Month 9: Top 10 Sensory Activities for your 9 month old

Month 9: Top 10 Sensory Activities for your 9 month old

Josh’s 9 Month Story

Zoooommmmm…. Did you see me?…. Zoooommmmm… Faster than mommy express.. Faster than a speeding daddy bullet.. they call me.. J-Flash!

Today’s challenge for J-Flash is to find the hidden snake in these giant mountains that stand before me. Climbing these mountains is a small feat for a superhero like me. For I will crawl up… and then down.. and up and down and along the way manage to check out all the caves for the angry bear 😉

I will keep on zooming until I find him. Time waits for no man. Until next month.

Lots of smiles,
JFlash aka Josh

 

Spending quality time with your baby is one of the most important things you can do. Quality time bundled with creative activities will help stimulate your child’s development.

The fictional story (above) introduced us to Josh’s homemade activities. The cushions acted as mountains and tents turned into caves. Be creative!

Try  this month’s activities to help your baby explore and learn as they play.

What to expect from your 9 month old baby

  • Motor Development:
    – Your baby loves moving around. Provide them with lots of opportunities to crawl, stand or cruise the furniture.
    – Changing positions is becoming easier: for example from tummy to back or to sitting.
    – Your baby may be pulling up to stand while holding on to the furniture.
    – Whenever possible allow your baby to walk/cruise barefoot. This allows better development of the muscles and tendons in their feet.
    – Your little one is now sitting unsupported.
    – Your baby is exploring objects around them through the use of their hands and mouth.
    – Their hand coordination improves as they are able to easier manipulate their toys.
    – They may be able to use their pincer grasp (use of thumbs and fingers) to pick up small objects and toys.
  • Communication Development:
    – You may hear lots of babbling from your baby. You may be lucky to hear ‘mama or dada’
    – Your little one’s understanding skills are also improving. As you ask ‘Where is Mama?’ they may be able to point to you or crawl over to you.
    – They may also start to use gestures to communicate their needs e.g. reach hands up to be picked up.
  • Social Development:
    –  You may also notice some separation anxiety at this age.

Sensory Activities for a Healthy Lifestyle

1. Crawling on various surfaces

Crawling uphills

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Body awareness, strengthening of shoulders, arms, developing arches in their hands (required for fine motor skills), coordination between right and left sides of the body Tactile, vestibular and proprioceptive senses

How to Play

As your baby strengthens their crawling skills you can try to push them further to continue strengthening their body through crawling.
The last few months I have included a variety of crawling activities that contained chasing things/people or exploring different textures. This month I encourage you to develop simple crawling obstacle courses. Just like in this month’s story.

These can include:

  • Crawling on unsteady surfaces such as trampolines, air mattresses or pillows.
  • Creating mounds or “hills” from pillows and blankets. Then have them crawl around on them. Going up and down.
  • You can play hide and seek, chase them around on all fours or have them follow their favorite or a random toy/object while crawling on top of the “hills”.

2. Messy play: Fun with Jell-O

Jello play

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Fine motor skills, body awareness and hand eye coordination Tactile sense

How to Play

This is such a fun game to do with your little one. You can do this activity either outside or inside. Either way it is best to put some kind of a splash mat under them to limit the mess. If warm enough I would recommend keeping your baby in their diaper to let them explore the texture freely without freaking out about their clothes getting dirty. This is completely up to you though.
Once the prep is done simply sit them on to the mat with the Jell-O in front of them and let them explore. You can place it directly on the mat or a tray. They may approach it head on and jump into exploring the texture or they may be slow to explore. Either is fine. If they are slow to explore just provide some encouragement by showing them it’s ok to play in it.
You can also add straws and different sized containers that they can use to poke through the Jell-O. They may even find it fun to crawl around in it.

3. Lets shake it all around

Shaker

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Grasping, object manipulation and hand eye coordination Auditory, visual and proprioceptive senses

How to Play

Equipment needed: Tupperware containers (various sizes), plastic bottles, items to be placed inside containers (these can include: dry pasta, rice, beans, water beads, hard candy, bells or small toys).

Encourage your baby to explore different sounds and improve their manipulation skills by shaking a variety of home made rattles/shakers.
Simply choose a container and place objects inside (ideas provided above) that make sound when shaken. To avoid any choking hazards ensure that containers are securely taped or glued.

Once completed let your baby explore and play music.

4. Grab and drop

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Gasping, hand eye coordination, crossing midline, weight shift and balance Tactile, visual, vestibular and proprioceptive senses

How to Play

In month 8 of this activity series I spoke about a tracking and reaching activity. This month I want to move it to the next level.

Have your baby seated on the floor. Place a large container in front of them as well as toys on both right and left sides.
1. Have your baby pick up objects from either side and then drop them into a container.
2. Encourage your baby to reach across their bodies to pick up an object on the opposite side. This is called crossing the midline (the invisible line in the middle of their body). Then have them drop the toy into the container.
3. Once all the toys are collected they can dump them all out and repeat.
4. Simultaneously you can encourage object exploration as you repeat the game with toys, balls, kitchen instruments, blocks etc.

5. Messy play: Flour play

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Fine motor skills and hand eye coordination Tactile sense

How to Play

This is just as simple as it sounds. Place some flour on a tray or on the floor and have your little one explore this texture.

