A sensory board is a lovely thing to make for a baby. Young babies are explorers, they learn through exploration, especially when all senses are involved. This is why most toys involve noise with lights and colours, as well as different textures. Babies use their hands, feet, mouths and almost anything they can to explore with different things in their environment. At this young age, the ability to interpret and perceive tactile perception is actually best when done through sensory receptors in the mouth as opposed to the hands, as it is in adults.
It is important to remember that mouthing toys and objects is normal, and to ensure that whatever you are exposing your baby to, that there is no safety risk. Remember to make sure you use non-toxic glue when sticking things onto a sensory board, and ensure any ribbons or string are not long enough to pose as a choking hazard. Small objects should be carefully stuck down and babies should be carefully supervised when playing with a sensory board.
What objects are stimulating to the senses?
· Shiny, metallic objects (keys, coins, foil, wrappers, mirrors, stickers, glitter)
· Bright colours with high contrast images (polka dots, stripes, big bold images)
· Noisy objects (crinkle paper, wrappers, packets)
· Rough textures (pasta pieces, cork, rock, wood, grass, Velcro, sandpaper, corn)
· Smooth textures (pebbles, beads, silk, ribbon)
· Soft textures (felt, cotton wool, gel beads, pipe-cleaners, feathers, sponge)
· Patterned textures (cupcake liners, bubble wrap, zips rows of straws)
It is important to ensure a variety of senses are stimulated, but also to ensure the baby or child is not over-stimulated by limiting the number of sensory objects on the board. For younger babies, try use a board with 6-8 objects. As the child gets slightly older, add a few objects and see how they cope. You should be able to tell if your child is over-stimulated by watching how they interact with the objects. If the baby avoids interaction, he is probably overwhelmed and it might be best to consider removing some objects.
Here are some ideas of sensory boards:
I really love this idea using old wipes packets to create a peek-a-boo sensory board.
Have fun crafting, and enjoy watching your little explorer play!