Month 6: Top 10 Sensory Activities for your 6 month old

Month 6: Top 10 Sensory Activities for your 6 month old

Josh’s 6 month story:

Baby rockers in the house tonight, every baby just have a good time… every day I’m shufflin.. *cue the music* shufflin.. shufflin.. trying to get up.. trying to get up… everyday I’m shuffling… Oh yeah, I’m grooving today! Yeah baby. Touché. I think all that tummy time has really paid off. I can use my hands to creep around the room and explore all the new places I couldn’t before. It is loads of fun! I no longer need mom or dad to carry me to a new place. Yippee. However there is that one problem. Even though I aim to move forward I somehow end up moving sideways and backwards. I then magically end up under tables, beds and dressers. My legs are shuffling! No worries, with a bit more practice I will be plunging forward like a cheetah.

Until next month … Lots of smiles, Josh

crawling backwards

What to expect from your 6 month old:

By the 6th month your baby will be going through more transitions. Here are a few things that you may see your 6 month old do:

Sitting: Your baby may be starting to sit up alone. At first they may be using their hands to prop themselves up. Overtime they will start sitting unsupported.

Rolling: Your baby is probably rolling from their back to their stomach and vice versa.

Moving about: You may notice that your little one is able to move from one side of the mat to the other by simply rolling over and over.   They may also started to creep forward or backward.

Hand development: Your baby will reach for toys and grasp them. They will also bring their hands together and may start separating their fingers. You may also notice your little one watching their hands as they move them around.

– You probably have stared your baby on solid foods.

Communication: Your baby is now smiling, laughing, and babbling (“ma-ma,” “ba-ba”). Ensure you read to your baby daily to further help with their language development.

Note: This is not a complete list of Baby’s development.  For further information follow up with your pediatrician.

Sensory activities for a Healthy Sensory Lifestyle

Your baby is growing up fast and they are ready to play more and more. 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 6th month old baby. These activities have been tried and tested.

1. Come and get me

 

As your little one gains more movement they will try to move from one location to the next. They might be still pretty rusty at it. To encourage more movement place motivating toys just out of reach so they have to start moving towards it.

2. Peek a boo

peek a boo

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Object permanence

(Object permanence is the understanding that objects or people still exist even when we can’t see them. Understanding this concept is an important cognitive milestone. To review the specific stages of object permanence, check out the Wikipedia page. )

Visual senses

How to play:

Peekaboo is such a fun game for the baby. The smiles and the giggles keep on coming. They love the surprise of seeing that hidden face pop back up in front of them but also appreciate the predictability of what is going to happen. It is a great game that focuses on an important cognitive development that demonstrates your baby’s ability to understand object permanence.

So get playing with your baby! Simply hide your face from your baby and then pop back into their view. Remember to say ‘Peekaboo!’ as you do that. Then, you can cover their face with the scarf asking ‘Where is the baby?”. Then uncover their face saying ‘Here you are!

3. Magic trick

Magic trick

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Fine motor skills, hand eye coordination, bilateral integration. Visual and tactile senses.

How to play:

Equipment needed: Colorful scarfs or scraps of material and a container/toy with large holes. As a container you can use a shape sorter or a OBall, empty paper towel roll or a empty wet wipe container.

To play simply put the scarfs into the container with edges coming out. Then let your toddler try to pull them out. Once they are all out you can help them out and put them in again. Then let the fun continue as they pull it out again and again.

4. Copy cat

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Socialization, attention span, imitation skills. Visual and proprioceptive senses.

How to play:

This game can be played in numerous positions. They can lie on their tummy, on their back or sitting while they are facing you. The whole family can also be involved. Just make sure it is one at a time.

As you and your baby are facing each other do different facial expressions or sounds and see if your baby will imitate you. You can try smiling, blowing raspberries or sticking out your tongue. You can also make simple sounds like ma-ma, da-da, e-e etc.

Have fun with it and also tell them what you are doing to increase their language skills. Remember to also praise them when they do it successfully. ‘Yay, you just stuck your tongue out like your brother’…

5. Water play

water play

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Body awareness Tactile senses

How to play:

As we are talking about water play please make sure an adult always supervises your baby. If it’s summer, outside is a perfect place to play. If however these are the cooler months playing in a bathtub is just as fun.

