The first two years of a baby’s life is an important time for their sensory and motor development. Babies begin to experience and understand the world through sight, touch, taste, smell, and hearing. Once your baby is able to grab and hold things, they will love to explore a ‘sensory box’. This simple and educational activity will help your baby learn about the feel of different textures, support colour recognition and assist with hand/eye coordination.
Here’s how to make your own sensory box for your baby.
Firstly, collect lots of interesting household objects and things from nature with different textures, such as bits of fabric, pine cones, leaves, kitchen sponges, hair rollers and feathers. (Make sure the objects are large enough not to be swallowed and free from sharp edges or anything that might be harmful when touched or mouthed by your baby).
Once you have around six differently textured objects, place them in a container such as an empty tissue box or ice cream container.
Give the box to your baby and watch them express surprise and delight as they pull out and examine the bits of different coloured and textured objects.
As your baby explores an object from the sensory box, describe it to them and talk about its features, for example, “What did you find? A pine cone! Look, it is brown and spiky.”
Remember to limit the number of objects in your sensory box, and change them every now and then to keep baby interested. Some items may not interest your baby one week but may be fascinating when introduced at a later time!
Older toddlers will enjoy the sensory box, too – just keep introducing new objects. You can also get them to close their eyes as they pick objects out of the box and to try and guess what they might be.