One of the most important aspects of playtime with your baby is engaging their senses and helping them to explore the world around them. Sensory play can take place from the very early newborn days, and it is a fantastic way to bond with your little bundle of joy.
From black and white patterns to different textures, sensory playtime should engage lots of your baby’s senses – sight, sound, touch, smell and, as they get older, taste. One of the best ways of doing sensory playtime is by getting down on the floor with your baby on a playmat.
Being on the floor gives your baby the opportunity to look all around them, reach out and touch different objects, whist practising key skills such as tummy time, rolling and sitting up.
Having a comfortable, soft and durable baby playmat is an essential component of sensory play, and can help enhance this special time for you and your little one.
In this blog post we’ll take a look at some different ideas on how you can enjoy sensory playtime on your playmat.
Babies, in particular very young babies, respond best to contrasts. In the very early new born days, your baby will only be able to see in black and white. Therefore strong monochrome patterns are ideal to help their developing eyesight.
Lay out some black and white sensory cards on top of your playmat and place your baby down for some tummy time. You’ll be amazed to see their eyes looking around from pattern to pattern, trying to glimpse at the strong, black and white colours.
This is a great way of strengthening their neck and core muscles as it encourages them to lift their head. As your baby gets older, lengthen the time you spend doing tummy time and you’ll see them developing the skills they need for rolling and crawling.
Create some noise
As your baby gets older, they’ll start to want to reach out and grab objects which are placed on the playmat. This is great from a movement point of view, and you can add another level of sensory fun by leaving out objects which make a sound.
For example, try popping some rattles out on your playmat and see what one your baby goes to grab. You can also make your own sound shakers at home by filling up old plastic water bottles with rice and beads. To add another sensory dimension, you could even include some glitter or coloured feathers to create a home made toy which is great for your baby’s developing sight and hearing.
A light show
Babies love to track different coloured lights, and creating a light show for your baby to look up at from their playmat is a really fun activity for them to take part in.
If you don’t have access to a light projector, you can make your own light display by using sweetie wrappers and placing them over the end of a torch. Shine the torch onto the ceiling and you’ll create a rainbow of colours to delight and enthral.
Dim the lights and watch as your baby giggles and smiles with glee as they watch the multicoloured light show from the comfort of their playmat.
One of the benefits of using a playmat for sensory playtime is the fact that they are easily cleaned. A great way to get your baby engaging with its senses is to encourage messy play – this is particularly good for their sense of touch.
Messy play can be varied, including using bowls of cold water, different types of paint or even jelly. Different textures create different sensations for your little one to explore. Not only is it fun for the baby, its also a joy to watch as a parent!
Once messy play is complete, simply wipe down the surface of the playmat with some spray and a damp cloth. Leave it to dry and it’ll be good as new, ready for the next messy play session!