You can also add some cars or animal toys that they can ride or walk through.

6. Humpty Dumpty

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Balance, strengthening of shoulder and arm Vestibular, tactile and proprioceptive senses

How to Play

The objective of this game is to help develop your baby’s balancing skills while in a seated position.
To start off, sit behind your baby and hold them by their hips. Then move their weight to one side. As you pull them off balance you want your baby to place their hand on that side for support. If they are unable to position their hand provide them with some guidance.
Repeat this with the opposite side as well as forward and back.

To make this game more fun you can add the ‘Humpty Dumpty’ nursery rhyme to it.
‘Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall’

As you say the words ‘fall’ move them off balance as described above.

7. Ziplock painting on a flat surface

Ziplock painting

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Hand skills and hand eye coordination Visual and tactile senses

How to Play

Equipment needed: large zip lock bag, variety of paint colors and masking tape

1. Open up the zip lock bag and place a few drops of different colored paints inside.
2. Close the bag and secure it with masking tape. To avoid any paint spillage place the masking tape on both top and the bottom edges.
3. You can place the bag either on the floor or on a tray of a high chair.
4. Let your little one explore. They can squish and move the paint around mixing the colors.

8. Reach for the sky

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Body awareness, strengthening of shoulders, arms, developing arches in their hands (required for fine motor skills), coordination between right and left sides of the body, balance, grasping, hand eye coordination and motor planning (ability to conceptualize, plan and carry out an unfamiliar task) Visual, proprioceptive, tactile and vestibular

How to Play

The main objective of this activity is for your baby to reach for hanging toys with one of their hands while on their hands and knees. This position will encourage your baby to shift their weight onto one hand while reaching with the other.

1. Find toys that can be attached to a string. These can include bells, shakers, rattles etc.
2. Then attach them to objects that they can crawl under. These can include dining tables, work desks, tree branches or large boxes that your little one can crawl into.
3. Then let your baby loose to try to crawl to and reach for each toy. Make sure that each toy is high enough so your little one needs to stretch to get it.

9. Get grabbing!

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Fine motor skills Tactile and proprioceptive senses

How to Play

As your baby continues to develop their gasping skills make sure you provide them with opportunities to grasp and manipulate a variety of different objects. Variety can be in size, shape and weight. This will strengthen both their tactile and proprioceptive sensory systems. As well as teach them how to problem solve their grasping skills.

At this age your baby is starting to learn how to use their thumb and pointer finger to grasp smaller objects. The safest way to practice this grasp is by providing your little one different types of finger foods such as peas, diced cooked carrots, small pieces of cheese etc

You can also provide smaller sized toys but make sure you ALWAYS SUPERVISE to avoid choking.

10. Squigz grab & pull

Squigz baby play

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Gasping, wrist extension and hand strength Tactile and proprioceptive senses

How to Play

If you haven’t heard of Squigz then you could potentially be missing out on many fun memories. I use these frequently with toddlers and older kids but babies can get some fun in as well. Squigz is a suction toy that can be attached to various surfaces or to each other. I recommend the large size for our babies to eliminate a choking hazard. For more information check out the Squigz details.
With our young babies we can use them to develop their hand strength.
Simply stick them to a small table or a high chair tray. Then watch them grasp and try to pull them off. You can also have them seated near a window and have them try to pull them off.

Remember that our 9 month old still loves to explore objects with their mouth. This means that these Squigz will quickly end up in their mouths, so you should always supervise your baby to avoid choking.

Occupational Therapy Tip:
Working on a vertical surface, such as a window in this case, strengthens muscles in your baby’s shoulders and wrist. These are important for many fine motor skills such as writing and cutting.

Summary:

So there you have it. My top 10 Sensory Activities for your 9 month old that you can do today to help their development.

These are just a few activities that are bound to spark other ideas. Just remember that every new sensory experience is helping your child’s growth and development.

Remember: Each baby develops at their own pace. If your child is not ready or not interested in these months’ activities, just try them again in a few weeks.

~ Urszula

Disclaimer: The activities in this blog are intended for sensory play. They are not a replacement for treatment of children with Sensory Processing Disorder, are not medical advice and should not be used in place of the care of a medical doctor or other qualified healthcare professional. These activities should be facilitated and supervised by an adult. All activities are to be performed at your own risk and in no event shall Sensory Lifestyle be liable for any damages.

❮ 8 month activities < 10 month activities ❯
Month 13: Top 10 Sensory Activities for your 13 month old

Month 13: Top 10 Sensory Activities for your 13 month old

 

Josh’s 13 month Story:

Drum di di dam dam fingers and hands!! Drumming along drum di di dam dam with fingers and hands! Music creation in progress using fingers and hands.. colorful plastic containers drumming drum di di dam dam! Drumming containers full of color. Green, red, yellow… Drum di di dam dam drumming along.

Wait….Space the final frontier is calling me to explore further.. Drum di di dam dam the drum goes on my head. Like a space helmet! Drum di di dam dam.. Oh… how fun! Time to explore…

Until next month…. Lots of smiles,

Josh

 

Exploring bowls

As you see it is very important to provide your little one with opportunities for free play. You never know what they will come up with. Through free play you can encourage creativity and imagination. Creativity helps them to become better problem solvers. They will be starting to be adaptable, flexible and original in their thinking. As they become older and gain more skills this will become more complex. This is a great place to start though.

