This week is Infant Mental Health Awareness week so we are thinking of activities for our very youngest participants. We often do sensory trays at our sessions with a themed messy mixture in them like coloured rice or jelly volcanos. These are great fun but a simple sensory basket is also a nice way to help babies explore their world and all the interesting textures and colours. They are good for motor skills development as they encourage babies to reach out and try to grab things and they are good for language development and empathy if you can talk about the objects and what they feel like with your little one.
They are also really simple to throw together and can be ever changing. Look round the house for a variety of interestingly textured items and then put these into a basket or box, or just straight onto a high chair table or a floor mat and let your baby explore the different feelings. You don’t need too many as you don’t want it to be overwhelming. Anything big enough that they can’t swallow it which is safe for them to explore is good. They don’t have to be fancy objects; everything is interesting to them because it’s all new. Look how interesting this cauliflower is!
You can mix it up by grouping things together. Here are some ideas
- different fruits and vegetables,
- different textures like a spiky hairbrush, a fluffy feather, a shiny spoon and a rough stone
- a basket of all the same colour, or different baskets for each colour for some colour sorting
- kitchen things like a colander and a wooden spoon
- natural things like a shell, a stone, a bit of branch and some leaves (making sure they’re safe if they get put in babies mouth)
- things which make good noises like rustling paper, a bell and a shaker.