Easy Baby Sensory Activities

As a SAHM (or any parent at all) it's hard to find things to fill your day with your baby and even harder to find activities that are stimulating or enriching. I decided to try my hand at some sensory activities (video here) appropriate for a baby in Sloane's age range (6-12 months) to get away from the same old toys and books. Here are a few easy sensory activities that we came up with, most that you can do with things you already have at home; she loved them all and it was fun to watch her explore something new!

1. Yogurt Finger Painting

Sloane tried her hand (literally) at finger painting and had fun making a contained mess. This occupied her for a solid twenty minutes before we had to get cleaned up for her nap, so it might have held her attention even longer! 

It was really easy to do: I started with a clean bath tub. I knew she would end up eating a lot of what she was coloring with, so I wanted to have a clean space to eat off of. I got a sponge and non-toxic dish soap (I'm a big fan of 9 Elements) and scrubbed the tub. I then used the plain, full-fat Greek yogurt that we have for meals and mixed this with some blueberries soaked in a little water, smashing the blueberries flat as I mixed them. This became our "paint" by dying the yogurt purple. I kept in the blueberries, which worked out well - not only did she eat them, but she liked pushing them around in the yogurt itself. You could also use blackberries or raspberries for color as long as you smashed them! It would be easier to be naked or just in a diaper, but I wanted a picture so she wore a swimsuit top. When it was time to be done, I turned on the water and washed away the yogurt on the tub and on her! We dried off and got ready for bed. My only other advice would be to let the yogurt get room temperature beforehand; it took a few minutes for her to not be upset about the cold! Overall, an easy and fun activity.

2. Kidney Bean Sensory Bag

Another easy to do sensory activity; I had all of the materials for these without having to get anything from the store. I simply filled a gallon plastic bag with water and dry kidney beans (you could use beans, peas, or really anything that would hold its shape in water) and duct taped this to the floor. Then I let Sloane explore! She pushed the beans around with her hands, hit and slapped the bag, and watched as I moved them around myself. She was definitely engaged in watching and touching, but this did not keep her attention for as long as the finger painting. In the future, I might try having several bags with different textures, colors, and sizes all lined up so when she got tired of one, she could move on to the next!

3. Spaghetti Play

When we had pasta a few weeks ago and Sloane was more interested in playing with the noodles than eating them, I had the idea to turn this into a sensory activity! I simply cooked some spaghetti and a few lasagna noodles and tossed them in the slightest bit of olive oil to make sure they didn't just stick together. I also left some noodles uncooked for her to feel the textures. I placed Sloane on towel and let her explore. She smeared, squeezed, tossed, and ate the different kinds of noodles. Next time, I would add even more shapes and textures and not use a white towel (didn't really think about the olive oil stains). This kept her occupied for about 10-15 minutes before she started crawling away; so keep that in mind and be prepared to find noodles stuck to them the whole rest of the day.

4. Sticky Note Grab

Another very simple activity based on behavior Sloane already exhibited; I set up sticky notes of different sizes and colors on the wall and let Sloane pull them down. When she got them all, we clapped, and I stuck them back up and did it again (if she didn't crinkle the paper too much).  I did have to stop her from putting some of these in her mouth.....but it was several minutes of fun for her and worked on some fine motor skills! She let me stick up the notes a few times before she got tired of playing. 

You could do this with pretty much anything that sticks; painters tape, gift wrap bows, and more. Varying heights and orientations kept her thinking about how to complete the task. She had fun playing and it was cool to see her little brain work out how to get the next one.

5. Cotton Ball Basketball

This is the only activity that I couldn't do the day of; once I thought of it, I needed to save up some cardboard tubes (from empty toilet paper and paper towel rolls). It didn't take long, though, and it was easy after that. I taped the various tubes to the wall and gathered a few cotton swabs. I then set Sloane on the ground and had her watch me put the cotton swab in the tube, see it drop, pick it up, and do it again. I wasn't sure if she would understand the concept at 10 months, but I was shocked to see her little brain comprehend what to do and copy me! It took several times of her watching and me prompting to get there, but she eventually understood. It was not only a cool sensory activity, but one that felt educational. Again, I had to stop her from eating the cotton swabs and pulling down the tubes, but I think as she gets older this would hold her attention even longer!

For older babies, here are some more activity ideas we have tried:

We hope you enjoyed these easy activities - leave us a comment about how they worked for you, what you might have changed, and other ideas you may have! 

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