We use our five senses on a daily basis to make sense of the world around us. We smell freshly baked bread, we see the sun rise, and we taste our morning coffee. While these senses may seem intuitive to us now, an infant is still learning to explore and adapt to new sensations.
Here are some infant developmental activities that you can do at home that help your little one explore their senses.
Touch: Tummy Time Hula Hoop
Keeping your infant entertained during tummy time is a wonderful way for them to work on strengthening their muscles and their hand-eye coordination skills at the same time. For this activity, you’ll need a hula hoop and some simple supplies that you can find at any craft store.
Take some knitting wool (different colors work great here!) and wrap it in a tight coil around the hula hoop, changing up the colors as you go and tying it off with a strong knot. For extra stimulation, add some textured ribbons, pom poms, plush toys, or crinkly fabric, attaching it securely to the hula hoop.
When it’s time for tummy time, let your child lie in the middle of the hula hoop. As they reach out and grab at the different textures, they’ll start to make mental connections between what they see and what they feel.
See: Directing Their Vision
Infants don’t have fully developed vision, and initially they can only focus on things that are close to them and eye catching. During playtime, make sure to keep your face almost level with theirs – this way they can match the sound of you speaking with your lips moving.
For this activity, you’ll want to have a colorful toy or two on hand. Pick up a toy and hold it close to them, letting their eyes snap to it. When the toy has their attention, you can move it around slowly. Their eyes will follow the toy, and, before long, their hands will want to follow!
Smell: Home Scent Tour
Infants won’t be able to smell a full range of scents just yet, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get them used to scents around the home.
You’ll find that sweet smells are going to be a favorite, so let them sniff at some soaps, fresh cookies, or citrus fruits. This is a great time to start expanding their vocabulary, too! Although they might not be speaking just yet, they’re listening closely to how you explain the world to them.
Children love stories. While an infant may not be able to understand every word that you’re saying, the intonation of your voice is telling a story on its own.
Babies love it when a voice is high pitched, exaggerated, and is accompanied by engaging physical actions. Telling the simplest of stories to your child helps them begin to understand that a change in pitch might mean you’re acting as a different character, enhancing their auditory skills and preparing them for conversation.
Taste: New Flavor Horizons
As your child starts to eat more solid food, you can begin to experiment with all sorts of flavors and textures to expand your child’s palate. Mushed banana, applesauce, and soft pears are all fruits that are sweet to the taste and serve to introduce a wider variety of healthy options into the diet. You can use this time to tell your child about each fruit’s taste or texture, passively working on their vocabulary.
Infant Sensory Development At Providence Children’s Academy
At Providence Children’s Academy, we believe all infant activities should promote fun learning and sensory development. Contact us today for a tour of our facility and see how we help children explore the world around them.