What is sensory play?

Sensory play includes activities that involve your baby’s senses. This includes touch, taste, smell, sight and hearing. Sensory play helps support your baby’s language development and brain growth. It also supports the development of motor skills, problem solving skills and social skills.

Sensory play activities

  • Rock your baby side to side, front to back and up and down.
  • Rock in a rocking chair with your baby on your lap.
  • Massage your baby with fragrance-free lotion 1-2 times a day
  • When your baby is upset, make their surroundings as calm and quiet as possible. Speak quietly.
  • Lower the lights. Swaddle your baby in a blanket and rock them.
  • Use tummy time! Place your baby on their tummy 2-3 times a day for 5-10 minutes at a time. This can help make their muscles stronger and see the world around them from another point of view. If your baby needs more support starting out, roll up a towel or small blanket. Place it under your baby’s chest. Increase the amount of time as your baby tolerates.

How to create a sensory bin

A sensory bin is a container filled with objects of different colors and textures. They are easy to make – just fill up a bin with different objects and let your baby explore!

Here are some objects you can put into your baby’s sensory bin:

  • Yarn balls
  • Feather dusters
  • Rattles or teething rings
  • Sheets of shiny Mylar® paper
  • Balls with different textures
  • Sponges or netted bath puffs
  • Bath foam
  • Water of different temperatures and colors (Do not use water that is too hot.)
Rev. 8/2018. Reviewed by the MGHfC Family Advisory Council. MassGeneral Hospital for Children and Massachusetts General Hospital do not endorse any of the brands listed on this handout. This handout is intended to provide health information so that you can be better informed. It is not a substitute for medical advice and should not be used to treatment of any medical conditions.