Babies. Toddlers. So often we exclude these tiny humans from the messy, sensory sort of play because we think they aren’t capable, they aren’t big enough, or because we think they won’t really benefit from it.
Well this is all malarkey. Babies and toddlers love this sort of play. They are capable of this sort of play. And most importantly, they will benefit greatly from this sort of play.
Babies and toddlers are sensory learners by default. They come into the world wired to touch, smell, taste, see, and hear…it’s how they learn.
It’s how they play.
I try to make as many of the play experiences I have available to the preschoolers, also available to the toddlers and babies. Big kids paint, little kids paint. Big kids play in sensory bins, little kids do too. Are some of the materials different? Yes. But the experience is essentially the same.
When I designed these portable bins, I had the younger crowd in mind. Gluten-free oats, and cornmeal are great for the babies and toddlers, while the un-popped corn is more suitable the older toddlers. All the toys are big enough that they won’t be choked on, but small enough to fit in the smaller containers.
1. Visit Africa…gluten-free rolled oats, a clear container and lid, a tiny spoon, and plastic baby animals from Africa. These little baby animals come from the Zoo Babies Toob by Safari Ltd.
2. On the Farm…Un-popped corn, a little plastic feed bucket, metal tractor (from Peavey Mart), and plastic farm animals from Schleich.
3. Watch Out For Dinosaurs…yellow cornmeal, a clear container and lid, a tiny spoon, and plastic dinosaurs. The dinosaurs are from the Dino Babies Toob by Safari Ltd.
*I almost always add a spoon and some sort of cup or container to our sensory bins. Babies and toddlers like to fill and dump…it’s in their DNA. You will get so much more life out of your sensory play bins by adding these 2 simple things.
These 3 bins get a lot of play time at my house. I use a table cloth or sheet underneath the smalls so if they spill, I can easily clean up after them…
We take the bins to the park, we take them outside on the patio, they are just the right size for packing up and bringing along…
And when we are not using them, they stack right up and fit under our sensory play table…
I used vintage Tupperware containers I found at the thrift store for our play bins. You could use any small container with a lid. I prefer round ones, as they naturally fit between a small person’s legs when they are sitting.
The key to creating baby/toddler safe sensory play opportunities is to keep things simple, colourful, safe, and interesting.
Change things up once in a while. Babies and toddlers get bored just as easily as big kids. Take note of what your toddlers are especially interested in ( at the moment) and design activities in that same bracket of interest.
Oh, and don’t spend a bunch of money. If you are purchasing materials, try to buy things that can be used for MANY different activities…not just one. Now go and play, and have a happy weekend!
Thanks for stopping by,
Arlee, Small Potatoes