If you are using a baby pool or a bathtub only fill it up with few inches of water. Depending how well your baby is sitting up you may want to hold them up or just get in the water with them.

Then, let your baby splash around. You will get lots of smiles as they kick around with their legs or splash around with their hands. You can also include few balls or water/bath toys that they can try and get with their legs or hands. Watching them bounce in your home made waves is also fun.

6. Drumming Band

Drumming

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Fine motor skills (grasping), hand eye coordination and bilateral coordination (use of two hands) Auditory, tactile and visual senses.

How to play:

Dum.. ditty… dum… dum …drum…. Let’s get drumming!

A perfect drum can be made from a simple kitchen plastic bowl or an empty container. All you have to do is turn it upside down, grab some wooden spoons and viola!!

Let your toddler explore the sounds and get more control of their hands as they start banging around on the drums.

7. Discovery basket

Discovery basket 2

 

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Fine motor skills and hand eye coordination. Tactile, proprioceptive, visual and olfactory senses.

How to play:

With this activity you can let your imagination run wild. The main purpose of a discovery basket is for your baby to explore a variety of objects. Through this exploration they stimulate many of their senses and practice their reaching and grasping skills. While they are grasping and manipulating the objects they figure out how to hold & manipulate different objects and how much force to use so it doesn’t fall out of their hands.

As they explore the treasures make sure you talk about all the objects. What is it? What color is it? Is it heavy/light? Smooth/rough/bumpy? What do you do with it? Does it have a scent? What shape is it? Does it make a sound?

Ideas for baskets:

  • Focus on color: maybe use only orange items or brown…
  • Focus on items found in the kitchen such as: a ladle, whisk, spatula, potato masher, a bowl etc
  • Focus on different fruit and veggies: Bananas, oranges, avocados …
  • You can also just gather random objects from around the house

Whatever basket you create make sure you choose objects appropriate and safe for your baby’s age and skill level.

Once you are ready. Sit with your baby and explore the objects together.

8. Food play

Food play at 6 months

I know that the thought of having a baby play with food freaks out many parents. They will get it all over themselves and there will be lots of clean up afterwards. Yes it’s messy but it is actually really good for them. Getting messy is part of the process of learning to eat.

As they play and explore they learn about all the properties of the food. They learn about the texture, the smell, if it makes any sounds when it’s squished. If it does end up in their mouth they learn about how it tastes. As they explore their foods through all their senses they are more likely to accept that food.

So put the foods on their tray and let them explore and learn about it before they put it in their mouth.

9. Light show

Light show

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Visual perception, visual tracking, learning about light, dark & shadows Visual senses

How to Play:

Explore visual senses through glowing lights in the dark. You can play this game in any position. Your baby can be lying down on their tummy or their back. They can also be sitting up.

What to use?

Any of the following will be fine: fibre optic lambs, fibre optic wands or LED ropes.

What to do with it?

  • You can move the light source slowly so your baby gets to follow with their eyes. Move it to the right, left, up, down, across.
  • LED ropes are safe to handle by your baby so they can play around with it.

They will enjoy watching the variety of lights.

10. Encourage independence

You may notice your infant playing independently. Watch for those moments as short as they may be. Give them some space and allow them to play on they own. Playing by themself will slowly increase their attention span and their independence. This means that little by little they will play on their own for longer periods of time.

Summary:

So there you have it.  My top 10 Sensory Activities for your 6 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.

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Month 20: Top 10 Sensory Activities for your 20 month old toddler

Month 20: Top 10 Sensory Activities for your 20 month old toddler

As my pal Gordie always says “If you want to become a great chef, you have to work with great chefs.” And that’s exactly what I did.

I’ve been stalking mom cooking in the kitchen for some time now. It first started when I got my climbing ladder. Peeking into the pots as she stirred, boiled and created mouth watering magic. Then, as I got taller I could sneak a peek closer and with more precision. I bet she thought i was just babbling and bouncing around but in fact I was learning. Calculating… 2 cups of water… 1 egg… yep I got it.. this is easier than I thought it might be.

