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 ❯
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