Exploration starts for babies from the second they are born…try slowy poking your tongue out at your new born baby and watch how they mimic you….
They are born with wonder, intrigument and an eagerness to have their senses tantalised.
So here’s our tried and tested ways to get the smallest members of the family involved in a hands on way right from the beginning….
At a few months i sat Noah in his bumbo chair with a piece of tin foil to explore. (obvious supervision is required so it is not eaten)
Mila & I made a discovery sparkle bottle for baby Noah. We used an old plastic bottle which we filled with sparkly bits, bits of foil, glitter & hazelnuts…we then filled with water & glued the screw cap on.
Baby Noah is now able to sit in an upright bath seat which enables us to start on sensory/discovery water play.. we used old milk cartons that we made holes in as squirty bottles. The smaller the carton then the easier for the baby to handle.
I used a baking tray because it had small sides so it was easily accessible for baby Noah, I attached a piece of double sided sticky tape to the underneath to stop the tray being knocked off his high chair. I then whisked up some bubbles using baby ‘no tears’ shampoo & scooped it into the tray for him to explore.
Mirror sensory play. I gathered up everything I could find that was reflective or shiny, mirrors, spoons, ladles, biscuit tin lids, shiny gift bags, tin foil covered apples & saucepans, I placed Noah’s playmat in front of the shiny dishwasher & let him explore. He loved it.
Initial responses when your baby gets hold of the baby wipes is to quickly take them off of them to avoid mess & wastage…. but this can be a mesmerising activity of discovery for your little one. Let them dig in, you can always push them back in the packet.
Window squidge…I put a few squirts of different coloured paint into a ziplock bag, I then used sticky tape to stick it to the window. I put baby Noah in his baby chair in front of the window so he could squidge the paint around in the bag.
Salt dough hand prints….We mixed together 1 cup of salt, 2 cups of plain flour, 3/4’s of a cup of water & 3 tablespoons of sunflower oil. I rolled out the dough & then firmly pressed baby Noah’s hand into it to form a handprint. I then put it in the airing cupboard on greaseproof paper to air dry…..with supervision I let baby Noah squidge & play with a large chunk of the dough….this was my first attempt at making salt dough x
I used an old plastic food tray, made up some jelly (using about 60ml additional water) & placed a few of Noahs toys in it, i left to set in the fridge overnight. I took it out of the fridge a few hour before play so it was not too cold for him. I put him in his high chair & let him dig in…Mila (3) loved joining in too. You can buy packets of jelly at supermarkets for around 12p.
I used a few table spoons of corn flour mixed together with water until a gloopy consistency was formed. I gave baby Noah (7 months) & Mila some spoons and let them play, mix, touch, feel and explore the gloop. I ran out of corn flour so ended up adding plain flour to the mixture (because thats what i had in the cupboard) this made it quite sticky…. They both ended up in the bath after this messy activity.
I boiled some potato & courgettes until they were soft, I mashed the potato but left the courgettes whole. I placed baby Noah (8 months) on an old sheet, I gave him the bowl with a wooden spoon and let him explore, Mila (4) also loved getting her hands stuck in
‘Frozen balloon sensory’ We filled up balloons with water & then put them in the freezer, once frozen we took them out & placed them in a warm bath for baby Noah to explore, we left some in the balloons and took the balloons off of some to reveal the ice balls.
‘BABY SAFE MOON DOUGH’ I mixed 1/2 a cup of olive oil (you can use sunflower or vegetable oil) with 4 cups of plain flour, it formed a crumbly type dough that could also be moulded, I put it on a tray & let baby Noah get stuck in…it was messy but easily swept up.
‘WATER PAINTING’ Noah, 11 months had great fun but it was also much enjoyed by Mila’ 4. We used a large piece of cardboard and water to paint, we had a large pan of water and thick paintbrushes that we used to ‘paint/wet’ the cardboard, once dried we could start all over again.
This morning whilst Baby Noah (11 months) shouted for his breakfast I gave him a roll of sticky tape, scrunched up in a ball with a few bits torn off & some put on his high chair table and a long bit left hanging off the roll kept it him amused for nearly 15 minutes whilst I had a cup of tea…. Why did I not discover this years ago?
‘Discovery bottles’ we used old bottles which we filled ith different kinds of things for baby Noah to discover. Pasta, Cotton buds, tin foil, pipe cleaners, soapy water & rice. We put a bit of glue in the screw cap so Noah couldn’t take the tops off. He loved playing with them.
SHAVING FOAM PLAY.
The sun came out today so we got the paddling pool out, we used a can of shaving foam to create a messy playtime for baby Noah (11 months) & Mila 4. They had a great time squishing & sliding & mixing shaving foam pies. Supervision is recommended for babies so they don’t eat it although the foul taste soon deterred Noah…
‘FLOWER SENSORY BOTTLE’ We filled an empty bottle with flowers & water to make a colourful bottle for baby Noah, we tightly secured the cap and put a piece of material over the top held on by an elastic band.
FROZEN JELLY & ZIPLOCK BAG SENSORY PLAY.
We made up some jelly and put it in the freezer overnight, when we took it out it was hard but still had quite a soft & squidgy consistency, we also filled ziplock bags with water and a drop of food colouring, Mila liked experimenting by making holes in the bags and watching the water leak out.
MATERIAL DISCOVERY BOX. I used a cardboard box which I cut a hole in the top of & then filled with strips of old material, Noah loves to pull baby wipes from the packet or trash the box of tissues given half the chance so this really kept him amused.
PERSONALISED BOARD BOOK. I printed out some pictures of Noah and used sticky tape to stick them into an old board book. I made sure the tape covered the whole picture so it made it waterproof from dribble clad little fingers… He was intrigued to see photos of himself & his siblings in his book.
Activities don’t always go to plan….After a long restless night on the Calpol Noah found an alternative use for todays activity, I made a simple sensory paddling pool with strips of tin foil & paper fishes for him to explore in the warmth of the lounge, whilst I cracked on with the housework he dragged his blankie in, tossed everything out, snuggled down & went to sleep….
I used a transparent bin liner which I squirted paint into, I then folded the open end and sealed with tape. I placed it on the floor & used sticky tape to stick all the sides to the floor. Noah enjoyed his mess free squishy playmat. You could alternatively tape it to a window for a giant hands on squishy sun catcher.
Spaghetti messy sensory play’ we cooked some spaghetti & then cooled it off in cold water and placed it into a container. We sat baby Noah on some old towels and let him explore the spaghetti, he loved it. (A packet of value spaghetti only cost approx 40p)