Top 10 Sensory Activities

Your 13 month old is continuing to explore and experiment with the surrounding environment. Below are some ideas that you can try with them to keep strengthening many of their developing skills. As always they have been tried and tested.

1. Messy Play: Edible sensory tub

Cornflakes

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Hand skills, self-feeding skills, hand eye coordination and bilateral coordination Tactile and visual senses

How to play

What to put into your sensory tub? You should definitely use food items that you’d be ok with your toddler consuming. It can be anything from corn flakes, oats, cheerios etc.

Initially let your little one explore with their hands. As they move their hands through it they can explore the textures. Then slowly introduce a variety of containers that they can use for scooping and pouring. I would also recommend giving them some of their spoons. Using a spoon can be a great practice to gain some self-feeding skills as they become more familiar with how to manipulate it.

2. Pick up squats

Squatting

Skills Developed Tactile Senses
Balance, strengthening of their core and leg muscles, motor planning (ability to conceptualize, plan and carry out an unfamiliar task) Vestibular, tactile and proprioceptive senses

How to play

This activity aims at encouraging squatting while strengthening their legs and core. What you basically have to have are toys or objects motivating enough to pick up and something to put them in. I recommend anything that has a handle and can be pushed around. Examples include a kids’ stroller, a shopping trolley or a wagon. The handles, if necessary, can provide extra support while squatting.

Then, all you have to do is spread the objects/toys on the floor and encourage your little one to pick them up while squatting and then get up and place them in their wagon or trolley.

3. Ball time

Playing with balls

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Hand eye coordination, visual tracking and balance Tactile, proprioceptive and visual senses

How to play

Balls, balls and more balls. There are so many to choose from. Your options range from different sizes, colors, textures and some may even make sounds. Because of this they can be very motivating to play with. At this age it’s best to use larger balls.

For those that can stand and/or walk, kicking can be motivating. Simply place the ball in front of them and let them kick it forward. It’s a great practice for them to learn to shift their weight and practice their balance skills.

Throwing can also be lots of fun and can be done both sitting down and standing up. You can provide them with a target to shoot at such as a box, baby pool, laundry basket or simply just let them throw it to you.

Remember: This is not about accuracy, but to start to learn how to throw or kick forward.

4. Pop!!

Bubble wrap

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Hand skills, finger isolation, finger strengthening and eye hand coordination Tactile and proprioceptive senses

How to play

Simply grab some bubble wrap and let your little one pop it. I like to use the large bubble wrap as it makes it more achievable for them to pop it. Also if you stick it to a surface such as a table or a cardboard box it makes it easier for them to pop it. If you notice that this is too easy for them, you can grade it up by unsticking the bubble wrap from the surface, then let them manipulate it in their hands while trying to pop it.

5. On all fours

Crawling at 13 months

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Strengthening of shoulders, arms, wrists and knees, motor planning Proprioceptive and tactile senses

How to play

I know I have been providing you with many ideas that focus on strengthening those legs to help with walking. I do however want to throw a crawling activity in here. This is because even though your little one is walking, crawling is still very beneficial. While crawling your little one is putting weight on their hands, which strengthens their shoulders and arms. This is important when completing any fine motor activity.

As walking is really exciting to them now you need to find ways to make crawling just as exciting. Some ideas include crawling through a variety of different tunnels. They can include a store bought tunnel or one made from a bed sheet that has been draped over two chairs or you can create one from cardboard boxes that have tunnel doors cut out in them. You can also try to play chase with them while crawling. Anything goes as long as they are crawling on hands and knees.

6. Fun with pipe cleaners

This is a great activity to get your little one started on bilateral coordination. This is the ability to control both sides of their body in a controlled manner. An example is the ability to stabilize an object with one hand and perform a separate action with their second hand. This can be observed while cutting, writing, eating etc.

Pipe cleaner & colander

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Bilateral integration, hand eye coordination Tactile and visual senses

How to play

The main purpose of this activity is to get your little one to coordinate their two hands. It mainly includes them taking out pipe cleaners from the holes found on a colander. We want to encourage them to hold the colander with one hand and pull out the pipe cleaners with the other hand. The best way to do it is if you thread one pipe cleaner through two holes. This ensures that unless they hold the colander, they will not be able to take it out.

Your little one might also be trying to put them back in the hole. That’s great but don’t expect accuracy yet as it is quite challenging for this age.

7. Paper plate shaker

 

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Hand skills including manipulation of a writing instrument, understanding of concepts (loud & quiet) Auditory and tactile senses

How to play

For this activity you will do most of the structural work.

Equipment needed: 2 white paper plates, dry beans, stapler, crayons or dot markers.

  1. Let your little one decorate the plates. Let them scribble all over the two plates. The goal is to have fun and have them become familiar with holding a writing instrument. You can even encourage them to paint some dots with the dot markers.
  2. Once the decoration has been completed place some dry beans onto one of the plates. Then cover it up with the second decorated plate and staple it all around. Make sure there are no large gaps that the beans can fall through.
  3. Your paper plate shaker is now decorated and assembled. It is now time to hand it back to your little one so they can shake it all around.
  4. You can also start introducing the quiet and loud concepts as you and they shake the plate softly and then loudly.

