Inside You'll Find: Quick, no prep sensory activities for babies that will help them grow big AND smart!
Confession... I think babies can be kinda boring.
Granted, my first two kids never gave me a minute of peace, so "boring" probably isn't the best way of describing it. (I LOVE them to pieces, there were just crazy hard babies!) But whenever there was a moment between nursing and screaming, I wasn't really sure what to do with a happy baby.
Thankfully, my youngest has given me plenty of chances to interact with a smiling baby! When I'm not busy with the other two hooligans, I want to make sure that how I play with my baby is beneficial for building their body and brain!
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Please note that all exercises for babies should be done with caution and adult supervision. The author is only sharing personal experience, not medical advice. Don't do any movement before a child is developmentally ready.
Sensory Activities for Babies
- Balancing on a squishy ball
Find a medium sized plush ball. Have your baby do "tummy time" with the ball underneath them. Many times little ones find this a more enjoyable experience than traditional tummy time on the hard floor. They're able to see better and it works different muscles in their back and neck. Time spent in the prone position is wonderful for building gross motor skills. It also stimulates the cerebellum, making for a healthy, happy brain!
Next, try sitting the child upright on the squishy ball. (This is to be an ASSISTED position! Keep your hands on the child at all times for support and safety.) Place your hands under their armpits if they're very new to this position. As they improve their core strength and balance, more your hands toward their hips. The lower you place your hands on your child, the more challenging of an exercise it becomes for the baby.
2. Baby "Pull Ups"
Lay your child on their back facing you. Get a firm grip on their wrist and slowly pull them to a sitting position. The goal is head control. If a baby can keep their head level with their trunk instead of letting it drag behind, it's a great sign! It also builds core and arm strength. And it's just plain fun!
(Wanna know about this cute kid's birthmark and why it's sent us on a crazy medical and faith journey. Find out about our wild ride with Port Wine Stains and Sturge Weber Syndrome.)
3. Kicking and Leg Presses
Get a large flat object and hold it vertically in front of baby's feet. We used a pie tin for the added crinkle benefit! Encourage your child to put their feet against the surface and push off. Give just enough resistance for feedback.
Another fun game to do is "soccer". An adult can hold the child firmly beneath the armpits. Have someone else, like an older sibling, gently roll a soft ball towards them. Swing the child forward to "kick" it. It's great vestibular input and a wonderful social activities. All three of my boys had a great time interacting!
Want our top picks for sensory toys for babies? These toys do double duty!
4. Midline Crossing
This activity couldn't be any simpler. While your baby is lying on their back, assist them in touching their left hand to their right foot. Switch it up and bring their right hand to their left foot. Any activity that encourages a child to cross the vertical center of their bodies is beneficial. (Find out why midline crossing is so awesome for the body!) It helps the two hemispheres of the brain communicate better. It's essential for normal function!
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grat ideas going to try with granddaughter!
Thanks for a very well-written and informative article. I don’t have kids yet, but I will be saving this for Someday 🙂
Also, I thought you should know that I decided to sign up for your newsletter just because you have the most awesome pop-up I’ve ever seen. I’m usually annoyed by them, but yours is very funny!
Ha ha! You made my night!
Great ideas! I’ve been wondering what more I could be doing with my 7 week old.
May I ask what age your baby is in these photos? My baby is 5 months old but has had a very difficult start to life. He’s home now but I worry so much about about his cognitive and motor development. Thank you for this article.
Great question! I don’t really remember, but I think he was around 5-8 months. Sorry I can’t remember better. I’d bring your concerns to an occupational therapist. They can do wonders! Hang in there mama! You’re doing a wonderful job!
Aneesa Nawaz says
Being a new parent is one of the most rewarding experiences you can have, and watching your baby grow and learn is one of the best. But once they start crawling, you can’t stop them. Moms are always looking for unique ways to keep their little ones entertained and engaged. One of the best things you can do for your baby is to provide them with a fun and safe environment, allowing them to explore their surroundings at their own pace.