Sensory activities for infants is an exciting way to let your precious one explore and investigate the world around them.
It’s a win-win solution to allowing them to develop their five senses (touch, taste, smell, sound, sight) while enhancing their motor skills.
It’s so cute to watch a baby’s imagination run wild while they are engaging in sensory play. They could be getting messy with spaghetti noodles or making that sour face when trying a ‘lemon’ for the first time.
Can you relate?
Their facial expressions are PRICELESS and they just experienced a sensory play!
We will explore enjoyable sensory activities for infants from birth up to age 1.
There is a lot of information out there on sensory activities for kids but not too many that focus on just sensory activities for babies.
POOF that’s how this post was born. 🙂
My hope is to add value to your research efforts in finding an excellent sensory activity for your precious one.
Let’s dive into 8 sensory play ideas to stimulate your baby’s senses and need for exploration.
Expose your kiddo early on to the joys of finger painting!
Let them get messy WITHOUT the toxicity.
I love this eco friendly paint powder because it’s safe, organic, and made out of vegan friendly veggies (so it’s edible).
This activity is made to inspire creative play and hey, maybe even your kiddo will enjoy getting their veggies too. 🙂
The finger paint comes in a variety of colors; purple, green, yellow, pink, and orange.
Activity Idea: Add 1 teaspoon of powder to 2 teaspoons of water and stir away to get your paint color. You can use a divided dish to separate the paint colors too. Put a large sheet of white or white plastic covering onto your table and let you kiddo go wild painting with their fingers!
Takeaway Tip: You may already have finger paints at home and if you do PERFECTO, get that sensory activity out and have your little one explore touching the slippery squishy paint. 🙂
OR you could always opt to puree different veggies if you were looking for an edible option.
Wiggly Jiggly Jello
A yummy snack your babe may already be enjoying, you can turn their jello time into a silly sensory activity.
Your child will be able to explore their senses of smell, touch, and taste.
You could use a lime or lemon jello for the vibrant smell but any flavor your kiddo adores will do.
When doing this activity, your baby will be improving their fine motor skills by strengthening their arm, hand, and finger muscles while having a BLAST.
First, directions on how make jello from a box:
The instructions will be on the box but I wanted to provide you a general overview of what to expect. 🙂
- Pour the gelatin powder into a mixing bowl (a medium size bowl will do).
- Add 3/4 cups of boiling water to the gelatin mix and stir for 2 minutes until the mixture blends together and dissolves.
- Stir in cold water. To do this, add ice to 1/2 cup of cold water, then pour it into the boiling water (this will make you about 1 1/4 cups).
- Refrigerate for 4 hours until the gelatin firms up and doesn’t stick to your fingers when you touch it.
Activity Idea: After you make the jello, insert a small choke free toy (like a baby bath toy) you have around the house. I’ve used a larger bowl (or clear plastic cups) to put multiple toys into it and pour the already made jello over the toys. Let it sit in the fridge and after it has set, your baby can have a good ol’ time digging, tasting, and touching the wiggly jiggly jello. 🙂
Plus, the toys you choose can educate your little one. You could go for animals, different shapes, or numbers.
Weighted Sensory Stacking Toy
An engaging toy and educational tool all in one, this classic stacking game has been kicked up a notch!
Your child will have a blast feeling the soft weighted rings (which have PVC pellets inside).
Each ring is made out of a different material texture to engage multiple senses. You can teach your child to distinguish the different ring textures as some are smooth, fuzzy, or soft.
The toy encourages hand-eye coordination, color recognition, and problem solving skills.
Activity Ideas: Have your child stack the rings from largest to the smallest OR have them hold a weighted ring (one in each hand) and guess which one’s lighter?
When my son was a baby he couldn’t get enough of the puffy baby books! Psst, neither could I. I had such a fun time reading those to him!
He loved touching and squishing the pages.
This is a GREAT sensory activity to stimulate your child’s sense of touch, sound, and hearing.
You may already have a puffy book lying around your home but if you don’t here’s what I would recommend, The Crinkle Tail Books Set. They will be learning their animals and these budget friendly books are just downright adorable.
What I really like about this book set is it’s super soft, both cover pages crinkle, AND there’s a squeaker.
There are 3 themes (farm, jungle, and rainforest) with cute animal tails that stick out on the sides. The books are washable and non-toxic.