One day, we ventured outside our little castle near the woods. I knew this was time to unleash my inner Chef! There were so many options. I grabbed some stick, stones, leaves, dirt…. lots of dirt! I poured some water into my bucket and then one by one I started adding my ingredients. I had so much fun throwing them in and then mixing it all around. I decided I needed more water. I leaned my head back and at the top of my voice shouted “More water”. Mom poured some in but it was not enough. I looked up and voiced again “More!!! More water!”.. then mom gave me that look. Whoops. Gordie always says that “cooking is about passion”.

See you all next month.
Lots of smiles, Josh

 

Tactile games are so much fun and very beneficial for sensory processing.  They also help build a foundation for many developmental milestones including both fine and gross motor skills.

Below I have included my top 10 sensory activities for your 20-month toddler. Among them are also many activities focusing on tactile play.

As always, these activities have been tried and tested. Enjoy!

Sensory Play Activities

1. Nature stew

Nature stew

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Fine motor skills, bilateral coordination and hand eye coordination. Visual and tactile senses.

How to Play

On your next nature adventure remember to bring a bucket and a few full bottles of water. After some exploring you can stop and start your cooking lesson. To make the ‘Nature stew’, get your toddler to pour some water into the bucket. Then start collecting surrounding objects such as rocks, sticks, sand, leaves, flowers, grass, acorns. Really, anything that is around will ‘cook’ just fine. Get your toddler to throw in his ‘ingredients’ and stir them around with a spoon (bigger stick). This cooking adventure can keep your toddler entertained for quite a while.

They will see the clear water become muggy from all the sand/dirt. Enjoy all the sounds of the sticks, rocks hitting the sides of the bucket as they stir it around. You can start teaching them about weight by observing heavier objects sink down to the bottom and lighter objects such as grass float at the top.

Enjoy experimenting with your toddler!

2. Floral fun

Flower smashing

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Fine motor skills, hand eye coordination, bilateral coordination and visual perception skills. Tactile, proprioceptive and visual senses.

How to Play

If you have some flowers at home don’t throw them away as soon as they start to dry out. There are a number of ways that your toddler can play with dry flowers.

  1. Place them onto a mat and have your toddler explore them through the use of their hands or feet. They can squish, stomp or pull them apart.
  2. Stick contact paper (sticky side up) onto a wall. Have your toddler then stick petals or small flower branches onto it to make their creation.
  3. Sort them by color or type.
  4. Once they finish with the contact paper you can roll it up into a batten form (sticky on the outside). Then have your toddler pound the dry flowers to see what will stick to it.
  5. Lastly you can place the flowers into some water and have your toddler explore that way.

3. Potato Stamping

potato stamping

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Visual perception and hand eye coordination skills. Tactile and visual senses.

How to play

This is such a fun activity. Cut potatoes in half. Then carve out few shapes. See examples above.

Then let your toddler run wild stamping away.

4. Flying 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

Today’s obstacle course consists of a flying theme. Before you get started make some paper planes for this adventure. When setting up an obstacle course, try to match its complexity to your child’s skill level. Make sure there is some challenge to improve their skills while keeping it fun.

All you need is some pillows, cushions, blankets, tables, chairs and boxes. You and your toddler can start by pretending you are airplanes by spreading your arms out to the side. Help your toddler if they are having trouble imitating you. Start by flying around on the floor and then fly higher and lower by going up and down the furniture. If you fly up small boxes you can start encouraging your toddler to jump down. Then you can fly on bumpy clouds (pillows spread on the floor). Finally fly up really high (on top of the couch or table). You can park your plane there and take out some pre made paper planes. Your toddler can have lots of fun throwing them down and watching them fly.

5. Playing with balls

Balls, balls and more balls! Every toddler loves playing with balls. Throwing, kicking, rolling, inside or outside… everything goes.

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Hand eye coordination, foot eye coordination, balance, visual perception skills, bilateral skills, timing, sequencing, motor planning, and attention. Visual, vestibular, tactile and proprioceptive senses.

How to Play

You can try any of these activities:

  1. Simple throwing back and forth with your toddler. Note: Medium size balls of softer density are easier to catch.
  2. Kicking back and forth with your toddler.
  3. While sitting on the floor encourage rolling back and forth.
  4. Target throwing/kicking: Target can include an empty laundry basket, a box, a suitcase, a basketball hoop etc. Depending on your child’s skill they can stand quite close to the target and as their accuracy improves you can start stepping them back. Once your child has good accuracy try raising the target slightly off the floor and see if they can throw it in.

