Sensory Toys for Babies: are they better than other toys?
How do we know what our baby needs? We can ask them, but we won’t get a verbal answer. Before they are able to speak to us, they experience the world in 5 important ways. Their senses.
Babies begin processing the world through their senses before they are even born. When the fetus is only a few inches long they can feel the vibrations from their mum’s voice echoing through her body.
Babies take in information from the world by what they see, hear, taste, smell, and feel. Babies develop stronger skills by interacting with their world and practising their sensory processing skills.
Sensory play helps build nerve connections in the brain’s pathways. This helps your child complete more difficult learning tasks. It supports cognitive growth, language development, gross motor skills, social interaction and problem solving skills.
What Are the Best Baby Sensory Toys?
There are many benefits to sensory play for babies. Here we look at what those are, before taking a look at the 7 best sensory toys you can buy today
Messy play and noisy play are fun forms of sensory play for younger babies, and can include sensory toys such as rattles, water mats and Play-Doh. Here are some of our favourite sensory toys:
Sensory Purple Elephant Toy
A stuffed animal with attachments that allow your baby to explore their senses. This 12 inch tall plush toy elephant has ears that crinkle noise when played with and a mirror on the tummy area. When you shake this cute elephant the toy also becomes a rattle which is sure to keep your baby occupied and happy
Lamaze Freddie The Firefly
Very similar to the elephant plush toy, it’s a very versatile sensory toy. It actually looks much better on the picture and can be attached to a mobile, a pram and even on a car seat or seat belt. This is my very favorite, I bought it for all my mum friends.
Manhattan Toy Winkel Classic Rattle and Teether
It’s a great toys for newborns and teething babies. Colourful loops made from soft, pliable plastic are easy to grasp and hold in this Winkle rattle and teether from Manhattan Toys, plus you can refrigerate it for a soothing teether.
Infantino Sensory Textured Multi Ball Set
It’s a bundle of many different sensory balls in one purchase. Made by Infantino, this £9.99 product is filled with props to stimulate little minds. It has a well earned 5 star ratings from more than 80 reviews. It’s a sure bet.
Busy Little Bears Sensory Play Activity Bag
Very similar to the previous product, this is a bag full of sensory toys that will help your child develop fine motor skills, stimulate their imaginative and innovative abilities, teach new skills, and improve your baby’s memory and brain power
Beamz Delightful Toys Light-Up Comet Spinner
This sensory toy light may have you just as intrigued as your baby! At only £7.99 this flashing, light-up, spinning torch/wand is equipped with 6 super bright LED lights. The item beans red, blue, and green glows or just white, if preferred. The spinner is 22cm total length and has been rated safe for babies.
Infantino Sensory Sound and Light Activity Ball
Amazing combination of light, sound, textures and colours. Your baby will love seeing it glow 5 with 5 different colours and making it roll and discover on which end it stopped. You can even start teaching them the name of the colours with that game.
Why Sensory Play is Important for Development?
Sensory toys to engages the senses
From birth through to early childhood, children use their senses to make sense of the world around them. They do this by touching, tasting, smelling, seeing, moving and hearing.
Even adults learn best and when they engage their senses. Many of our favourite memories are associated with one or more of our senses: the smell of a summer night campfire or a song you listened to with a childhood friend. When you smell a campfire or hear that song, your senses are stimulated and your brain triggers a flashback memory to those special times.
Even though our senses are natural, as we are born with them, they can be strengthened through practice.
Sensory toys for babies have become one of the most popular trend among parents today. Sensory play helps babies learn about their world through their five senses while developing new skills.
Sensory toys to help the brain development
It helps babies enhance their learning and develop new abilities through a variety of activities by using specially designed sensory toys, that stimulate their senses. Some experts suggest that sensory toys can make your baby smarter!
How to create homemade baby sensory toys
Engaging your baby in sensory play at home can begin with something as simple as a baby rattle or a lightshow projector. You could also get hands-on and create some DIY baby sensory toys for your baby. Sensory toys can be made from food and household items. A few popular examples of DIY sensory toys include:
Glitter bottle snow globe
- Empty a clear bottle and fill it ¾ with water.
- Add a few handfuls of glitter.
- Glue the lid shut and let it dry.
Your baby will enjoy tipping the bottle back and forth as they watch the glitter flow to the bottom each time. When they begin crawling they will love chasing it across the room.
Scrunchy sound socks
- Take an old, clean sock.
- Stuff it with left over wrapping paper.
- Tie a knot at the end of the sock to keep the paper inside.
Your baby can safely scrunch the sock and be rewarded with great stimulation to their hearing sense. The sound is not annoying or loud, so it is parent approved!
Bottle cap bracelet rattle
- Collect a few plastic bottle caps from sodas, milk, or waters.
- Punch or drill a hole through the centre of each cap.
- Insert an elastic string. Regular string will work as well.
This makes a great rattle which is light and easy for baby to grasp on to.
Recap: 5 reasons why sensory play is beneficial
Sensory activities encourage children to use scientific processes while they play, investigate and explore. The sensory activities ultimately shape the choices children make and impacting behavior. The 5 main reasons you should start using sensory toys for your child are:
- Research shows that sensory play builds nerve connections in the brain’s pathways, which lead to the child’s ability to complete more complex learning tasks.
- Sensory play supports language development, cognitive growth, fine and gross motor skills, problem solving skills, and social interaction.
- his type of play aids in developing and enhancing memory
- Sensory play is great for calming an anxious or frustrated child
- This helps children learn sensory attributes (hot, cold, sticky, dry)