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Sensory games to play at home

As you find yourself with more time to spend with your child, it’s the perfect opportunity to play some games that engage their sense of touch, smell, taste, sight and hearing. This will also help their development because it encourages them to understand and explore the world around them.

When your child uses all their five senses, it builds their cognitive skills, which help them to:
• Understand cause and effect (a combination of action and reaction: for example, clapping hands that results in sound)
• Use scientific reasoning
• Use mathematical thinking
• Learn and develop new tastes and smells as well as discovering new textures
• Solve problems
• Be creative

Setting up sensory games are easy and affordable and you can do it in the comfort of your own home, because you don’t have to buy anything and can simply use some of the objects and ingredients you already have.

Wooden spoon and plastic bowl drum set (3-6 months old)

Show your baby how to create sounds and music by playing on their very own drum set, using a wooden spoon and a plastic bowl. Place the bowl upside down on a flat surface like the floor or a table, so that the rim of the bowl is on the surface. The motion of banging the spoon against the bowl creates noise, which teaches cause and effect and encourages creativity.

Slippery toilet paper rolls (12-18 months old)

Cover a section of the floor with plastic to create a smooth surface and to also keep the floor clean. To cover the floor, you can use clingwrap or cut open a plastic packet/bag and secure to the floor with prestick. Squeeze some lotion or petroleum jelly onto the plastic surface and let your baby apply this onto an empty toilet paper roll. Add some objects such as blocks of different sizes and encourage your baby to fit the block into the slippery toilet paper roll. The slipperiness of the lotion teaches them  to understand different textures while slotting the right sized object into the hole encourages problem-solving skills.

Sand and spice bucket (18-24 months old)

Head outside and collect a bucket of sand. Mix a fragrant spice like cinnamon or nutmeg into the sand. Fill a bowl with sand from the bucket and hand an empty cup to your baby and encourage them to scoop and pour the sand from the bowl to the cup and back. Touching the sand lets your baby feel a new texture, while the spice introduces them to a new scent.
*Never leave your baby unattended while playing these sensory games.

Click to read more parenting tips, like how to create a routine for one to four year olds.

Image: Gallo/Getty

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