8. Up, down and around

Vestibular fun

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Body awareness Vestibular sense

How to play

This is a collection of a few activities that focus on stimulating the vestibular sense. This is important as the vestibular sense promotes body awareness and it lets them know how their body is moving.

You can do vestibular activities anywhere. You can do them in your home, backyard or a playground.

Some examples include:

  • Swinging
  • Going down a slide
  • Lifting them up
  • Tipping their head down
  • Bouncing on a large ball. You can change the tempo from fast to slow. Bounce them up & down or sway them side to side.
  • While they are in your arms moving them around in one direction and then the other.

9. In and Out

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Hand skills, hand eye coordination and spatial relationships (understanding of how objects relate to one another and to the space around them) Visual and tactile senses

How to play

It is time to move the dumping and scooping activities to the next level. Now we want your little one to start thinking about positioning objects correctly in order to fit them together. This will allow them placing items into narrower containers.

First, gather numerous containers that are of various sizes and shapes. Try to include narrower openings as well.

Then, encourage your little one to place objects into the containers. These can include straws, pipe cleaners that have been cut into smaller pieces, cocktail stirrers etc.

Lastly, your little one will have to figure out how to retrieve those objects by purposefully turning it upside down.

10. Obstacle course

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Balance, motor planning (ability to conceptualize, plan and carry out an unfamiliar task), body awareness, bilateral coordination, hand and shoulder strength, core strength, trunk control and visual skills Proprioception, vestibular, tactile and visual senses

How to play

Let’s get working on your little one’s motor control. Obstacle courses can be so much fun. At this age it may include a series of motor activities that are guided by you. The focus of this obstacle course is really to strengthen their bodies so they have better motor control when it comes to different transitions. We would want to see smoother movements when it comes to sit-to-stand and stand-to-sit transitions. See better balance when kneeling and walking.

Here is an example of an obstacle course that you can use.

  • Tunnel: Have your little one crawl through a tunnel and pick up large pom poms laid out in it
  • Let’s get sticky: After coming out of the tunnel with the pom poms, your little one can stick them on either a strip of Velcro stuck on the wall or a piece of contact paper with a sticky side up attached to the wall. You can make this high enough so they need to stand or low enough so they can either sit or squat to complete the task.
  • Sledding: Have your little one sit on a towel or a sleeping bag. Then you can slide them around the room. They can either sit or lay down during this activity.
  • Ball rolling: Have your little one kneel down in front of a cardboard box or a low table and roll a ball off it. The ball can be rolled to you or it can end up in a laundry basket or a box.

As you see I was trying to include activities that include laying, sitting, crawling, kneeling, standing and walking. You can repeat these activities numerous times or add your own. Practicing all these motor transitions will help them to become stronger and more confident.

Summary

There you have it. My top 10 Sensory Activities for your 13 month old. These are bound to spark up other ideas. Let me know what activities you have tried in the comments section below.

Remember: Each toddler develops at their own pace. If your child is not ready or not interested in this month’s activities, just try them again in a few weeks.

~ Urszula

Disclaimer: The activities in this blog are intended for sensory play. They are not a replacement for treatment of children with Sensory Processing Disorder, are not medical advice and should not be used in place of the care of a medical doctor or other qualified healthcare professional. These activities should be facilitated and supervised by an adult. All activities are to be performed at your own risk and in no event shall Sensory Lifestyle be liable for any damages.

❮ 12 month activities 14 month activities ❯
Month 22: Top 10 Sensory Activities for your 22 month toddler

Month 22: Top 10 Sensory Activities for your 22 month toddler

Josh’s story:

Uncle… Snow… Car… Uncle!! Yap my uncle rolled into town and we decided to make the most of it. Living in California gives us the luxury to be at the beach one day and at the snow the next. Booyah!

I’ve been warned about this new big word SNOW. Not only how beautiful it is but also how cold it can be and why those mittens must stay on. Like I’m going to listen to my parents 😉 Then we arrived. To Yosemite. And boy was it beautiful. Ok so mum was definitely right about that. I escaped the clutches of the car and made a run for the deepest snow I could see. The snow made this funny crunchy noise under my feet. I heard mum call out something about M but hey it’s SNOW. Let’s play. I dived and buried my hands into the snow. Ohhhh such a strange texture. This is fun. My hands disappeared into the snow. Yippee..

Then it struck me. A cold feeling in my hands. Sharp. Eeekkkk I screeched. I looked back at mum with a concern on my face and only then noticed she was running with MITTENS. Ah! That’s what she was calling out to me for. The mittens to keep my hands warm. Snow is cold. As mum prepped me with mittens I felt a relief, warmth and the pain faded away. That was an experience!

Uncle came running with a device he referred to as the sled. Supposedly it’s an on-demand transport device for the snow. He grabbed me and whisked me away up a hill. Yap as I expected, we were going for a ride in this sled. And boy oh boy was it fun! At the bottom of the hill, I looked up at Uncle and yelled “AGAIN!”