6. Finger paint

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

How to Play

It’s time to wake up all those tactile sensors and have some fun with the paint. You can use any finger paint that you want. I did however include a homemade finger paint recipe below.

I don’t think this activity needs much explanation. Let your toddler explore the colors by drawing on paper or themselves (if it’s nice and warm). If the mess freaks you out just let them go wild with the paint while in the bath or shower. Easy clean up of the environment and them.

Finger Paint Recipe

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons of sugar
  • ¾ cup of cornflour
  • 2 cups of water
  • Food coloring

What to do

  1. Mix the dry ingredients (sugar & cornflour)
  2. Split the dry ingredients depending on the amount of colors
  3. In another bowl mix water with the food coloring (split the amount depending on the number of colors. For example if using 4 colors use ½ cup of water for each color)
  4. Combine the two and enjoy!

7. Cup hide and seek

cup and toy

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Object permanence (Object permanence is the understanding that objects or people still exist even when we can’t see them. Understanding this concept is an important cognitive milestone. To review the specific stages of object permanence, check out the Wikipedia page. ) Visual senses

How to Play

Equipment needed: 2 or 3 plastic cups and a favorite toy that will fit inside the cup.

This is a simple game that includes hiding a toy under a cup.

Start by using one cup then increase it to two and then three.

Let your toddler see you hide the toy under the cup. Then ask ‘Where is the toy?’ By this age they should have no problems lifting up the cup to uncover the toy. Then repeat with two cups and then three. If you notice that your toddler is really good at this game try making it more challenging. With the use of two cups hide the toy but then move the cups around. Just like you see in those magic tricks on TV but with fewer cups and MUCH slower speed.

8. Sorting game

sorting lids

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Visual perception, hand eye coordination and bilateral coordination. Visual senses

How to Play

Find a box, any box. It can be from your last delivery, a cereal box or a shoe box. Then gather together a variety of lids or flat objects (circular shapes are easiest). You should find a few lids of different sizes.

I used a variety of lids from jars and plastic containers. Once you have all your equipment cut out holes that match each of your objects (see picture above).

Then have your toddler try to match each object to the cut out hole.

9. Shaving cream car wash

Shaving cream & cars

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Hand eye coordination, bilateral skills and motor planning (ability to conceptualize, plan and carry out an unfamiliar task). Tactile and visual senses.

How to Play

In this game your toddler needs to get their cars dirty and then take them to a car wash.

To make the cars dirty:

  • Put some shaving cream or bubble soap onto a table.
  • Have your toddler explore the shaving cream with their cars. WARNING: They may have so much fun that the shaving cream ends up being splattered around.

To make the cars clean:

  • Have a small container of water ready so they can try and wash them in it.

They may want to repeat this cycle numerous times.

10. Play dough & pasta

pasta and play dough

Skills Developed Targeted Senses
Fine motor development including: hand strengthening, pincer grasp, finger isolation as well as hand eye coordination and bilateral coordination. Tactile and proprioception senses.

How to Play

Equipment needed: Play dough and pasta (different shapes and sizes)

You can start this activity by seeing what they will do with the pasta. After a while you can also throw in some ideas for variety.

Let me get you started with the following ideas. You can use the pasta to:

  • Poke play dough with it.
  • Make imprints. The more variety of pasta the more variety of imprits.
  • You can hide smaller pasta in it. The first few times you may need to hide the pasta for them.
  • Once pasta is hidden in play dough your toddler can start digging through it and pull it out.
  • Poking is also fun. Start with them using their pointer finger to make holes in the play dough. Then they can put some pasta in it. Pretending they are making cookies or pizza.

My favorite no–cook Play Dough Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • ½ cup salt
  • 2 tablespoons of cream of tartar
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 ½ cups of boing water
  • Food coloring

What to do

  1. Mix flour, salt, cream of tartar and oil in a large mixing bowl
  2. In another bowl add water and mix it with food coloring
  3. Add both mixtures together
  4. Stir until combined (it still might be sticky)
  5. Allow it to rest
  6. Take it out of the bowl and knead it until the stickiness is gone
  7. If after a few minutes of kneading it’s still sticky then keep adding small amounts of flour. Keep adding until you have reached perfect play dough consistency.

Summary

There you have it. My top 10 Sensory Activities for your 20 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.

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