When Should You Start Sensory Play?

A common question that is often asked is “At what age should we start sensory play?”. We love sensory play so much that we had to take the time to answer this question.

There is no one answer to this question, as every child is different and will respond differently to sensory play. However, read on for a few general tips that can help you get started.

when to start sensory play

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“What age should you start sensory play?”

In general, most children will be able to start engaging in sensory play from around 6 months old. As they get older, they will be able to explore more complex sensory experiences.

There is no definitive answer to this question as each child develops at their own pace and will be ready for sensory play when they are able to engage with their senses in a way that is enjoyable for them.

“How do I know if my child is ready for sensory play?”

If you are unsure whether your child is ready for sensory play, observe their behavior and look for signs that they are interested in exploring their senses. For example, they may put things in their mouth or try to touch everything they can reach.

If you think your child is ready, start with simple sensory experiences and let them lead the way. Remember, the key is to let them have fun!

Now let’s explore age-appropriate activities to inspire your playtime.

Age Appropriate Sensory Activities for Babies

Babies are just starting to develop their senses, so it is important to choose sensory activities that are appropriate for their age and stage of development. Here are some ideas:

  • Offer different textures for them to touch, such as soft fabrics, sandpaper, or textured balls.
  • Let them explore different smells with scented objects or materials, such as flowers, spices, or perfumed lotions.
  • Provide visual stimulation with colorful objects, mobiles, or light-up toys.
  • Help them make noise by banging on drums, shaking rattles, or clapping their hands.
  • Let them explore taste-safe foods like cooked noodles.

As your child grows, you can introduce more complex sensory experiences. For example, you could let them play with water beads, slime, feathers, or paint. Just be sure to always supervise your child during sensory play and refrain from using any materials that could be harmful if ingested.

Age Appropriate Sensory Activities for Toddlers

Toddlers are exploring their senses and beginning to understand the world around them. They are also becoming more mobile, so it is important to choose sensory activities that are safe for them to explore. Here are some ideas:

  • Let them play with different textures, such as sand, foam, feathers, or bubbles.
  • Make some simple sensory bins with cereal, rice, water, etc.
  • Introduce taste-safe options of play dough, moon sand, and more!
  • Give them something taste-safe for toddlers to explore, such as mashed fruits, cooked colored spaghetti, jell-o digs, tinted yogurt for some safe finger paint, etc.

If you are still unsure about sensory play and your child, follow these recommendations.

First, it’s important to start slowly and gradually introduce new elements. If your child seems overwhelmed or uncomfortable, take a step back and try something simpler.

Second, be sure to provide ample opportunity for exploration and discovery. Don’t force your child to participate in activities they don’t enjoy – let them take the lead and follow their interests.

If your child seems to be avoiding sensory play, you might want to explore the possibilities of your child being a sensory-avoider. You can read more about the differences between a sensory seeker and a sensory avoider.

Finally, remember that sensory play should be fun! If it starts to feel like a chore, take a break and come back to it another day. With these tips in mind, you’ll be sure to create a fun and stimulating environment that your child will love.

Please note: this is not intended to be medical advice. If you have any concerns about your child’s development, please consult with a doctor or occupational therapist. Always supervise your child during play.

Sensory play activities you may enjoy:

Easy Sensory Activities
Sensory Crafts for Kids
Sensory Play in Ziploc Bags