Sensory play is essential for babies and children to use their five senses to explore and understand the world around them. The experiences and activities support children to use the ‘scientific method’ of observing, forming a hypothesis, experimenting and making conclusions.
Sensory play is crucial to the development of the brain. From birth to age five, we see a rapid rate of brain development - 90% of a child’s brain is developed before they even go to school.
At Kiddi Caru Day Nurseries Group we carry out a lot of different activities to encourage little ones to explore every one of their senses and one of their favourites is sensory bottles and bags. You can create a whole range of them at home to encourage your child’s using of sight and sound. They are a great non-messy activity to enjoy with your child.
Older children can also enjoy creating the bottles with you, to use as rain shakers and other sensory sounds whilst acting out sounds during their favourite story or to use during roll play activities. Ask your child what kind of bottle or bag they would like to make and discuss with them what fillers they think they will need to make it.
Do you have empty plastic bottles lying around? Don’t recycle them just yet, you can use them to make sensory bottles. Make sure your bottle is clean and remove any labels from the outside. Bottles are a great option for little ones that are learning to grip and handle objects.
The sensory bags are a great option for even younger babies as they can be attached to the floor or table tops for them to press and watch as the mixture moves under the plastic.
You can choose whether you are going to make a sound sensory bottle or a sight sensory bottle. To create a sight sensory bottle, you need to pick a liquid filler. For the most part, at nursery we use water. However, if you would like to have coloured liquids, you can add food colouring or if you are making a sound sensory bottle don’t add any filler. Lastly, add something fun and small inside the liquid! Try not to over fill the bottle with items, so they can move easily when you child moves and shakes the bottle.
To ensure the bottles do not leak, make sure to glue the bottle cap onto the bottle when done and then give it to your little one when dry – and see the fun they have with it!
Idea’s for what can be added:
This is a great idea from the North Herts Family Centre. Even adults are fascinated by the way the lava-like liquid moves, so providing your little one with this interesting toy is guaranteed to capture their attention and help to develop their grip and gross motor skills as they chase and squeeze the bubbles in the bag.
What you need:
To avoid the bag bursting make sure to fill no more than half way. You can also fasten the opening with duct tape.
Does your child love the Lava Bag? You can also make Lava Sensory Bottles, so you can take them with you when you go out and about or for longer journeys.
The resources are the same but the method is slightly different. So, follow our easy step by step video to create your very own Lava Sensory Bottles.
Messy play has so many benefits for little ones learning and development. From encouraging children to use their gross and fine motor skills, hand to eye coordination, dexterity, creativity and so much more. However, some children do not enjoy getting their hands messy and with your family spending more time inside, you may not find the idea of messy play very appealing. So, our messy bags may be a wonderful alternative.
The possibilities are endless but here are a few of our favourite ideas: