Month 5: Top 10 Sensory Activities for your 5 month old

Month 5: Top 10 Sensory Activities for your 5 month old

Josh’s 5 month story:

The dew lifted from the track as the sun rays peeked over the Californian mountains. There was a buzz of energy in the air. I’m pretty sure I could smell rubber warming up before the big race. Such is the life of a race car driver.

Dad lowered me into a red Ferrari Enzo sporting purple tires and the famous NAS77Y license plate. This was the legendary plate dad always rumbled on about. The plate dad had on his sports car down under. I get to sport it now.

Ah! a rumble and a deep roar of V8 muscle I hear. The engine has started. It’s purring Iike a perfectly tuned musical instrument. My mind focuses, sharp and alert. This is it. It’s happening! I plant my foot down hard with a scream of ecstasy and then.. “Ma! What the?! This ain’t a real car!”..

Until next month… Lots of smiles, Josh

Josh in a car

What to expect from your 5 month old

By the 5th month your baby will be going through more transitions. Here are a few things that you may see your 5 month old do:

  • Your 5 month old may start sitting unsupported for a few seconds at a time.
  • They may be able to now roll in both directions.
  • Your baby’s fine motor skills are developing. Their grasp is getting stronger. They can pull objects closer and pick them up. They can move the objects from one hand to the other.
  • You may notice your baby start doing some rocking on their hands and knees. This is a very important skill that will help them get ready for crawling and scooting, even though this skill is still a few months away.
  •  Your baby is babbling away. They may even start making sounds like ‘ba-ba, ma-ma, da –da’. As exciting as it is unfortunately they still don’t understand their meaning. It may take a couple of months before they are directed at you.
  • Your baby’s vision is continuing to improve. They may start to move their eyes without turning their head. This is the beginning of visual tracking. Visual tracking involves the ability to follow moving objects with smooth, coordinated eye movements. This skill is important for future reading and writing skills.

Sensory activities for a Healthy Sensory Lifestyle

Whenever you want to have some fun with your baby, try the below activities. Through play your baby gets to experience different sensations, which help your baby’s development both mentally and physically.

Here are my top 10 sensory activities for the 5th month of your baby’s life. These activities have been tried and tested.

1. Treasure box surprise

Treasure box surprise

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Hand development and eye hand coordination. Visual, tactile and proprioceptive senses.

How to play:

Gather random items from around the home to create a baby treasure box. Make sure that you choose objects appropriate and safe for your baby’s age.

They can explore the box’s contents while sitting in your lap. As you explore the treasures, make sure to talk to your baby about them. What is it? What does it do? Is it heavy/light? What color is it? Is it soft/hard/smooth/spikey?

Through playing and exploring a variety of objects, you help your baby’s hand development. As they play and interact with objects they practice many important skills. They learn how to grasp, hold, move and release an object. Through exploring objects of different shapes, sizes and weight, your baby is starting to strengthen all those important hand muscles. This play also activates both tactile and proprioceptive senses. Choosing how hard or how soft to grab something without squishing it is part of the proprioceptive sense. It is a skill that they take many more months to master, however the foundations can be built now.

Tip: Ensure you use age appropriate and safe toys and objects as most of them will end up in your baby’s mouth. Watch out for choking hazards.

2. Sensory bag fun

Sensory bag

Sensory bags are easy to make, and so fun!  Children of all ages can enjoy them and even young babies can have lots of fun exploring and learning.

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Reaching, grasping and eye hand coordination. Visual and tactile senses.

How to play:

To get you started, you will need some ziplock bags, packing tape and any ingredients that you want to put inside. As a base you can use shampoo, conditioner, lotion, water or hair gel. You can add food coloring for variety. Then let your imagination run wild. You can add anything that you want. Glitter, water beads, flowers, shells, googly eyes, bugs, pom poms, squishy toys, beads and so on.

Once you have created your bag use the packing tape to tape all the corners to avoid any unnecessary mess.

Best way to explore is while your little one is enjoying some tummy time. They can also play with it while sitting in your lap.

Note: Make sure you supervise your little one at all times. Their fingernails or teeth could puncture the bag. Plastic can also pose a suffocation risk so make sure you supervise accordingly.

3. Floor play

Floor play at 5 months

Time spent playing on the floor gives your baby the opportunity to move around. Moving around helps to strengthen many important muscles around neck, shoulders and back. These are needed for rolling, crawling, sitting and walking.  It also helps to build their postural control and coordination that they need to move their bodies around in space.