Until next month, Lots of smiles

Josh

Snow day

Sensory Play Activities

1. Explore in nature

Outdoors at 22 months

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Visual perception skills, fine motor skills, gross motor skills and motor planning (ability to conceptualize, plan and carry out an unfamiliar task), body awareness, bilateral coordination and hand eye coordination ALL Senses

How to Play

Outdoors is a whole new playground for your toddler. Make sure you get them on the ground so they can get involved with what they see around.

Make sure you allow plenty of time for exploration and don’t rush them. Remember that for them it’s not about the destination but the journey.

Let them pick up sticks, rocks and examine different leaves. Let them explore the puddles or rivers. Let them climb on tree trunks, observe the bugs, dig holes, practice their balance as they walk across a log or simply run around.

Let them discover the forest and all the amazing things that nature can provide.

2. Colored rice play

Play with rice

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Fine motor skills, hand eye coordination, attention and imagination Visual, tactile and proprioceptive senses

How to Play

Coloring rice is super easy.

  1. Place rice into small plastic containers or a zip lock bag
  2. Add food coloring to each container
  3. Shake, shake, shake to mix up the rice with that color
  4. Open the container and let it dry out
  5. Rice is colored and ready to be played with

Once the rice is ready you can place it into a large plastic container and let your toddler explore and experiment. If you place the rice without mixing the colors they will have fun seeing the colors mix. They will get a new fun sensation on their hands as they swish and swirl and move it all around in different directions.

You can also add a variety of spoons, sticks and containers to the mix. They can fill and dump the rice. Feel the weight in the containers. You can also start to encourage some pretend play. Maybe they will cook you something for dinner?

Let them explore and see what they come up with.

3. Kitchen Fun

Kitchen fun

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Motor skills (fine and gross motor skills), language skills, social skills (if playing with other kids), attention, imagination & creativity Tactile, visual, auditory, vestibular and proprioceptive senses

How to Play

This is a great activity for both girls and boys. It is also a great tool to encourage pretend play. As your toddler continues to develop you will notice that their pretend play gets more complex. It starts off by them imitating you using your phone or brushing their hair. It then becomes more complex as they go off to make some food or put a baby doll to sleep after they’ve changed their diaper.

Having a pretend kitchen allows them to go through many of those stages. Initially they may just play with pots, pans and food. Then later they can start making specific meals. Maybe use the oven or the stove. Whisk, mix, cut and pour their ingredients.

Through this play you can encourage more language use as well as give them a chance to get creative with their play.

Remember: You don’t have to have those fancy, expensive kitchens. You can modify your tables or make the kitchen out of boxes. Anything goes!

4. Stamping

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Hand eye coordination, bilateral coordination, attention and fine motor skills (grasping and manipulating) Tactile and visual senses

How to Play

Set up: To control the mess, place a small damp sponge in a small container and then squirt some paint on it. It’s not necessary but it helps to contain the paint and reduces the slipping of the stamps.

When stamping you can choose any background. It can be a cut out of a leaf, a flower or simply a white background.

There are a variety of stamps available from Dollar Stores and online. You can pick seasonal stamps, animal stamps or character stamps.

Then teach your toddler to place the stamp into the paint and then onto the paper. Once they have grasped the concept let them get creative and come up with their unique art piece.

5. Jumping

Jumping

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Body awareness, balance, coordination, leg strength, motor planning (ability to conceptualize, plan and carry out an unfamiliar task) Vestibular, proprioceptive, visual and tactile senses

How to Play

In order for your toddler to get jumping there are many skills that they have to master. They have to have developed good strength and balance needed to jump without falling. In preparation for this skill you should provide your toddler with opportunities to do lots of climbing on playground structures or on furniture. Get them playing and running on various surfaces such as grass, gravel, sand, mattresses, and so on.

When your toddler is getting ready to practice this skill you may notice them pushing off with only one foot. The jump might look like a very awkward skip instead.

Things you can do to help them practice jumping and gain confidence:

  • Teach them to first bend their knees and propel themselves up as they keep their feet together.
  • Jumping down from small steps such as bottom of the stairs or a curb. You may need to start off by holding their hands when jumping.
  • You may want to let your toddler bounce on the bed or a small trampoline.
  • You can see if your toddler can pretend that they are jumping like a kangaroo, a bunny or a frog. Make sure you play the game with them so they can see what you are asking them to do.

6. Oobleck Fun

Oobleck

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Body awareness (hands) and hand eye coordination skills Tactile senses

How to Play

Looking for some tactile fun to do with your toddler? Look no further… oobleck is here. Oobleck was inspired by the book, Bartholomew and the Oobleck by Dr. Seuss.

It is considered a non-Newtonian fluid. What this means is that you can press it together into a solid ball but it quickly turns into a liquid and can ooze through your hand.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of Corn Starch
  • 1 cup of Water
  • Food coloring (optional)

What to do

  1. In a bowl, combine the corn starch and water.
  2. Once combined, add the food coloring and mix well.

If you are not sure if it is the correct consistency, here is a little hint. You want to be able to make a solid ball in your hand that changes and oozes as soon as you open your hand.

If it’s too dry, add a couple of table spoons of water.

If it’s too wet or runny, add a couple of table spoons of corn starch.

Once it’s ready… let your toddler explore with their hands and maybe add some spoons or sifters/baskets for some extra fun.

