In Australia, 83% of people with a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder are under the age of 25. For many children, that makes early childhood a difficult phase of their lives.
Why? Because children on the spectrum need more stimulus from their environment. For instance, if interactive toys don't surround them, it can cause anxiety and depression.
Sensory play is one of the essential ways that kids can develop the appropriate social skills to succeed later in life and reach their full potential.
This means the choice of toys is not just a matter of entertainment. It's how your child will learn about the world and develop their way of thinking. Therefore, you need to engage your baby in sensory play as soon as possible.
Here's everything you need to know about toddlers' sensory play and how to immerse your little one in this diverse and colourful world of toys.
Why Do Babies Need Sensory Play?
Did you know that 48% of children aged 6-13 own a smartphone? Well, that number is slowly increasing with every year that passes, which means there is a whole generation being raised by technology.
Besides the advantages of having access to the internet, such as online education, information, and making friends, there is one significant downside to this virtual world.
Children are using their hands less. Although online games exist to satisfy their boredom, some kids with special needs require more distraction than just a screen in front of their faces.
They need to engage their senses through sensory play. But what is sensory play?
This playtime is more focused on building motor skills, using the senses, interacting with peers, and solving puzzles. When babies are exposed to these activities, they are more challenged.
For example, they can learn math skills by matching and sorting different colours and shapes. Plus, they are confronted by unexpected obstacles they need to solve in a team with the people around them.
Sensory Play Ideas for Your Baby
Therefore, here are some sensory play ideas to get you inspired and your baby full of energy!
Some of these options can be made at home, or you can find them online.
1. DIY Sensory Lids
This is one of the easiest ways to include sensory play into your life. All you need is some recycled lids from milk bottles or jam jars and a pack of glue, sparkles, and feathers.
Once you have your materials, you can create your lids with different textures and colours, which will occupy your baby's hands whilst keeping them engaged with what they're doing.
2. Water Magic Cube
Bath time is a challenging time for many parents. However, this water magic cube toy could be your secret weapon when it comes to keeping your little one busy while they are in the tub.
This toy is built to absorb water and pour it out from different sides. When your baby rotates the cube, the water will stream out like a waterfall from various directions.
Having something like this water magic cube is a household staple when you're raising a baby and need something that will distract them if they find bath time frustrating.
3. Colourful Pasta
If you're looking for edible sensory play ideas, then colourful pasta is your new favourite thing. You can make a batch of pasta and sprinkle a small amount of food colouring into the dish.
This will cover the pasta in enough colour to create a vibrant bowl of food without overwhelming your child with too many items. To make it even more spectacular, try adding several types of pasta into the pot!
You can place them on a clean mat or let them cool off for playing with.
4. Weighted Blankets
It's important to bond with your baby in early childhood. That's why finding ways to connect whilst engaging them in sensory play is a fantastic way to kill two birds with one stone.
A weighted blanket is commonly used for children on the spectrum as it has calming and soothing properties for their central nervous system. You can cuddle with your baby and wrap yourself in one of these.
And, you can even get them in different weights so they can have their own when they get older!
Even though a weighted blanket is not specifically a toy, it can be used in combination with a stress ball or sensory lids to give your baby something else to play with.
5. Fidget Spinner
When they are small, babies tend to get distracted by keys and other moveable objects. Part of the reason they like to reach for these items is their curiosity, and another reason is they want something to do.
Before children reach the age where they can signal to a toy and ask for it, parents need to provide their kids with enough stimulus in their everyday lives.
Fidget spinners are an idea for families who travel a lot and need to bring a portable toy with them. But, these toys can also be used in the home if you are doing a household chore and your baby wants to play.
The best part about fidget spinners is that they are simple and easy to use. So, babies adore them!
To find your new sensory toy, you can check out our range of products on our website.
Get These Sensory Toys Today
Sometimes, it doesn't take much to put a smile on your baby's face. But, most of the time, a fidget spinner, sensory lids, or a water magic cube will do the trick.
Sensory play is a crucial part of your child's development, and most importantly, it makes them more confident when they get older. However, you need to prioritise this kind of play if you want your baby to be happy and healthy!
Luckily, our collection of sensory toys will give you a whole playroom worth of entertainment for your baby as they go through early childhood.If you have any questions, let us know, and we'll be happy to hear from you.