Ideas for sensory activities

What sensory activities could you do with your child? What do researchers recommend to support infant development?

5 senses for kids Foundation helps to spread the latest scientific findings on earlychildhood.

Because we know that being a parent is not easy. We have the exciting responsibility of raising a child. And no one teaches us this in school. Of course, we have the example of our own parents. However, they have not been trained either.

In this article we share different sensory stimulation activities to help you with this most important task: helping your child to grow and develop.

Baby’s first games are through the awakening of the senses

During the first few years, children have to learn everything. They are like a blank page ready to receive new experiences. Their brain is wired to explore and learn at high speed, relying on the 5 senses.

By offering sensory awareness activities to your child, you are helping them to discover their abilities and to explore and understand the world around them.

It is important to note that children learn essentially by having fun. They learn because they have fun. The play aspect is essential. Learning works on this principle: curiosity that is rewarded leads to more curiosity.

The reward in this case is pleasure, materialised by the secretion of hormones: the one so-called happiness and the reward hormones (serotonin and dopamine). And this pleasure comes largely from social recognition. The reward system in the brain is activated by social reward.

An important form of reward for the child is therefore recognition by the adult (A. WALDEN, Tedra and A. OGAN – October 1988).

This leads to a euphoria of learning, when it is taking place. For example, when the child walks for the first time, he or she shows joy echoing that of the parents (MURRAY, Lynne et al. – July 2008).

On the contrary, when parents show fear or anger in the child’s learning situations, it can result in a fear of learning. Negative parental reactions make learning more difficult and can dampen the child’s curiosity.

Let us now get to the heart of the matter with examples of early learning activities.

Scientific bibliography :

The principle of sensory activities for babies

Let’s be simple. To stimulate the sense of smell, you can put a scent in relation to an infant. To stimulate the sense of smell, you can put a scent and an object together: an orange for example. You can start with an object and a smell. You ask the child to find the object by making him smell the scent. You can quickly move on to two. An orange and an apple.

The aim of this activity is to help the child make the connection between what he or she sees, feels and touches. It is the practice of multi-sensory. In such a way, you link sight, touch and smell.

Examples of sensory activities to do with children

Awakening babies through sensory play can be extremely simple. For sight, you can play with the baby using objects of different colours and shapes. You can also make faces and grimaces to entertain the child. Many toys use this principle.

For auditory stimulation, you can describe the sounds in your environment and tell the child which objects they come from and where they are located. And, if the environment is multilingual and/or musical… Don’t miss out!

Painting with feet and hands, modelling clay, anti-stress balls to be kneaded are all sensory games that allow the different senses to be worked on.

A sensory activity that encourages touch

Here is another example of a sensory activity.

You can use two paper bags: you need 3 pairs of similar objects (for example: 2 balls, 2 dolls, 2 wooden blocks). Put one in each bag. The aim of the game is to find, without looking, the 2 identical objects, one with the right hand, the other with the left hand.

You will find several examples of activities that promote sensory stimulation on the pages that describe each sense in the “Parents’ Corner” section. You will probably come up with some ideas yourself. Let your creativity flow! We wish you lots of fun with your child.