They can lay around on their tummy or their back. You can spread a variety of toys around that they can explore. You can also help them practice their rolling skills. You can lay them on the carpet or a blanket. You can also provide them a variety of textures to grab and pull.

4. Fly away!

Flying high with daddy

As your baby explores floor play make sure you also get a chance to pick them up and make them move through the air.  Movement stimulates the development of the vestibular system. This system is responsible for the awareness of our body in space.

So hold your baby in your arms and explore different movements. Move them up and down, side to side, round and round. Bounce them and move slow and fast.

As you spin and move all around with your baby, make sure to stop and take a quick break every few minutes.  See how your baby is doing. The break will also let their body register the movements and ensure that they do not get over stimulated or tune out.

5. Little Piggy

Here is a fun way of incorporating the well known kids rhyme ‘This Little Piggy’.

Skills developed Targeted Senses
Body awareness (hands, fingers, feet and toes) Tactile and vestibular senses.

How to play:

Start with your baby’s toes. Have your baby lay on their back and hold up their legs so they can see their toes. As you hold and wiggle your baby’s big toe start saying the poem. Then continue with the second toe and so forth. Make sure you remember to tickle your baby at the end.

This little piggy went to the market (big toe),

This little piggy stayed home (second toe),

This little piggy had roast beef (third toe),

This little piggy had none (forth toe),

And this little piggy went wee wee wee all the way home (fifth toe and tickles).

Once your baby has had enough toe play you can repeat the same rhyme with the fingers on their hands.

 6. Ball pit fun

Ball pit fun

This is a great toy that can be used for many more months to come. If you decide to invest in purchasing balls for the ball pit, then there are a few different ways that you can play with them.

1.    Spread them out on the floor. Your baby can enjoy moving them around as he is laying on his tummy.

2.    Fill a baby swimming pool with the balls instead of the water. If you don’t have enough balls you can always use a laundry basket. Support your baby while they are sitting in it. This can bring on many giggles as they explore the balls.

Note: Make sure to ALWAYS supervise your baby while playing in the ball pit.

7. Eye spy

Skill development Targeted Senses
Visual tracking (Visual tracking involves the ability to follow moving objects with smooth, coordinated eye movements. This skill is important for future reading and writing skills) Visual and auditory senses

How to play:

Choose an object or a toy that will grab your baby’s attention. Something that makes noise when shaken is preferred. This can include a rattle or bells.

Lay your baby on their back. Hold the toy approximately 10 inches away from their eyes and shake it. Once your baby’s attention is on the toy move it to the right and then to the left. Move the toy slowly so it gives your baby enough time to follow the toy. Then return it back to the middle and repeat by moving the toy up and then down.

If your baby gets distracted bring the toy to the middle. Shake it and wait to grab their attention. The main goal of this activity is to practice your baby’s visual tracking skills. This means getting your baby’s eyes to move separately from their head. If you notice that your baby moves their whole head you can very gently support their head to prevent it from moving. If the gentle support is not enough then your baby is not ready for this activity yet. Take a break and try again in a few weeks.

After your baby practices following the toy, you can encourage them to grab it and explore and play with it.

8. Explore the outside

Time outside

You probably have noticed this activity coming up on regular basis. Spending time outside is essential for all ages. At 5 months your baby can also get many benefits from being outside. From going on a walk in a stroller your baby can now watch their surrounding. If the weather is warm enough you can lay them down on the grass and let them roll around and explore.

Depending where you live you can help those little hands and feet explore the sand, the water, or just simply dirt. Let them touch different flowers, trees, grab a leaf, some grass or some sticks. Just remember to supervise closely as they still don’t have much control and can poke themselves with that stick or put that leaf in their mouth.

It’s a great way to explore ALL their senses so get yourself ready and go explore the outside.

9. Music time

Babies love music. You can explore a variety of tunes with your 5 month old. Play all kinds of songs from classical to jazz to pop. You can move your baby around. You can help them clap or move their hands and feet in different directions. I’m sure you will see lots of smiling and maybe hear some babble.

Note: Don’t play music throughout the whole day. If you play music for an extended time your baby will start to block it out and get the idea that music is not important. Turn it on randomly for shorter periods throughout the day.

10. Tummy time

Tummy time at 5 months

Spending time on their tummy continues to be very beneficial. It helps your baby build coordination, strengthens your baby’s neck, shoulders, arms and trunk. These muscles help with motor skills such as rolling over, crawling, pulling self up and sitting up.

