Sensory Toys for Infants and Babies (Including Newborn)

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Do you want to give your little one the best playtime experience? Do you want to ensure that they get to play, learn, and engage their senses all at the same time and prevent them from having too much screen time? 

Then let them immerse in a wonderful experience provided by sensory toys for infants and babies. Yes, all toys for kids are meant to keep their senses engaged but these sensory toys infants are taking things to another level – that is by not only engaging the five senses but also supporting your little one’s early development. 

In addition, these toys provide an incredible bonding opportunity for you and your kid. Fortunately, there is no need to go for fancy and highly expensive sensory toys for infants and toddlers to enjoy their benefits. 

It is even possible for you to create one using simple items – an example would be a sensory bin that you can fill with sand or textured balls.

What are Sensory Toys?

Sensory toys refer to those toys created in a way that they can keep at least one of the major senses of kids engaged. When we say sensory toys, one can immediately point to toys capable of stimulating a child’s sense of sight, smell, touch, taste, and hearing.

Note, though, that in addition to that, sensory toys also encompass playthings with the ability to keep the tactile senses indirectly or directly engaged. An example is a textured ball, which can directly stimulate your little one’s sense of touch. 

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    Meanwhile, there is this vibrating musical toy that also has a deep bass tone. This particular toy has the ability to stimulate even those senses that are not auditory indirectly.

    Sensory toys also come in different types – the most commonly known ones include:

    • Auditory, which includes sensory toys capable of playing soothing and relaxing melodies, animal sounds, and upbeat music.
    • Vestibular, which includes toys with movable components – Some sensory toys in this category may also spin. They can help a lot if you want your child to hone their motor skills.
    • Tactile, which features various materials and textures that your little one can explore and engage with through touch.
    • Multi-sensory, which includes those sensory toys capable of engaging at least one sense organ simultaneously. It is considered an all-rounder that your child can use even as they age and grow.

    One thing to remember about sensory toys is that they are also categorized depending on age. There are toys made specifically for older kids, making them unsafe for infants and toddlers. 

    You have to remember that once you start shopping for sensory toys newborn. Make sure to get a toy that is appropriate and recommended for your child’s age.

    Benefits of Sensory Toys for Newborns and Babies

    Sensory play contributes a lot to the growth and development of your child. You can expect this type of play to begin helping your child as soon as you introduce them to it. One of the many things it can do is establish nerve connections in your child’s brain pathways. 

    The result is them being able to finish even complex activities and tasks. It serves as an instrument for their brain development and supports their learning process in various areas of their surroundings and environment. 

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    To give you an even clearer idea of its positive effects on your newborn, here are the itemized benefits of sensory toys for babies and infants:

    Promotes better language skills

    Expect the language skills of your child to develop naturally if you keep on exposing them to sensory play. By letting them take part in a kind of play, especially sensory, there is a high chance for them to learn through environmental experiences.

    It is also the key for them to learn various ways of communicating their needs, wants, and emotions. As you engage their senses, they will be able to provide a clear description of the things they do as well as the feelings that come along with it. 

    Soon enough, they will be able to communicate clearly with the help of clearer and more descriptive terms.

    Cultivates fine motor skills

    Through sensory play, you will notice your child showing their improved fine motor skills. You can start seeing them moving and doing things independently. For instance, they start to tie their shoe, zip their coat, button their shirt, or even write without your help.

    Tactile and sensory play that mainly requires your little one to build, pour, and mix also helps cultivate the important skill of using their tiny muscles and keeping their movements coordinated. It is a fun way for them to establish and strengthen their fine motor skills.

    Promotes cognitive growth

    Sensory toys are also good for your child’s cognitive growth and development. The reason is that this type of play encourages them to ask questions, do experiments, examine the results of their actions, and think of how the things around them work. All these make up a child’s cognitive growth healthily.

    Through sensory play, you will notice your child learning new things, figuring out things on their own, and solving problems. It supports their love for exploration as they play and allow themselves to engage in various scenarios and experiences. 

    You can also use this type of play to let them solve and maneuver any challenge they encounter. For instance, how to keep themselves balanced while they are on the swing.

    Promotes social interaction

    Expect your child to develop and hone their social skills through sensory play, too. It can contribute to their learning, especially in terms of communicating, troubleshooting problems, and adapting based on how those around them play. 

    You can let them engage in sensory play whether it is at the swing in the park near your home or at your own play area as they build blocks.

    Known for its soothing effect

    The calming effect of sensory play is also good for your child’s development. It is effective in regulating the overall level of arousal of newborns and toddlers. It is, therefore, helpful in stimulating a sluggish child.

    Sensory play also contributes to calming kids who struggle with concentration or are mainly hyperactive. Most of the toys here, including sensory seats and weighted lap pads, can relax them, thereby giving out a signal that it is finally time for them to remain in place.

    5 Recommended Toys for Babies and Infants

    To start introducing your little one to sensory play, here are five of the most recommended toys that are suitable for their age:

    #1 – Textured Balls

    Often created out of natural rubber, textured balls are good sensory toys for babies from 0 months and up. These balls come in various textures and sizes, making them really great options as far as engaging the senses of your baby is concerned.