If your child does not like to get messy, have towels ready to clean their hands or provide tools that they can use instead of their hands.

Cleaning Tip: Once dry, it can be easily wiped of.

7. Tactile Fish

Tactile fish

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Fine motor skills, hand eye coordination and bilateral skills Tactile senses

How to Play

You may have noticed that I started to include a combination of tactile activities that include both edible and non-edible ingredients. I do that so that your toddler starts to learn that some gooey things should not be eaten. Just in case, make sure that all ingredients used are still non toxic.

For this activity I wanted to start using glue. Liquid school glue will do.

I’m not a great artist so I thought that drawing a fish could be quite simple. Hence, the theme for this activity.

Equipment needed: Elmer’s glue, paintbrush, small scraps of material and a picture of a fish (drawn or printed off the internet).

Simply pour some glue onto a small dish. Let your toddler then use the paintbrush to place glue on the fish and then paste the fun, tactile material scraps onto it.

You may need to demonstrate these steps to them first. Have fun and enjoy this fun, tactile art project.

8. Blowing: whistles

There are many benefits to letting your toddler explore a variety of whistles. Through blowing, your toddler gets to work on their oral motor skills. They get to practice how to coordinate their lips, cheeks and jaw with airflow. Their muscle tone gets strengthened. They build awareness of their mouth, tongue, lips and jaw. Overall this is a great activity that strengthens your toddler’s muscles and builds coordination.

Oral motor activities also have benefits related to speech, feeding, respiration and regulation.

Additionally, whistles that have moving objects on them can encourage visual tracking. We also can’t forget that by playing with whistles your toddler gets to work on their hand skills and hand eye coordination skills.

Some examples of whistles:

Tommy Toot: A great beginner toy as it requires little air to work. It works on both inhales and exhales. It is easy to hold and manipulate.

Ambi Trumpet: Also a great beginner whistle that helps to develop strength in blowing.

Harmonica: Easy to use and withstands biting. Encourages hand use and varied air flow as it produces softer or louder sounds depending on the amount of air flow.

Soft toot train: A fun whistle that makes a nice, mellow train sound. It also withstands biting for those toddlers learning to use a whistle or who need extra stability through the jaw. This whistle also encourages grading of air flow as it produces changes in tone and volume.

The canary whistle: One of my sons favorite whistles. It makes a fun sound and movement that is reinforcing. As the bird moves in the cage it encourages visual tracking. If you pull on the red stick it also changes the sound and encourages hand eye coordination.

Kazoo: A great toy that produces vibration from the humming which stimulates the lips. As the kazoo works differently from the traditional whistle. you may need to demonstrate its use to your toddler. A great strategy is to start to hum and then put the kazoo to your mouth and keep humming. You can even let them touch it and they will feel the vibration.

9. Hitting a suspended balloon

Suspended balloon play

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Hand eye coordination, motor planning and visual skills Visual senses

How to Play

A great activity to develop your toddler’s hand eye coordination skills. Simply tie a balloon to a long string and attach it to the ceiling. I used a removable wall hook but you can also use masking tape.

Then give your toddler a bat and let them swing away. I used a small piece of a pool noodle as a bat.

10. Window art

Window art

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Fine motor skills (grasping of a writing tool), hand eye coordination, understanding directionality concepts (awareness of spatial position such as right, left, up and down) Tactile, visual and proprioceptive senses

How to Play

At this age you don’t really have to worry about making sure they do a lot of drawing activities that include writing instruments. All the activities in this blog are building the required foundations for writing skills. Activities from climbing playground structures develop the strong core required for proper sitting at the table. Manipulating activities with beads, pegs and all the tactile activities assist with developing great hand skills required for writing.

It is fun however from time to time to pull out some writing instruments so your toddlers get a chance to experiment. Of course the frequency may also depend on your toddler’s interest. Just follow their lead and don’t force them to do anything they are not ready to do. Remember, you want to make sure this is fun to them.

For some variety from the standard paper on the table activity, I decided to shake it up a bit. This activity is done on a vertical surface (window) and your toddler can draw using window crayons.

Occupational Therapy Tips:

  • Working on a vertical surface, such as a window in this case, strengthens muscles in your toddler’s shoulders and wrist. Those are important for many fine motor skills such as writing and cutting.
  • Your toddler may be ready to imitate forming lines (vertical & horizontal) and scribbling in circular directions.
  • Use directionality words when drawing these such as up, down, and round and round.
  • You can use your voice or songs to help children with forming these lines.
    • You can use “The wheels on the bus go round and round” when drawing in circular direction, or
    • “Let’s draw some rain! Start at the top and go down, down, down” when drawing vertical lines, or
    • “Let’s draw a train! Chugga, chugga , chugga… choo choo” when drawing horizontal lines

Below are pictures of typical grasp patterns. The top two grasps (Palmar-Supinate Grasp and Digital-Pronate Grasp) is what you will most likely see from your toddler.

pencil grasp types

Summary

There you have it. My top 10 Sensory Activities for your 22 month old toddler. These are bound to spark up other ideas. Let me know what activities you have tried in the comments section below.

Remember: Each toddler develops at their own pace. If your child is not ready or not interested in this month’s activities, just try them again in a few weeks.

