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What exactly is sensory play? It includes any activity that stimulates baby’s sense of touch, smell, taste, sight, or hearing. The idea is to encourage little ones to use their senses to play, create, investigate and explore. Sensory play can be an early, but important step in the development process. Here are some ideas to encourage your child to start using their senses:

Note: Never leave baby unsupervised when participating in sensory play.

Cornstarch

Mix some cornstarch with a little bit of water in a bowl or baking dish. The mixture will look like a liquid, but turns into a solid when pressure is applied. The changing textures will stimulate baby’s sense of touch. This is a messy one, so throw down some newspaper or an old painting sheet.

Rice Table

Similar to the cornstarch, rice tables are a great way for babies to begin developing their sense of touch. Fill an unused storage container with uncooked rice, and add in some small cups for extra fun. Baby can play with the rice just using their hands, or use the cups to scoop and pour the rice.

Sensory Bottles

Take a used water bottle and fill with small items that are visually interesting to baby. Marbles, glitter, beads, pipe cleaners, and sequins are just a few ideas. Add water and secure the cap with non-toxic glue to make sure there are no spills. Watch baby shake and play as they explore their sense of sight!

Baby Guitar

Use a tissue box or loaf pan and stretch colored rubber bands across so they are tight. Baby will use sight, sound and touch to play with this toy.

Ice Water

Letting baby play with a bowl full of water and ice cubes is an easy way for them to experience temperature safely. They’ll also develop hand eye coordination skills trying to grab the ice cubes.