Sensory activities are basically activities that focus on the sense of touch to help your child learn & discover. Not only are they lots of fun for both you and your child, but are also a great tool for learning & development. In this interview, we discuss the importance of sensory activities for toddlers and how you can experiment with these.
Mom to baby Miraya, business owner and one of our favourite Instagram bloggers, Vrinda continues to inspires us with her boundless energy and creativity. (Find her on Instagram @vrinda.j)
Read our conversation with her below.
Q. Thanks so much for chatting with us, Vrinda! We usually like to kick things off by asking – What’s the best thing about being a Mom? In what ways has life changed since you became a mother?
Ans. It’s like getting a second childhood! The joy of the little one running to hug you, the implicit trust and love in her eyes and the innocent laughter that bubbles up from every small thing is to die for.
Quite a bit changes - your life decisions are all based on what’s best for your child now. Suddenly you’re responsible for another human whom you can’t negotiate with. Also, your capacity to love increases so much and not just towards the child.
Q. Why is sensory play so important for babies & toddlers? What are some of the ways in which your little one has benefited from regular sensory activities?
Ans. At this age it’s super important to give them maximum exposure to all kinds of activities to help them develop gross and fine motor skills.
Early development of these helps in the long run with a variety of milestones.
Play is something they enjoy and moreover understand from a very young age. So, for kids, sensory activities are like learning through the medium of play.
We started things like ball play, painting with edible liquid dough, putting coins in a piggy bank etc. along with loads of other things from a young age. I strongly feel that it helps with all-round development.
Q. Can you share some examples of different sensory activities that moms can try experimenting with?
Ans. Any and every daily activity can be made into sensory play.
Hiding a toy under a bowl, hiding tiny toys in kinetic sand, putting small Pom Poms through a series of empty toilet rolls, bathroom play with bubbles or coloured water, giving them roti dough instead of clay, making sensory bins - literally everything can be converted into fun play. For younger ones, glittery oil and water with sequins sealed in a plastic bottle is also super fun.
Q. Sensory bins are really popular and are known to encourage creative play and tune motor skills. Do you have any fun and safe ideas for sensory bin activities?
Ans. Sensory bins are just tubs filled with a variety of items together with sand etc. You can do it by occasion, so a Valentine’s bin would have hearts, red confetti, gold sprinkles etc., to stimulate the mind and hands. You can customize it on occasion or put stuff inside from which they can make something too.
Another fun example is to make pasta, add different food colouring and let your child sort it. Freeze blue marbles and add animals that live in the poles - this is a learning through play activity.
The options are endless.
Q. As some sensory activities can be a little time-consuming to put together, can you share any ideas for quick, easy and (relatively) mess-free sensory activities?
Ans. Apart from the ones mentioned above, you could also try making a tub of mixed beads in different shapes, sizes & colours so that they can touch and feel as well as string it.
Kinetic sand with animals hidden inside – this is great for thematically learning about different animal groups.
Q. What are some simple household items that one can use during sensory play?
Ans. Take a pasta dish and fill it with water. Add some big grains like Channa or use Pom Poms. Let the child remove them with a serving spoon.
Use Roti Atta to hide a small toy. Make coloured bath bubbles and add toys to the tub.
Kids are easy to please and you don’t have to make it too elaborate to play.
Q. How do you guide your little one during sensory play? Do you have any set rules in place for these activities?
Ans. No rules ever.
Let their minds explore. By giving them rules, you’re containing their minds from growth.
Just ensure you’re keeping an eye to see that they don’t slip, eat or choke on stuff.
Q. What are your little one’s top 3 sensory activities?
Ans. They bore easily so u always have to keep improvising.
Q. Do you have any other helpful tips/advice for other moms who want to start introducing sensory activities to their babies/toddlers?
Ans. Make your own stuff – it’s the easiest.
Anything can be made into a fun activity. Always encourage your kid to clean up as well, make that a part of the activity.