Sensory play includes any activity that stimulates your baby's senses. The five senses are- touch, smell, sight, sound and taste, but can also include movement, balance and spatial awareness.
At birth a newborns senses aren't fully developed, but as babies interact with the world around them, their senses grow and develop. Every new experience the baby has with each sense develops a specific nerve pathway and connection in the brain.
So you know why sensory play is important, but you don't know where to start?
Don't stress! I'm here to share with you 5 sensory activities for babies under 12 months.
A nice easy one to start off with is the Jellystone Calm Down Bottle.
It comes with everything you need to build your own sensory bottle for your little one; all you need to do is add water! This is a great one for mess free play as it all stays contained in the bottle. Little preparation and no clean up necessary! Another great thing is, you can easily change things up by tipping out the contents and swap it for something new and exciting! Currently we have the limited edition Spring Time bottle with the supplied contents, as well as a pink bottle with the Huckleberry water marbles in it! Arthur loves watching the contents move and spin through the water.
Another simple one is a tub of water combined with Tiriki animals
. This one requires little preparation but can get a bit messy as your little one splashes around. We love our Tiriki animals
for water play as they are all natural rubber and have no holes so no water can get stuck inside and create a breeding ground for mould.
also have bells inside which is great for little ones as they love to hear the dinging sound as they play. This is also a perfect activity for the coming months as summer is near!
Another great sensory tool is Huckleberry Water Marbles.
These tiny colourful beads come in a little bottle and then when added to water grow and become jelly like. They come in gorgeous colour combinations such as rainbow, ocean, kaleidoscope and unicorn gems. Now these little jelly balls may look tasty but are definitely not for ingestion. So for babies I love to put them in a zip lock bag and tape it to the high chair. This way they can explore the water marbles without the risk of digesting them. Perfect activity for when you need bubba to stay put and entertained while you get something done.
Now the next two are quite messy and require a bit of preparation and clean up but are so so fun! They are one of little Arthur's favourites.
The first you need coloured rice, a tray and Qtoys stacking bowls
. Now for this activity I made the coloured rice but you can also buy it to save the time. I poured all the rice into a tray and set out 3 of the Qtoys stacking bowls.
Arthur loved exploring the texture of the rice as well as transferring it from the tray into the bowls and then pouring it out again.
These bowls are amazing, the colours are gorgeous and they can be used for so many different activities such as stacking, colour matching, fine motor development and so much more. They are such a great tool to add to any sensory play.
The next activity is probably the most complicated but the most fun! For this I used the liquid from a can of chickpeas and an electric mixer to beat it up until it became foam. I added a small bit of food colouring as well. I added the foam to a tray and hid our Jellystone Rainbow Stacker
Arthur loved digging his hands through the foam trying to find the pieces of the stacker as well as exploring the different textures of the stacker. We love our stacker as it can be used in so many ways and is super easy to clean when we use it for sensory play as it's silicone. The stacker is so open ended and grows with your child and was so fun in this sensory activity.
Sensory play is so engaging for your little one and can teach them so many things about the world around them. I hope through reading this post you can include more sensory play into the life of your little one, and be inspired to use these toys from Ausby Loves to Play in a new way.
A little bit about the author
Beth is 21 years old and is mum to 10 month old baby Arthur. She holds a Diploma in Early Childhood Education and has a passion for open-ended toys that promote healthy, age appropriate development in little ones. Beth loves creating play experiences, especially sensory experiences, as well as stepping back and allowing Arthur to discover toys and resources in any way he desires. Beth hopes to inspire and educate you on open-ended toys and baby development through these blog posts.