Watching Dylan explore the world around him is one of my favourite things about being a mum. Seeing things through the eyes of a baby makes everything feel much more exciting. Just a walk to the shop around the corner to buy some milk becomes a great big adventure with birds to listen to, cars to watch speeding past and a handful of new people to smile at. Being at home is maybe not quite as interesting as he spends more time here so is more used to it. I’ve got a few sensory play ideas for around the house which Dylan loves so I thought it would be worth sharing them here. These are all very simple ideas and don’t require too much planning, set-up or most importantly clear-up!
We’ve got a piano so the simplest way for us to make music is to sit Dylan on my knee and let him loose at the keys. Bashing the keys and making noise makes him very happy. He also seems to like sitting on the floor with a teething toy and listening to me playing actual tunes. If you’ve not got a piano or another instrument at home, another way to make music together is to get a selection of wooden and plastic spoons and different sized pots and pans. We also put loud music on fairly often for a sing-along or dance which always gets some giggles.
Dylan wants to eat everything just now so as a safe way to paint, I’ve been using bubble wrap, paper, non toxic finger paints and some sellotape. Just place your sheet of paper on some bubble wrap which is more than twice the size of the paper. Then dollop some paint onto the paper and fold the bubble wrap over, taping up all of the edges so that no paint can escape.
Sometime I tape the bubble wrap pouch to Dylan’s high chair tray but other times I just let him play with the pouch. The feel of the bubble wrap is intriguing and he gets to watch the colours all merging together as he plays with the pouch. You need to keep an eye to make sure baby doesn’t bite or rip the bubble wrap pouch. I’ve been using lots more tape than I maybe needed to so haven’t had an incident yet, but I wouldn’t want to risk it.
Once baby has finished playing with the pouch, take the paper out and leave it somewhere to dry. It will likely be very crinkly but that doesn’t mean it just needs to go in the bin. Once we made bookmarks for our family by sticking the paper onto coloured card and using sellotape to “laminate” them. I also added Dylan’s name and age at the bottom. We’ve also used the paintings as part of homemade birthday cards.
Water beads are tiny little beads that you put in a bowl of water until they expand. I bought a packet from Amazon and it’s going to last a long time as you only need half a teaspoon to made a fairly big bowl of beads. The beads feel amazingly soft once they’ve expanded and you just want to keep putting your hand in the bowl. So relaxing!
I wouldn’t give them to Dylan like this as he would most definitely just want to eat them. Instead, I put them into a clear plastic food bag and make sure I tape it up so that the beads can’t escape. He can then feel the beads through the bag and look at the bright colours. If you tape the bag to a window, the colours become even brighter with the sun shining through them.
For reference, Dylan turns 9 months old today but I’ve been doing these three activities since he was around 5 months. Basically since he could sit up by himself. I’m looking forward to adapting these sensory ideas and trying new things as he gets older!