Many parents struggle with set ‘activities’ to do with their babies especially when at home. With lots of changes to classes and group sessions due to COVID-19, it’s worth getting a few ideas together to stimulate your baby and to help them develop their general awareness and overall coordination.
Baby sensory involves all sorts of elements including; creative play, baby massage, tummy time, movement and the exploration of textures as well as scents and sounds.
When and how to start:
Your baby will start to be aware of its surroundings from birth however it’s usually appropriate to start specific baby sensory activities at around five months. It’s useful to know that a baby’s sense of touch is one of their most developed senses at birth and they’ll be using their mouth almost immediately to explore new objects.
From five months onwards you’ll probably notice your baby is reaching out for objects more – this is an ideal time to introduce new things to them.
A great way to start is to gather a bag or a basket together with a variety of objects for your baby to explore. Some popular objects include:
- Natural sponges
- Wooden comb
- Orange or lemon
- A metal whisk
- Handheld mirror
Songs and sound:
As well as exploring touch with textures and objects, your baby will love listening to different sounds and learning new songs. This is a lovely way to learn to communicate with your baby and they’ll often find it incredibly soothing to hear your voice singing familiar tunes.
You can use a mix of original and traditional songs to help develop your child’s early speech and language skills. You’ll notice that babies often enjoy sensory signing activities from very early on so always be open to using expressive hand gestures, smiles and non verbal encouragement.
Exploring smell and taste:
Your baby’s sensory bag could include little bundles of plants like lavender or herbs like rosemary which you can encourage them to smell and compare.
Once your baby is between 4-6 months you can start to wean them, which is an incredibly exciting journey as they begin to explore different tastes. There are lots of good websites and resources for weaning your baby so you’ll want to find out different options that work for you and your child. Many parents are anxious about this stage due to the risk of choking but it’s important to remain confident and to show your child how fun different tastes can be.
Be relaxed and enjoy the experience
As your baby grows, their sensory and motor development will continue to amaze you at each step. From increased coordination of the larger muscles of the legs and arms, to the delicate movements in the smaller muscles of the hands – each step of the journey is filled with possibility.
Taking a relaxed yet proactive approach in helping your baby to develop their awareness through the five senses is the best way to help them navigate and understand the world around them.