Baby sensory – what is baby sensory?
Baby sensory encompasses a whole range of activities that can be done at home or in a class which promote baby learning and development right from your baby’s first day.
Did you know that babies learn more in the first year of life than at any other time?
Baby sensory activities use a Baby’s Six Senses
of touch, hearing, seeing, movement, taste & smell to assist their development.
Young babies love feeling the touch of their mum, dad or carer and a great way to do this is by baby massage. Slightly older babies like to explore textures – eg silky, furry and fuzzy fabrics, bumpy & textured surfaces like bubble wrap – the difference between wet and dry – eg splashing bubbles in the bath - and to experience different temperatures – eg lukewarm water, cold ice cubes.
Babies are keenly sensitive to sound – they don’t like sudden, loud noises. Instead, they prefer soft, melodious, soothing sounds. From a very young age, babies enjoy it when you coo to them and will even coo back! They also enjoy soft, rhythmic music & songs.
By six to eight months, babies often have a super sense of rhythm, moving and bouncing on their bottoms as you play or sing a favourite nursery rhyme
or song. They will also enjoy making a variety of sounds with home made musical instruments such as shakers (rice in a plastic bottle?) and drums (banging a wooden spoon on an upturned saucepan?)
With your face about 12 to 18 inches away from your baby, talk lovingly, and he or she will regard you closely, trying to communicate with cooing sounds. Or, place a mirror in front of them and they will “talk” to the other baby. Put babies safely on a warm floor, with a baby gym or interesting toys near their hands, and they'll reach to touch and grasp each one.
As babies get older, they also love exploring light & darkness and colour – for example matching coloured stacking cups, playing with toys that light up
Babies respond to being rocked and moved, for example in your arms or in a baby swing at home or in the park. They love the feeling of wind against their skin as they move around, as well as seeing other things move around them – eg lying on a baby rug in the garden, watching & hearing trees & bushes move around in the breeze
Taste & Smell
Babies pop almost anything into their mouths to taste, chew, and teethe on. Once weaned, use feeding times to satisfy their need to experience food textures and tastes – both sweet & savoury – eg the crunchy texture of carrots, the slippery feel of a cooked spaghetti strand, and the stickiness of mashed potatoes.
You can help develop your baby’s natural curiosity in sensory play, eg with play dough
, edible finger paint, coloured spaghetti, squidgy jelly
How to help develop your baby’s sensory skills?
At home, as well as all the ideas already mentioned, you can create a Treasure basket
– a box of objects which look, sound, feel, move, taste & smell differently. As your baby grows, you can alter the content to keep it really interesting. And why not take a look at other sensory play ideas in Messy Play
How to find a Baby Sensory Class?
To find a Baby Sensory class and other baby activities near you, take a look at your local parenting classes page
, Small Steps Magazine
or Local Events Calendar