One play activity that encourages tummy time is by placing them tummy down on your chest. You can securely hold your baby under their arms. Then you can rock your body side to side to incorporate some fun movement (vestibular sense). Sing along to your baby to keep them entertained. Read more about Tummy Time  and how to incorporate it into play with your baby.

So there you have it – my top 10 Sensory Activities for your 5 month old that you can do today to help your child’s 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.

For feedback or further questions please leave a comment below.

~ 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.

❮ 4 month activities 6 month activities ❯
Month 2: Top 10 Sensory Activities for your 2 month old

Month 2: Top 10 Sensory Activities for your 2 month old

Hello Everyone!! It’s Josh again. I am now 2 months old. I think I am slowly starting to get used to this new world. Everyday I am learning something new. I started to make bubbles with my mouth. So fun! It tickles my lips but I like it.

I love watching and listening to my parents. Daddy keeps making all these funny faces at me and mommy sings me the best songs!!! Last week I decided to do something new with my face. I saw my parents do it over and over so I thought I would give it a try. I stretched and stretched my mouth and voila… I smiled. If I knew earlier how excited my mommy would get I would have tried it weeks earlier.

Time to go to sleep again.

Until next month…

Lots of smiles, Josh

I hope you enjoyed Josh’s 2nd month story. I send those monthly updates to our family in Australia. Look out for more stories in the monthly activities posts.

What to expect from your 2 month old

So it’s 2 months now. Time is flying fast. Here are a few things that you might see your 2 month old do:

  • They still love to sleep. At this age babies sleep 15-16 hours a day.
  • Your baby can hold their head a little steadier.  Make sure you continue with Newborn tummy time to keep making your little bub stronger.
  • Many of the reflexes are still around, such as the sucking reflex. Sucking is also one of the best ways your baby can comfort themselves.
  • You may start to see your baby try to bat objects that you place in front of them.
  • Their vision is still developing and they can see objects up to 18 inches away.
  • They begin to follow things with their eyes.
  • Your baby loves listening to you talk or sing so keep on talking to them.
  • Their crying might include more grunts, gurgling or coos.
  • They can turn their head towards sounds.
  • You may be lucky to get a smile.

Baby smiling

Sensory Play for a Healthy Sensory Lifestyle

By now you have started to figure out your baby’s personality. You may know some of their likes, dislikes and understand their different cries. You may still not be getting enough sleep and walk around the house like a zombie. Just remember… this too will pass!

Whenever you and your baby are awake take the opportunity to play. Through play you can help your baby’s development both mentally and physically.

Here are my top 10 sensory activities for the 2nd month of your baby’s life. These activities have been tried and tested.

1. Tummy Time

Tummy time with a puppet

Yes… I am putting in this activity again. It continues to be an essential sensory activity in your baby’s everyday routine. It helps to build coordination and strengthens your baby’s neck, shoulders, arms and trunk. These muscles also help with the motor skills such as rolling over, crawling, pulling self up and sitting up. Read more about Tummy Time with your baby.

2. Talking to your baby

Any type of talking or singing will be beneficial. While your baby hears you talking he will start to lay down foundations for language development. It doesn’t matter what you say just as long as you talk to them. You can narrate your day, read them books or sing. Anything will do.

For more detail, here are a 2 recommended sites worth looking over:

3. Reading

It’s never too early to start reading to your baby. As babies love hearing their parents’ voices make sure both parents take turns reading. Reading has many benefits, so it’s great to get into a habit of reading every day.

Benefits

  • Promote listening skills
  • Increase language development
  • Assist in the development of attention span and memory
  • Promote bonding between you and your baby
  • Instill the love of reading

Tips for parents

  • Read to your baby in a quiet place
  • You don’t have to read all the words in the book
  • You can describe what you see on each page
  • Have fun when reading. Use exaggerated faces, animated voices and just be silly, this will help your baby’s attention
  • Use a variety of books: board books, lift a flap, or textured books.

For more information about benefits and principles on reading to your baby check out www.readtoyourbaby.com

4. Magic of Human Touch

magic of touch

This is an easy sensory activity that has amazing benefits for you and your young baby.

How to do it?

  • Skin to skin contact
  • Cuddle time
  • Rocking your baby
  • Massaging your baby

Why do it?

