As parents, it's normal to worry about how you can help your newborn baby develop and become an active member of the world around them. But did you realize that the very best way to do this is through play? By providing different sensory experiences, your little one can learn about what's around them and respond accordingly, leading to better development of the senses and brain.
A rattle can help engage a baby's developing sense of hearing by eliciting a response from them when it is shaken or tossed. These are classic baby toys that never go out of style! As early as one month old, you can use rattles to grab your baby's attention, and by the age of 3 months, rattles can be used by babies to practice early motor skills by grasping the toy, which also promotes hand and eye coordination.
Providing a baby with a textured blanket (such as a minky blanket) can allow them to explore various tactile sensations. These blankets are also a fun way to introduce colors and different prints. You can buy sensory blankets or make DIY ones but recycle and reuse other types of cloth, cut them into squares, and stitch them together. You can also add details by adding ribbons. The best thing about making DIY blankets is incorporating different kinds of fabric like silks, rayons, crochet pieces, and furry cloths to make it fun for your baby.
Hanging toys can give newborns something fascinating to look at and focus on, which can help develop their visual perception. Brightly colored objects are best as they can capture their attention. In addition, mobile toys are a great way to stimulate motor skills by reaching, swatting, and batting at the toys while they hang down; babies can exercise their arms and legs, helping them learn how to control their bodies and develop gross motor skills. As early as one month to 3 months old, you can introduce mobile toys attached to the crib or with stands.
Playmats provide a safe and clean space for babies when you want them to lie on the floor for exploring and sensory play. It can also be a big help for tummy time for ages two months old and up. In addition, these mats can help parents quickly as newborn transitions to 4 months and up, wherein the babies start to roll over and eventually crawl. Choose a lightweight, antibacterial, waterproof playmat, soft and portable.
A toy with a range of musical notes can help a newborn become accustomed to various sounds and help stimulate their auditory senses. In addition, just playing songs and singing to your newborn significantly affects their emotional well-being and bond with you as a parent.
Newborns love textures and put something in their mouths like their precious little hands; they persistently attempt to do it because of self-exploration, which is suitable for developing motor skills. Aside from pacifiers, teethers are also ideal for soft and sensory play.
Sensory play is easy to incorporate into your baby's day-to-day life. So if you're looking for short activities you can do with your newborn, sensory play is an obvious choice to help them enjoy bonding time a little more. No matter how simple the activity may seem, proceed cautiously; if in doubt, ask your pediatrician before trying anything new. You don't want to do anything that will upset your baby or cause any damage or discomfort. But done right, sensory play can help prepare your newborn for all the fun and exciting adventures they're about to take part in over the first few years of their life.