I love learning through play and putting my teaching skills to good use with Baby D, sometimes a bit too much! I was so excited when Baby D got his Tuff Spot for Christmas, it got me thinking about different ways of playing with Baby D and exploring sensory play. We’ve now tried various discovery baskets, sensory tubs and play tray ideas. Here are just a few of our favourites.
Balls, Balls, Balls
The first time we got it out I thought we would start simple with something I knew Baby D loved playing with. The OCD took over and I gave it a wee theme, shades of blue but lots of balls none the less. I put a wee tub on the tray to see what Baby D would do.
To start with he looked at the balls then got very excited and started putting the balls in the tub, taking the balls out of the tub then pretty much ended up trying to eat the tub. I literally could have let him play on it for hours.
Here is the wee man enjoying exploring his balls on his Tuff Spot.
The boy loves dinosaurs. The noises they make, the colours and dinosaur stories. It was really easy to set up a wee play tray using dinosaurs because he has so many dinosaur things. I put out his dinosaur rug, some books, a dinosaur rattle, a cushion and of course a wee dinosaur to play with.
Baby D being a boy after his Mum’s heart he went straight for the books. The hubby loved reading him his stories, making all the noises. Baby D listened carefully giving the pages the odd bash with excitement and chewing on his dinosaur rattle. I love watching him explore lots of different things, he gets to excited about everything he finds.
Tones and Textures
If I’ve learnt one thing about babies it’s that they love to put things in their mouths. With this in mind I wanted to create a play tray using lots of different textures for Baby D to explore. To keep him interested I opted for some bright yellows, reds and oranges. I found lots of different toys- some smooth,some bumpy and all different shapes and materials.
Baby D loved playing with all the different items, obviously he gave them all a good chew then settled on some of his favourites. His cups, he loves playing with cups- eating them, banging them and most recently he loves playing where’s the hidden cup!
Under the Sea
I used a simple IKEA tray for the tub, they’re so cheap and not too big for babies. I opted for a white tray so that if I get adventurous in the future I can put water with food colouring in it. For now again we kept it simple with a blanket, some material, a few balls and some under water toys- some stolen from Baby D’s bath toy tub! His favourite item was his play scarf, these are so worth investing in with a baby, as they are so versatile.
The Hubby and I spent ages gathering lots of different materials for this one. Baby D has already had a play with discovery baskets at Magic Carpet Mini’s so we knew it would be a hit. We tried to fill it with as many different things as possible. Discovery baskets usually feature ‘real’ items to be creative with. We filled it with kitchen utensils, again some IKEA kids pots and pans so that he could grasp them, sponges, bells, a mirror and lots of other little treasures.
I love watching him exploring new materials. I am always surprised by his reactions to things. The things I think he will play with for ages are quickly discarded and the most obscure things can hold his attention for ages. He truly is a unique little being! The most amusing moment with his treasure basket was watching him in awe at steaming up the mirror then continuing to do it just for fun!
Rice Crispy Fun
Now that Baby D is eating I am a lot more confident exploring messy. We opted for rice crispies to start with. I put some on the tray, some in a bowl and some in his little pots from his discovery basket. We also put out various scoops and spoons to let Baby D explore using a variety of objects.
To begin with he had a wee taste of the rice crispies. Then he set about spreading them across the tray. He literally played for ages just spreading and bashing. After a while he sat up and played with his utensils for a bit then went off to play with something else. He can sit up fine but I’m still cautious about him falling back and hitting himself on the edge of the tray so I put his boppy pillow behind him just in case. Throughout the day he kept going back and having a wee play.
We are always looking for new ideas. Please feel free to share things that you’ve enjoyed with your little ones!