Sensory Play Activities for Babies Aged 6 to 18 Months

When babies explore using their senses they discover a lot about the world around them. These learning opportunities include:

  • Building nerve connections to the brain
  • Encourages problem solving skills
  • Supports language development
  • Development of fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination
  • Promotes creativity and imagination through role play
  • Aids sensory development
  • Increased tummy time
  • Exploration

Here the Parenting Tem have compiled a list of sensory play activities you can try at home with your little ones.

Treasure basket

Start off by finding a suitable basket. Gather objects from your home or outdoors, these could include: Door wedge, small bowl, dolly pegs, egg cup, wooden egg, spoons, curtain rings, coaster, bracelet,  napkin rings, dowel, empty salt and pepper cellars, blocks, chains with different weights and thickness, loofah, shells, pine/fir cones, driftwood, avocado stone.


Sit with your baby while they are exploring the basket commenting and describing what they are exploring.

Jelly play

Exploring and playing with jelly is a great sensory activity for babies and young children.

Your child can play with the jelly however they like.  Add utensils of small toys to unleash their creative imagination!


Sensory hoop

You will need:

  • Hula hoop
  • Ribbons
  • Hessian
  • Scarves
  • Bubble wrap
  • Sponge
  • Baby toys

Simply tie the materials to the hoop.  A glue gun maybe required to secure some items.

Do not attach anything that could become a choking hazard.


Mark making in flour

Mark making is an important pre-writing skill.

For young toddlers who are not yet ready for formal writing, encourage them to mark make with their fingers with this simple activity using just a tray and some flour!


Tea party with dried food

By simply adding some dried food to your child’s tea set enables babies to explore different properties and adds a new element of fun!


Construction trucks in sand

All you need is a large pan or tray, sand and construction vehicles for hours of fun!


Sensory bin

To make a sensory bin:

  • Choose a container – Plastic tupperware, cardboard box or large baking dish
  • Decide on a filler – Dried food, shredded paper or sand
  • Add lots of small interesting objects

Spaghetti play

Boil the spaghetti as specified in the cooking instructions. Add food colouring to the water (the more food colouring you add the more vibrant the colour).  Allow to cool before placing it into a tray for your baby to explore.

Sensory bath tub

Click here for the tip sheet!

Sensory bottles

Click here for the tip sheet!

Please stay close to your baby and supervise at all times when taking part in any of the above activities.

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