Thursday, March 27, 2014

sensory fun: 6-9 months

Before Caleb was born, a friend of mine warned me that little ones get bored spending all their time at home and getting out is just as much for them as for us.  So for the first few months of Caleb's life, we planned weekly play dates with friends and trips to the library circle time, but as the snow started falling and the temperatures dropped, so did our trips out.

With the massive amounts of snow and arctic temperatures, Caleb and I have been spending most of our winter inside.  And sure enough, both he and I were getting bored not only with one another but with all of his toys.  In an attempt to help foster is exploratory spirit and get us out of the bedroom, I created a few discovery baskets to keep in the kitchen and bathroom, which was helpful while I was cooking and showering.

While our little guy has more toys than he could possibly play with, I wanted to create some opportunities for some fun sensory play during these long, cold, and gray winter days.
I thought I'd share a few of the sensory activities we've been trying this winter for those who may be in search of some fun, interactive, boredom-busters!

One of the easiest sensory activities has been meal time.  When Caleb began showing interest in food, I started offering him a variety of foods with different textures.  We tried steamed vegetables, fruits (he's a big fan of apples and bananas), and cooked beans.  He loved playing with the food on his tray and slowly more and more went in his mouth.  It was fun to watch this progression over time from just playing to actually eating.  You can read more about our adventures in baby-led weaning here.

After a particularly rough night of teething, I thought it might be fun to see him play in some of the freshly fallen snow.  I think overall he enjoyed playing in it, but was a little frustrated that it melted so quickly and he wasn't able to chew on it to relieve his teething pain.  We talked about how cold and wet snow is and when he was finished, I used a warm washcloth to warm his little fingers.  It was a great opportunity to introduce opposites.

One weekend while my mom as visiting we put together some sensory bottles.  I used small water bottles as I thought they were the perfect size for Caleb's little hands, and wanted to focus on the concepts of light/heavy and loud/quiet. Each of the bottles is filled with items found around our house or for a few dollars at the craft store.

For this set of bottles I used crinkled strips of aluminum foil, feathers, dry beans, colorful pom-poms, soap and water (with blue food coloring), and pebbles.  You can fill the bottles with anything really, check out these for loads of ideas.  Leave some empty space in the bottle to allow for movement then hot-glue the lid on for safety.

Caleb and I play with these nearly every day.  Sometimes, I use them to introduce concepts of light/heavy and loud/soft (this boy loves sound!).  I'll give Caleb a single bottle to explore and talk about it's properties (ie. colors,size, sounds, movement), then I'll introduce the opposite bottle and compare the two.  At this age it's all about exploration and exposure - he's not going to identify these properties independently right now, but rather I'm helping him to give meaning to this big world around him!

Our most recent sensory activity has been rice.  I filled a large bowl with dry rice and allowed Caleb to use some measuring cups to scoop and pour the rice. He loved the feeling of the rice on his hands.

While he definitely took the opportunity to taste a little in the beginning, very little of the rice actually went his mouth...however lots of it ended up on the floor!  When he was finished, I put him in his highchair to watch me clean it up with the broom - someday he'll be able to help clean up the rice too, learning even more important developmental skills!

It's so much fun to watch Caleb explore new things, everything is a learning experience!  If you're looking for more ideas for your little one, you can follow my pinterest board here.


  1. How old is your baby in this picture?

  2. Great activities! Caleb is so cute, my lil' guy is the same age & has those busy hands.
    I'm excited to build some sensory bottles soon!

  3. So funny! I was just looking up sensory ideas on pinterest to do with Liam and when I saw the pictures I thought to myself that it looked like Caleb. Then I scrolled down and saw your picture! I should have just asked you because I always see you doing awesome stuff with your boys!

    1. So fun! Glad you're here! I'd be happy to share any time! <3

  4. These are some great ideas. I'm going to use some of them with my baby. Thanks for sharing.