Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Importance of Sensory and Discovery Toys and Games

Babies love to explore and learn. Everything is new to them, and it's important to help them discover the world around them. A great way to encourage and develop is through play. Children learn more when engaged, having fun, and using all of their senses. As a dedicated Pinterest user, I find a LOT of helpful articles, blogs and photos giving TONS of ideas for helping baby develop-- and I love experimenting to see what he really likes. There are a lot of toys you can BUY to help them along, but I also find that it's important for parents to get creative during play time. It's fun for both you and baby, and it really feels good when you have a fantastic idea that they LOVE!

The best part of discovery/sensory toys is that you can pretty much make them out of whatever you have laying around the house. I've MAYBE put 10 bucks into the toys I have put together so far. While we also use purchased toys, I've noticed that he is far more interested in things that we have laying around already than the toys that have actually been purchased for him. It takes a little bit of creativity, and uses a lot of things you probably have just laying aroun.

Here are a few of the things we've made and used just from around the house so far.

This is probably the simplest and best toy we've created so far. A few weeks ago, my mother-in-law and I were wandering around Dollar Tree while in search for things to use for our discovery toys and Sullivan grabbed a bag of tinsel and was enthralled by it! He played with it all throughout the store!

So, we bought it and I simply put it into a gallon sized storage bag and squeezed about half the air out. Instant favorite! He beats it, chews on it, smacks it around, and shakes it up! If your children are a little older, my only suggestion would be to tape the bag shut so you don't have a gigantic mess of tinsel everywhere! 

Easy Discovery Bottle- Glitter, water, and food coloring. As kids get over, you can make more elaborate ones. Curled balloon ribbon, pompoms, oil and water-- the ideas are endless! I've even seen some beach themed ones that some moms keep in their purses for entertaining kiddos on the go. Easy, cheap to make, and will provide hours of fun! Make sure you glue the top on! I used a plastic epoxy (which is what I happened to have laying around) on the inside of the lid and waited a day or so until you couldn't smell it anymore. Make sure to wipe any excess off of the top should any of it get pushed out. 

Another discovery bottle. This one has small rocks and gemstone added along with the glitter and food coloring. I used a breast milk storage bottle. These are great because they're smaller and easier for younger babies to hold. I tried using lentils instead of water, but he wasn't as into that one.

Treasure Chest! Another great idea. We're entering the "Fill and Spill" phase where he likes stacking a bunch of stuff into his "treasure chest" and dumping it out to start all over again. I think I placed a rattle, an old broken cell phone, a bowl from the NICU, a baby hat, and some old soft soled shoes into here. Lots of different textures and shapes are important for developing tactile senses.

This one is temporary, I -REALLY- had to go pee so I dropped a couple teeny dinosaurs and some mardi gras beads into a glass bottle and handed it to S. He rolled it all over the floor and was happily distracted long enough for me to do what I needed to do and come back! Proof that you can pretty much just use anything you have laying around!

Painting! With cornstarch, water, and food coloring you can make your very own finger paints that are safe for baby. Getting dirty is what babies do best! My model here is obviously having fun with his paints! The recipe for this is found here. :) 

Old used keyboard! S loves this! After this picture was taken, we removed the cord. It just goes into his toy basket with all of the other toys when we're finished playing with it. These are great for hand-eye coordination, and PERFECT for any baby that likes to help mama and dad type and work on computers. I'm pretty sure this was purchased for about a dollar. A great place to pick one up if you live here in Salem is Norvac on Commercial N near Keizer. They have an entire room of old junky parts for super cheap! Just make sure you clean them off first!

This is all we've really done so far. I plan on making some fall and winter themed toys soon, but this requires an extra trip to the Dollar Tree when time permits!

For more ideas on things to do with baby, here are a few links that inspired me. I also have a lot of things pinned to my Baby Activities board on Pinterest!

Oh, and one of my FAVORITE Sensory Play blogs is Growing a Jeweled Rose. This mom LOVES to play with her kids and has ENDLESS fantastic ideas for babies and toddlers! 

No comments:

Post a Comment