Development refers to the changes that one experiences from birth through adulthood, including cognitive development, motor skills, and social and emotional development. Parents can take steps to ensure their children have a strong start in life. One important step is creating a stimulating environment that allows babies to make sense of their world.
Sensory play is a simple way to keep children entertained and engaged. It's a great way to teach them about their senses, and it's also a fantastic way to help them develop skills such as hand-eye coordination and motor skills.
How to use sensory play to boost a baby's:
Infants are born with very good vision, but it takes time for their eyesight to develop fully. You can encourage this by playing games that involve looking at things from different angles (such as peek-a-boo.). You could also try giving your baby puzzles or toys that encourage them to look at different objects from different angles. For instance, if they have a toy with mirrors on it, then you could place it at eye level and let them look through them.
Your baby will love listening to music or watching you sing songs while they play. You might want to try adding some instruments into the mix by using a shaker or drum.
Children love to be touched and held by parents or carers. They also love things that feel good on their skin. Touching is one of the first ways babies explore the world around them, so parents need to touch their children as much as possible.
Babies especially enjoy sweet tastes like fruit puree or yogurt combined with solid foods such as toast or biscuits. Some babies enjoy being fed by hand, while others prefer being spoon-fed. Experiment with different textures of food and see what your baby likes best.
Here are some examples of sensory play:
- Sensory bins - You can make your own or buy them from shops such as The Works. These are usually filled with different textures for children to explore. Things like rice, sand, beans, and pasta make great sensory bins. You can also use things like sponges, glitter, or cotton wool balls if you want something a bit more colourful.
- Bamboo baby muslin - This is a great way to introduce your child to different textures. The soft material is friendly, while the rough bamboo is not so kind. It's also a great way to encourage your child to explore their environment, as they will be able to feel the different textures on their own body.
Things you can do to boost your baby's sensory development
Introduce your baby to many different smells
The scent is one of the first senses that babies use when exploring their world because it's a key component in helping them identify who they are and where they belong. A familiar scent can create a sense of calm in a baby who feels overwhelmed or frightened by something new or unfamiliar. It can also help soothe pain caused by teething or other medical issues.
Get in touch with touch
Touch is one of the five senses babies use to explore their environment and learn about the world around them. To help your little one begin developing this sense, spend lots of time touching each other. Simple ways to do this include an arm around the shoulder or holding hands while walking down the street. You can also play games like patty cake or peek-a-boo.
Sing, read, and talk aloud to your baby
Reading, singing, and talking aloud should be part of your daily routine with your baby. Babies are born with an instinctive ability to understand language, so all you need to do is speak clearly and often. Start talking to your baby as soon as he or she is born, even before birth.
Talk about what's happening around you, and share stories about family members and friends. Try singing songs from your childhood that have special meaning for you.
Music is one of the best ways to stimulate your baby's auditory sense because it involves all three parts of the ear: the outer ear canal, middle ear, and inner ear (the cochlea). Music also stimulates movement, so it'll keep your baby interested longer than other sensory activities.
You can sing lullabies or play CD songs or recordings online that have different tempos or beats, so he'll hear different pitches and tones at once.
Play hide-and-seek with the baby's toys
Take some of your baby's favourite toys and hide them in different places around the house. Then go on a "seek" adventure with your baby. Ask him to find his favourite toy by crawling or walking around the room. If he doesn't want to get up, you can leave him on the floor while you hide each toy behind a chair or under a blanket.
The first two years of a child's life are the most crucial for sensory development. Thus, it is very important to develop and maintain your baby's sense of touch, taste, sight, and smell. These exercises will benefit both you and your baby, so much so that they should become part of your daily routine.