any of the shells break. Want to make it extra fun? Dye the shells different colors for an eye-catching display.
As your child gets old enough to sit up or stand, you can take these same ideas and create a sensory table!
Baby Ball Pit
Once your child is old enough to sit up, usually around 6 months, you can start introducing more sensory activities like a foam ball pit! As those tiny hands grab and squish the soft balls, and those curious eyes light up with excitement, they’re not just playing; they’re engaging in a sensory adventure. The varied textures and bright colors stimulate their developing senses, fostering cognitive and motor skills. Plus, let’s be honest, who can resist the joyous giggles that erupt when sweep their hands through the soft pillowy pile?
Sensory Activities Box
Transform playtime into a playground for your tiny tot’s imagination! For this activity, you’ll use a large cardboard box as the foundation.
- Put a large, tall cardboard box on the floor, upside down.
- Cut the front and back panels off.
- Tape string lights to the ceiling of the box. Make sure cords are not accessible or reachable for baby.
- Tape fabric strips and tulle from the ceiling of the box.
- Place baby underneath the box to view the lights and play with the streamers.
To further enhance the experience, play soft music and keep the lights in the room dimmed. This DIY sensory box idea offers a safe and enriching environment for babies to explore.
Sensory Play at Bath Time
Bath time can be more than just a routine – it’s a perfect playground for sensory activities that turn the tub into a mini adventure! While your baby splashes around, rubber duckies and floating toys add a touch of whimsy. Throw in some textured sponges or bath mitts to create a tactile wonderland for little fingers. The splish-splash of water and the gentle trickle from a pouring cup contribute to the auditory excitement. It’s like a symphony of fun! And the best part of all? You’ll create precious memories with your little one.