There's more to sensory stimulation than beads in a water bottle and bubble making. Though those are both pretty awesome, we've been there, done that! Take your at-home Baby Play Time to the next level with household stuff like rice and blocks. You probably already have everything you need to get these easy, fun projects going and engage your little one with all five senses.
We love these at-home sensory play tools! Get those tiny fingers, toes, nose, tongue, eyes and ears ready for the all time play time count down.
Rice. It makes a neat swishy sound. It has great texture. It bounces and splatters when it colides with hard objects. It's edible (and safer than sand for the tongue). Try uncooked rice in different types of bowls or tupperware (plastic, glass, foil, and more). Your child will hear different sounds swirling it around, and feel different resistance and textures when they poke through to the bottom. Place or hide wooden toys or blocks in the rice for added fun, or introduce a safe, natural dye to the rice for color mixing!
Yogurt. There's something to be said about yogurt as a healthy and nutritious snack of course, but let's reinvent this treat as a play time tool! I have proof that it works (ok, so there may be a baby photo of myself covered in the stuff). Yogurt is cold and can be died with a baby-safe food coloring too (try beet, carrot, or spinach juice) and made into finger paints!
Homemade Doughs. There are a million recipes for homemade, edible and all-natural playgoughs out there, but Lemon Lime Adventures came up with this soft and shimmery, light and flaky, snow-dough! Their “cloud dough” is baby-safe and super sensory, made with just two ingredients (whole grain rice cereal and coconut oil). We think this would be super fun for the older kids at home, too, so a project the whole family can enjoy.
Water Bottles. Fill them with beads, colored pasta, pom poms, rubber bands, food coloring, glitter, confetti- you name it. The idea is to create shimmey, shiny, colorful shakers. Some can be filled with water to the top for slow tumbling as you turn it, some filled with some water for splashing, and some without water at all for shaking and noise making! Just make sure the plastic top is safe and secure and play time is supervised- baby WILL be exploring with this bottle in the mouth.
Ziplock Baggies. Those gallon sized plastic baggies have endless potential, but our favorite is as seen on Plain Vanilla Mom. Sensory play in a bag! Fill with hair gel and anything from hair clips to silly bands and beads, small toys or glitter, then duck tape the edges for a safe and sealed moveable squish bag. Double bag it to be safe, if you like! Different textures and thicknesses are fun- and of course, lots of colors. For first time play, it can be fun to add ice cubes or warm water for temperature differences (DON'T reheat or melt the plastic).
Pasta. Cooked spaghetti is best. Add natural dyes, and voila! Squishy, slimy, wiggly, edible creations!
Fireflies. Ok ok, we know you don't have fireflies in the house, but I bet you have a mason jar and holiday or twinkle lights somewhere! Battery powered ones can be stored in any glass container for a personal light show for baby. Add colored filters like tissue (to the outside of the jar) or paint the glass for added effects! There are also color changing lights you can buy in-store that can be turned on and dropped into water (light cubes), which open up all sorts of possibilities with a sensory light jar. Of course, safety checking this toy and a time limit with supervision is key to a healthy and fun play time.
DIY Sensory Play Board. I've been seeing these all around the internet- "Pinterest for babies!" Take an old frame or piece of corkboard and secure all sorts of knobs, ribbons, buttons, chimes, and things to twist and turn to it. Your child will have lots to see, touch, and hear (and probably taste and smell, too!). You can just search "sensory play boards," but Laughing Kids Learn has a great suggestions.
Hours of entertainment! Happy playing!
Have some more awesome suggestions? Leave them in the comments, or share to our Facebook page!
By Samantha, Store Manager
Thanks to Red Tricycle for the inspiration!