    Note that the most beneficial sensory toys for babies are mainly those that are fun to play with, colorful, and tactile. Textured balls meet all the mentioned conditions. They can boost sensory stimulation whether visual or tactile through their different colors, textures, shapes, and sizes.

    The fact that these balls use squishy and soft rubber as their main material is also a big advantage. The material makes the toys safer for babies, especially teething ones, as those can be safely gnawed by them.

    #2 – Wooden Puzzle

    You can also find plenty of wooden puzzles that serve as fantastic sensory toys for babies and infants. Some of them may appear simple but they are really of help in developing an essential skill – that is the ability to solve problems.

    The good thing about these wooden puzzles is that they make kids identify various colors and shapes and return each piece to the board made of wooden material. Just ensure that aside from picking a toy created out of sustainable materials, you also have to go for one that uses non-toxic paint and soft edges to guarantee your child’s safety.

    #3 – Sensory Stacking Cups

    Often constructed out of food-grade silicone material, your baby will surely enjoy this particular sensory toy for long hours. This may be a classic toy but it really has a great use as far as stimulating one’s senses are concerned.

    You can go for cups that have varying patterns that you can stack above each other. Expect your child to enjoy hours of unlimited play in the playpen while helping them improve their hand-eye coordination. One more thing that these sensory stacking cups can do is teach them about size, order, height, and balance.

    Most of these stacking cups feature compact designs, too. With that, it is easy to use these cups to make your little one enjoy bath time. You can also bring them with you so there is something to entertain your child anytime you decide to go out.

    #4 – Rattle and Sensory Teether

    Another must-have in your baby’s collection of sensory toys should be the rattle and sensory teether. Created out of colorful and soft tubes winding nicely around the middle cube, this toy creates a rattling sound that your baby will surely like.

    What’s even great about this sensory teether is that it is easy for infants and babies to hold. They will also find it pleasurable to chew or gnaw on. Expect your child to be fond of chewing the soft tubes. 

    As for the rattle, they contribute to your child’s development as they are still in the stage of exploring the cause-and-effect of things. It can also arouse their sense of hearing. Once your little one is already in the teething stage, you can put this teether on the refrigerator before giving it to them so they will have a very relaxing sensory experience.

    #5 – Kinetic Sand

    Kinetic sand is also one of the most highly recommended toys for kids. The reason is that it supports open-ended play and inspires your child to be more creative. Some think that it just simply works as a toy for killing boredom but in reality, it actually has a significant contribution to the growth and development of a child.

    Aside from supporting their creative thinking process, this toy also helps in improving your child’s fine motor skills. It promotes effective sensory processing and provides a sense of calm. 

    In addition, the deep pressure brought on by playing with kinetic sand helps their brain with organization. The fact that the kinetic sand usually comes in bright colors also means that your child will be able to feast their eyes on the toy.

    Best Practices for Infant/Baby Sensory Play

    Initially, your infant will begin as an observer instead of an actual participant when you introduce them to sensory play and activities. The reason is that they will still be at the stage when they will be taking in the sounds, textures, scents, and sights surrounding them.

    Soon enough, you will notice them starting to grab, reach out, mouth, crawl, and cruise to any sensory toy that captures their attention. To engage their senses, you have to know exactly how to incorporate sensory play into their daily routines. 

    That way, they can start imbibing the benefits of this type of play immediately. Here are the top advice on how to encourage sensory play in your child’s life and build a very stimulating environment for them:

    • Expose them to high-contrast pictures – Your newborn can benefit from taking a look at contrasting shapes in black and white. Hang these pictures around their play area to help develop their optic nerve.
    • Use a colorful and bright playmat for tummy time – Allowing your child to use this playmat for exploration and tummy time can help turn the activity into a nice sensory experience.
    • Provide toys that make sounds – You can go for vibrating sensory toys for babies or those that trill, tweet, rattle, or squeak once shaken or pressed. Introduce these toys at around three to four months as this is the time when they are fascinated by toys that make sounds. Ensure that there is enough variety for exploration.
    • Make a sensory bag – You can also try creating sensory toys for babies DIY. In this case, you can create a sensory bag, which you can actually do by using tactile materials, such as hair gel or shaving cream, to fill up a zip-top bag. Use a durable and strong tape to seal it up then witness your child enjoying the act of squishing it.
    • Make their bath time more fun and exciting – As soon as your baby can sit up during bathtime, you can throw in floating toys. This will further enhance their experience when bathing, especially if the ones you toss are safe and bright light-up sensory toys for babies.

    Conclusion

    Create a sensory environment for your little one by designating an area that symbolizes play, relaxation, and learning. It could be a particular space in your house that’s guaranteed to be calm and cozy and filled with safe sensory toys for infants and babies, as well as soft-furnished book corners and areas.

    This particular space will let your child look at good books, relax, and play quietly. They can even sleep there if needed. There should also be a writing area filled with various materials that can inspire your little one to hone their creativity and fine motor skills.