Some of the benefits include:

  • Building a bond between you and your baby
  • Boost healthy psychological and physical development
  • Improved sleep
  • Massage helps babies manage their stress
  • Massage improves autonomic functions such as heart rate and temperature
  • Massage can also help with pain relief.

For more information on the effects of touch I recommend you read:

5. Floor time play

Give your baby the opportunity to move around. Try to avoid placing your baby for extended time in car seats, rockers or swings. Get them down onto the floor either on their tummy or on their back. Even though they don’t do much independent movement at this age, being on the ground has many benefits. While on the ground they are starting to strengthen important muscles. These muscles are needed for rolling, crawling, sitting and then walking.

6. Moving with your baby

So you have been getting your baby on the floor to work on those important muscles. While off the floor however, take the opportunity to move them in many different directions. Movement helps with development of the vestibular system. A system responsible for the awareness of our body in space.

So how can you move?

You can put on your favorite music and have a dance with your baby. Or what my husband used to do is play an airplane game. It included some smooth flying through the air with an addition of some turbulence. This can be done in many different ways. You can rock or lift your baby (up, down, side to side, round and round). You can move your baby fast and slow. Make sure you stop every minute or so. This will let the body register the movements and make sure your baby is not over stimulated.

7. Exploring through touch

Josh playing in fabric

 

The development of the tactile system is important. A baby learns about their body and their environment though the sense of touch. Remember that this is not only about touching through the use of hands. It includes their whole body. So whenever the temperature allows strip your baby down to a nappy and let their whole body explore the variety of textures. This helps in the development of many skills including gross and fine motor skills.

Here are some ideas:

  • Lay your baby on a variety of textured fabrics or blankets. It can include sheep skin, silk, cotton etc. Always supervise and ensure that your baby can breathe at all times.
  • Place a variety of textured materials or toys in your baby’s hands. Examples can include different fabrics, rattles, textured rings, sponges. There are so many toys these days that can be smooth, bumpy, spikey, hard or squishy.
  • Move different textured materials over their body (arms, feet, face, belly and back). Again it can include different fabrics or toys. My son Josh loved when I tickled him with a feather.
  • Bath time! Water covers their whole body and it is yet another sensation. You may even use different textured towels each time to add some variety.

8. Let your fingers do the walking

At this age your baby can’t see far but there are many things that they enjoy looking at. Faces are of course one of their favorites. Another favorite is looking at moving fingers. I had so much fun with this!

What to do

You can let your imagination run wild. The main purpose is for your little one to watch your fingers dance. You can put some music on and move your fingers to the rhythm. Up, down, side to side, fast or slow. Anything goes.

You can get some finger puppets and do a simple puppet show. Get the puppets to go up, down, side to side.

Remember: Keep your hands no more then 18 inches away from their face.

How to position your baby

  • Lying on their tummy
  • Lying on their back
  • Reclined while sitting on your tummy:
    • You: Lie on your back with a pillow behind your back for support. Slide your feet toward your hips so that your calves are near the back of your thighs.
    • Baby: Sit your baby on your tummy facing you so that his back is resting against your thighs.

9. Lets look at things

Josh on play gym

At 2 months your baby can see up to 18 inches away from his face. At this age your baby can also fixate on an object and follow it for a short time. You can promote this skill through play. You can hold a toy or any object that you notice he finds interesting, in front of his face. Move it in different directions. Add some fun to it by singing, talking or making funny sound effects. Mobiles and Play Gyms are also fun. Get down with your baby inside the play gym and have some fun with all the dangling toys.

10. Swatting game

As you are dangling toys above your little one’s head you may notice that your baby will start swatting objects. This is an important skill that helps with hand-eye coordination. You can use your play gym or different rattles or toys. Things that make noise or are fun and shiny. Follow your baby’s lead in what motivates them to get swatting. Watch for that excitement when they get to hit the object.

Remember: Each baby develops at their own pace. If your child is not ready or not interested in these 2 month activities, just try them again in a few weeks.

Summary

There you have it. My top 10 Sensory Activities for your 2 month old. Many exciting activities you can do today to help your child develop better. Recapping those 10 sensory activities, they are:

1. Tummy Time
2. Talking to your baby
3. Reading
4. Magic of Human Touch
5. Floor time play
6. Moving with your baby
7. Exploring through touch
8. Let your fingers do the walking
9. Lets look at things
10. Swatting game

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.

For feedback or further questions please leave a comment below.

~ 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.

❮ Newborn activities 3 month activities