Playtime is the best time to help your little one learn and grow. Make the most of this time for their development with some good old fashioned sensory play. You don’t need fancy toys to make this happen: all you need is a little creativity to put together a fun filled at-home activity that is budget friendly and easily adapted as your child learns and grows.
What is ‘Sensory Play’?
Sensory Play is any playtime activity that involves the senses and supports your child’s cognitive development. The most straightforward way to do this is with a sensory box: a mixture of different items that your little one has to dig and delve for and try to recognise with their hands. The best part? You can reuse your old My 1st Years gift boxes to make it eco-friendly. Although sensory boxes focus primarily on sense of touch, you can also incorporate sight, smell and even sound for a full sensory experience.
Keep reading to find out more about the benefits of a sensory box and how to make your own.
What are the benefits of sensory activities?
It’s all well and good us telling you that this is good for your child’s development, but how exactly?
Motor development skills
Discover, explore and grab as they search, scoop and
Social and independent play and great for interactive and cooperative play. Encourage conversation and train little ones to share and take turns.
Using a sensory box will encourage little minds to find new words and phrases to different sensations. This can also open up conversations and give your toddler the opportunity to try to practice the vocabulary they’re picking up along the way.
Lower stress and calm the mind
Especially important at the moment. A sensory box can also be adapted as a calm-down kit to help your little ones to pause and process their feelings in the moment.
Here’s what you need to build a sensory box they will love:
- My 1st Years gift box
- Dry rice
- Dry pasta in different shapes
- Packing peanuts
- Smooth stones
- Toys (try different textures: include wooden toys, small soft toys etc that your little one will be able to recognise and explain.)
Let’s put it all together!
1. Select a theme
Whether your child is a little princess, an aspiring explorer or a big adventurer, you can make a sensory box to suit them. Take pieces from your little one’s favourite puzzle to fit your theme: from jungle animals, sweet pets, or (bonus points) wooden numbers to double the possibilities from just one toy.
2. Choose a base
For a cheap and convenient base that will really have them rummaging, we recommend rice. For something a little less messy, try shredded paper (it looks especially good if it’s colourful) or even dried pasta.
3. Box it up
A My 1st Years gift box is the perfect size for your sensory box. Fill it up with everything you need and switch it up as they get older. A hidden bonus: the more you buy, the more boxes you’ll have! Choosing a box with a lid means that you can easily pack your activity away and take it out the next time they want to play. If you don’t have one of these luxury blue gift boxes, any box will do so long as it’s strong and sturdy enough to withstand a toddler!
4. Let them dig
Once you have everything you need, it’s time to get digging. Sit with your little one as they explore their new favourite activity and invite them to explain to you what they are thinking and feeling as they delve deeper into the sensory box. This is a great opportunity to not only develop your toddler’s cognitive skills, but also bond with them and learn more about what they like and how they think.
If you make your own My 1st Years sensory box, please let us know by tagging us @My1stYears on Instagram.
My 1st Years x