~ Urszula

Disclaimer: The activities in this blog are intended for sensory play. They are not a replacement for treatment of children with Sensory Processing Disorder, are not medical advice and should not be used in place of the care of a medical doctor or other qualified healthcare professional. These activities should be facilitated and supervised by an adult. All activities are to be performed at your own risk and in no event shall Sensory Lifestyle be liable for any damages.

❮ 21 month activities < 23 month activities ❯
Month 12: Australian edition – Secret Top 10 Sensory Activities for your 12-month-old child

Month 12: Australian edition – Secret Top 10 Sensory Activities for your 12-month-old child

Josh’s  12 month Story:

This is my second month visiting my family in the beautiful Sydney, Australia. So far it’s been an adventure from chilling with the Koalas to chasing few Roos, Kangaroos. Today is Beach time. So much water… there is no end! To get to it, I had to cover a great distance of sun baked sand. Ready, steady…. Go! Feet in…hmmm… feels warm and soft. One step… kaboom. My legs collapsed and I landed in the sand. Crawling it is… off I go. Ooo it feels so nice. I think I will play here for a while….. Legs go in and out, hands go in and out. Let’s see how far I can throw it….. oooppps it landed all over me.

Whooosh…. Look, the water reached my toes. That was a big and loud wave. I think it might be time to explore the water. DAD!!! Let’s go swimming!!

Until next month

Lots of smiles, Josh

 

Playing on the beach

Wherever you are, make sure you expose your 12 month old to a stimulating environment. The environment should provide access to different stimuli and be rich with music, language, different textures and be sure to provide opportunities for lots of movement. The beach is only one location but there are many parks, playgrounds, farms etc.

What to expect from your 12 month old

One year on and so much incredible growth and development has happened. Your once helpless newborn has now transformed to a little person who is mobile and so much more independent.

Here are a few things that you may see your 12 month old do:

– Mobility:

  • Your 12 month old is able to creep or crawl
  • Is able to sit independently
  • Pulls self up to stand
  • Walks holding on to furniture
  • Can stand alone
  • May have taken their first steps

– Hand skills: Your little one’s hand skills are continually improving. At 12 months your baby should be able to point and/or poke things with their pointer finger. They should be able to use pincer grasp (thumb and pointer finger) to pick up things. They should be able to put things into a container and then take them out. They will also finger feed themselves and start getting better at using a spoon.

– Communication: Your baby is learning language by imitating you. You may hear a few words like ‘Mama’, “Dada’, ‘no’. To keep increasing their language skills make sure you speak to them continually throughout the day. Describe daily tasks or activities that are happening around them. Make sure you remember to read to your little one daily. They may also be using their pointer finger and use pointing as one of their means of communicating with you.

– Social: Your little one may be testing their limits. You may be hearing ‘no’ on a regular basis. They may be starting to throw tantrums. You may also notice that your 12 month old might be shy or anxious towards certain people.

Sensory Activities for a Healthy Sensory Lifestyle

Your little one has become a little explorer and is gaining many new skills at a very fast pace. Here are some ideas that you can try with your 12 month old. As always they have been tried and tested.

1. Free play and exploration

Exploring at 12 months

 

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Problem solving, creativity, fine motor skills, gross motor skills, motor planning (ability to conceptualize, plan and carry out an unfamiliar task), visual skills Opportunity to target ALL senses

How to play

One year olds love to explore. Providing them with opportunities to free play and explore their environment and objects encourages curiosity and also fosters creativity.

Note: Ensure that you have baby proofed your house so that your one year old can explore in a safe environment.

Ideas to get you started:

  • Your one year old can have access to cabinets that are filled with unbreakable containers, pots & pans.
  • They can maybe have access to drawers that have wooden spoons, whisks, spatulas etc (nothing sharp!)
  • Let them play with clean laundry
  • Toy wagons, strollers and shopping carts are also great
  • You can’t go wrong with a box of blocks

See what incredible things they can come up with. They might look and explore the object. They might shake it, bang it, drop it, poke it or put things inside of it. Any of the above ideas are great in encouraging imagination and creativity as there is more than just way to play with it.

2.Water play

Water Play

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Hand skills, hand eye coordination, bilateral coordination Tactile and proprioceptive senses

How to play

This activity is great for any season. It doesn’t matter if it’s summer or winter. During summer you can play outside. You can play in water parks or fill up a water table, a baby swimming pool or simply a large container with water. In winter your baby can play in sinks or in bathtubs.

Some ideas for play:

  • Let them splash around in it
  • Use a stick to twirl and splash the water
  • Sink and dunk a variety of water toys
  • Play fill and empty with a variety of containers

3. Clean Painting

Clean Painting

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Hand skills (finger isolation and strengthening of the muscles in the wrist), hand eye coordination, bilateral integration Visual and tactile senses

How to play

Equipment needed: large zip lock bag, variety of paint colors and masking tape

  1. Open up the zip lock bag and place a few drops of different colored paints inside.
  2. Close the bag and stick it to a vertical surface. To make it nice and secure I placed the masking tape on both top and the bottom edges.
  3. Place it high enough on the vertical surface to encourage your 12-month-old to stand up. This will strengthen his core and leg muscles, which are important for walking and standing up unsupported.