Plus, reading to your babe not only inspires their love for books at an early age but is also an incredible way to grow their vocabulary.
Activity Idea: When you are reading the book, make an animal sound and see if your child can engage with you by pointing to the right animal. According to experts, pointing is a way your little one shows you they see something and they want you to see it too! Pointing is a major developmental milestone which a baby will start doing usually around the 7-month mark.
Weighted Textured Balls
This ball is designed specifically for encouraging motor planning, sensory integration, and sequence.
If you’re searching for a fun touch sensory activity to expose your baby to different sizes, textures, and colors, then the weighted textured balls may be a great option for your kiddo.
What I love about these textured balls is it helps enhance tactile sensory input. The material over each ball has a different cool texture such as raised bumps, inverted bumps. and raised lines. The colors are red, yellow, and blue.
Your baby can have a blast rolling, tossing, poking, or stacking these colorful sensory balls.
Activity Idea: Compare and contrast the different textures on the balls while having your child learn the three main colors of the Color Wheel; red, blue, and yellow.
Takeaway Tip: If your child does occupational therapy, these balls make great tools to use during therapy sessions too.
Bubble play is an engaging sensory activity that will stimulate your babe’s sense of sight.
By watching the slow moving bubbles, it will promote visual tracking AND head turning which is an important early motor function.
Bubbles are a wonderful activity to have bonding time with your precious one and a moment for you to get a little goofy when you blow the bubbles.
Activity Idea: This is a great outdoor activity where you can place a blanket on the grass to encourage tummy time. Do a big inhale (maybe throw in a silly facial expression while you’re at it) and then get those bubbles floating all over the place. Your baby will start to anticipate the bubbles after your big inhales and will be having a BLAST with you.
You may most likely have bubbles at home but if you don’t I would recommend the bubbles below as it’s a non-toxic solution and makes a TON so it will last you awhile.
I like these bubbles in case your kiddo gets some on their hands OR if you have any pets that are in awe with chasing bubbles and trying to bite them. I know my puppy rottweiler LOVES chasing bubbles when my son is blowing them in the yard. It’s hilarious but with a non-toxic solution I’m less of a worrywart.
DIY Container Sounds
You can get really creative here!
Add any type of items into a plastic container to create different sound effects. Some suggestions would be rice, beans, buttons, glitter, pasta, marbles, popcorn, gems, or sand.
Grab a few small plastic tupperware containers and add the items. VOILA it’s that simple.
The smaller containers are an easier option to allow your kiddo to hold or grasp onto it.
I would suggest taping the lids JUST to be on the safe side if you feel like they could pop off. You don’t want a mess OR your babe trying to eat what was in the container (especially if it’s not baby friendly).
This activity will inspire the senses of touch, sound, and sight and encourage gross and fine motor functions.
Activity Idea: You can get a music rhythm going and have your child try to shake their container right along with you. Monkey see monkey do. 🙂
If you are looking for a suggested plastic container that’s safe for your babe, I would look into the ones below. You can use these containers in multiple ways; (1) for this sensory activity (2) or you can use them to store your babe’s food. Plus, the set comes with lid labels so you can turn this into a fun learning activity by teaching your child the word of the item that’s in the container.
Rattles provide amazing sensory stimulation!
From the sounds the rattles make to a baby being able to try to grasp onto the rattle (which usually happens around the 4-month mark), it helps promote early motor skill development in strengthening those muscles in their little fingers and hands.
Activity Idea: You can make this into a fun game by playing a song and shaking your rattle right along to the beat of the music. Try to encourage your baby to grasp onto the rattle and move along to the beat of the music with you.
If you are looking for a great rattle variety, I would suggest this 10 piece set to allow your child to explore their senses and discover new sounds. I’m a fan of these rattles because each one has different grips, shapes, and tasks to help work their fine motor skills.
Plus, the different textures support tactile development of touch, taste, and sound.
Some rattles are a teether too. Your kiddo can enjoy chewing and gnawing away which can help provide relief during their teething stage.
I hope the sensory activities for babies recommended throughout this post helped you out during your research efforts in finding a great sensory activity for your babe.
If there are other activities you would recommend, a review you’d like to share, questions you may have, or anything you’d like to add that I did not cover in this post, please comment below.
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