Pinterest is full of DIY sensory games, toys and activities. Most sensory activities and toys for babies consist of many different textures for them to touch. The science behind it is that babies learn to examine, discover, and categorize different sensations in their world. I totally understand the reason why people prefer to make their own activities instead of buying them, but I don’t understand why they spend so much money on activities when there are so many cheap sensory activities for babies and toddlers. Here are a few of my favorite cheap sensory activities:
- Get outside! So many textures, scents, and noises. Put a blanket on the grass and let your baby alternate touching the blanket and the grass. There are tons of different textures at the beach. You have dry sand, wet sand, water, grass, and shells.
- Collect different textures from you house and put them in reach of baby. Different blankets, towels, rugs and carpets are all fun textures for babies. Don’t feel like you need to go buy fancy fabrics to make your own sensory activities, you have tons of fun textures in your house already!
- Incorporate different textures into mealtime by including things that are still baby friendly, but aren’t pureed. There are tons of good baby led weaning ideas on Pinterest such a sliced avocado, whole bananas and teething cookies.
- Make mail time a sensory event by crumbling up your junk mail and letting your kid play with that while you sort the real mail.
- Personally, I hate the colored rice idea because I think it is a waste of food and money. But it is still a cheap way to play with senses. Add some food coloring to rice, mix it up, let dry and then let your baby play with it in different bins. Just because I’m not a fan doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with it.
- Finger paint with food! Give your baby yogurt and other purees and let meal time turn into art time. The smells of the different food will be fun too.
- Finger paint with real paint. I like to do this outside and incorporate other senses.
- Listen to music while you play.
- Bath time is a wonderful sensory experience. The water, wash cloth and toys are all fun sensations. Once the baby is older you can add bubbles, color tablets and more toys to make it a little more exciting.
- Toddlers still like all the other things mentioned, but it’s fun to up the game for them now that they are bigger.
- Play dough. Make your own (tons of ideas on Pinterest) or buy the good old fashioned stuff. Let them use your cookie cutters and other child friendly utensils. Contact paper over butcher paper is a mess free way to protect your table.
- Get in the kitchen with your kiddo. They may not be able to help with everything, but letting them watch and assigning them easy tasks with open up so many senses for them and help their fine motor skills.
- Have an extra keyboard? Let your toddler play with it while you work on the computer. The texture is fun and so are the letters.
- Play hot and cold games. Is the oven warm because you are baking? Let your kid touch the outside and then open the fridge to feel the cold air. Use the words hot and cold to help them understand the different senses. We do this with the car too. Now he touches the car and goes, “hot!” every time we get in the car.
There are tons more ideas out there, but this is a start. Don’t feel like you have to do buy the latest sensory toys or spend your time and money putting together activities for your kids. I’m constantly reminding myself that Einstein didn’t have all the fancy developmental toys and he still turned out to be a genius. You’ll probably find that with a little imagination, your free and easy sensory activities are much more fun than spending money on something else you don’t need to clutter up your home! What are some of your favorite sensory activities for babies and toddlers?