Occupational Therapy Tip:

  • Completing this activity on the vertical surface strengthens muscles in their shoulders and in their wrist. Those are important for many fine motor skills including writing and cutting.
  • Encourage your 12 month old to hold on to the zip lock bag with the other hand. This encourages bilateral integration (use of two hands).

4. Introduction of concepts

This is a great time to start introducing concepts. During play start talking to your little one about different concepts.

Some ideas for concepts:

  • Up
  • Down
  • On top
  • Underneath
  • In between
  • In front
  • Behind
  • Big
  • Small
  • Same
  • Different

As you play choose a few of the above concepts. You can play with animals for example. Start off by having them dancing on top of the table. Then they all jump down and start dancing under the table.

Another idea is while playing with blocks you can build a big tower. Then build a small tower.

Make sure that you repeat those concepts on many different occasions. Have fun on implementing the concepts not only with the toys but in the outside world. You can talk about big and small cars on the road. Cars going over and under the bridge. Examples are everywhere around us and repetition is the key here.

5. Messy Play: Gelatin sensory tub

Gelatin play at 12 month

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Hand skills, hand eye coordination and bilateral coordination Tactile and visual senses

How to play

Once you have purchased the Gelatin follow the instructions on the box on how to make it.

Then simply cut it into small cubes and place it into a ‘sensory tub’ or what I also call a plastic container.

You can then let your little one run wild and explore the textures and shapes with their hands or even feet. You can also add a variety of containers, spoons and cups for extra creativity and experimentation.

Occupational Therapy Tip:

If you place the container on a raised surface it will encourage your little one to stand up. This will strengthen their core and leg muscles, which are important for walking and standing unsupported.

6. Magnet Play

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Language, concept understanding, hand skills and hand eye coordination Tactile, auditory and visual skills

How to play

You may have noticed a trend throughout this post. I try to include many activities that encourage your little one to stand while playing. This is important to work on strengthening both their core and leg muscles. This in turn will help with their balance and walking skills.

To get you started, place magnets on your fridge. High enough to get your little one to stand. I like shapes or animals as you can simultaneously work on concepts, language and creativity.

With shapes you can talk about colors, shapes and start building things from it. A snowman, a tree, a house… anything really.

With animal magnets you can create stories about each animal and have them moving it from one place to the next.

7. Lets get sticky

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Hand skills, hand strength and hand eye coordination Tactile and proprioceptive senses

How to play

Equipment needed: Contact paper, large container (turned upside down) and items that you don’t mind sticking to the contact paper.

So, here is what you have to do. Attach the contact paper, sticky side up, onto the large container.

Then, stick few objects to it and let your little one explore. They will get a chance to explore the sticky and non sticky feeling. They will also be learning that some items can be pulled away easily and some will require much more force. This will give them a chance to use their proprioceptive sense.

8. Pom pom drop

pom pom drop

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Hand skills, hand eye coordination and attention Visual senses

How to Play

This is a fun game with minimum set up. Simply attach an empty paper tube onto a wall with some tape holding it in place. Then grab some pom poms and let your toddler practice their hand eye coordination skills as they drop the pom pom through the hole. They will then watch with excitement as it comes out through the bottom end. First you can place the tube vertically. As your little one gets proficient with this position you can vary it by changing up the angles for an additional challenge.

9. Indoor sandbox

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Fine motor skills and hand eye coordination skills Tactile and visual senses

How to play

This activity can get messy but it is also easy to clean up. Depending what you can find in your supermarket you can use any of the following grains for this activity: fine cut oats, cream of wheat, wheat farina or semolina. Main part is to ensure that it is a very fine grain to make it close to feeling like sand.

Place it into a large container with a splash mat underneath it. First let your little one explore the texture with their hands. Then add some toys or cups and spoons to the mix. They can keep strengthening and developing their hand skills as well as use their imagination to explore.

10. Cruising around

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Balance and weight shift (required for walking) Vestibular, tactile and proprioceptive senses

How to play

This is a great activity for those little ones that have not yet mastered the skill of walking. Cruising the furniture (holding on to the furniture as they walk sideways) is a very important skill that teaches some foundational skills. These skills are essential for walking. As your child is cruising along the furniture they move their feet side to side. While doing this they are learning to keep their balance and they shift their weight.

To encourage this skill, spread some of their favorite toys out across a coffee table or a sofa and encourage your little one to reach for them. As the toys are spread out, this method will encourage them to step from one side of the coffee table/sofa to the other.

Summary:

So there you have it. My top 10 Sensory Activities for your 12 month old that you can do today to help their development.

These are just a few activities that are bound to spark other ideas. Just remember that every new sensory experience is helping your child’s growth and development.

Remember: Each baby develops at their own pace. If your child is not ready or not interested in this month’s activities, just try them again in a few weeks.

~ Urszula

Disclaimer: The activities in this blog are intended for sensory play. They are not a replacement for treatment of children with Sensory Processing Disorder, are not medical advice and should not be used in place of the care of a medical doctor or other qualified healthcare professional. These activities should be facilitated and supervised by an adult. All activities are to be performed at your own risk and in no event shall Sensory Lifestyle be liable for any damages.

❮ 11 month activities < 13 month activities ❯