Parent Sensory Play Guide
0-3 Month Box

Welcome to your My Sensory Journey Play Guide for the 0-3 month box. We're thrilled about the journey awaiting you. Inside, you'll find details about the resources in your box, what babies can discover and learn through exploring the toys, and how parents can use these toys to support their baby's learning journey. Additionally, there's a wealth of information available about baby development, along with links to useful websites for further reading on these topics.

In your box, you'll find a variety of information covering up to 6-8 toys, along with 6 resources to explore.

*Before delving into the resources with your baby, please take a moment to review the safety information section located at the bottom of the page. It's important to always follow these guidelines to ensure your baby's well-being*

We'd love it if you could tag us in your baby's pictures and stories as they explore the resources on social media. Please use the hashtag #sensoryboxsurprise. Your participation helps us build a community of shared experiences and joy!

Please note that every child is unique and may not reach learning goals and milestones at the same pace. If you ever have concerns about your baby's development or health, we encourage you to reach out to your baby's GP or Health Visitor for professional advice and support.

What is sensory play?

Sensory play is an enriching experience that engages a baby's senses in various ways. It involves stimulating their touch, using their sense of smell, exploring tastes with their mouth, focusing and observing with their vision, and perceiving sounds with their hearing while actively listening to their surroundings. Additionally, sensory play can incorporate activities that encourage a baby's movement and support the development of their balance skills. Through sensory play, babies can explore and interact with the world around them, fostering cognitive, physical, and emotional development.

How do your baby's senses work?

Taste –Is an intriguing aspect of a baby's sensory experience, as they react to the activation of their taste receptors when things are introduced into their mouth. Interestingly, research suggests that babies may begin to detect flavors of foods their mother consumes while they are in the womb.

This early exposure to various tastes can potentially influence their preferences and responses to different flavors later in life. It's fascinating to consider how prenatal experiences can shape a baby's sensory perceptions even before they enter the world.  

Smell - Is another intriguing aspect of a baby's sensory experience, as they react to the activation of chemical receptors in their nose. Research indicates that a baby's sense of smell begins to develop in the first trimester of pregnancy. By around 10 weeks in the womb, babies may start to detect smells. This early development of their olfactory system allows babies to begin exploring the world of scents even before they are born. Find further information on the topic babycentre article.

Sight  - Vision involves the reaction babies experience when light receptors enter their eyes and form a representation. An interesting fact is that both babies and adults cannot sneeze with their eyes open. Explore more facts about baby eyesight.

Touch – Is the response elicited from the touch receptors in a baby's skin. An intriguing fact is that the skin is the largest organ in the human body.

Hearing – Hearing involves the response to sound through the mechanics in a baby's inner ear. Research indicates that babies may not perceive a full range of sounds until around 6 months of age, as their brain is still developing in that area. For more information on baby hearing, consider reading the article by Joanne Lewsley babycentre.

Body awareness – Body awareness involves the data that infants' brains receive from stretch receptors in their muscles and pressure receptors in their joints, enabling them to start comprehending the positioning of their bodies. According to Catherin Holecko the baby's larger muscles develop first.

Balance – Is stimulated by the vestibular system of the inner ear, which sends signals to the brain to help individuals understand their body's orientation in relation to gravity. Interestingly, it's worth noting that our balance tends to deteriorate with age.

What are the benefits of sensory play?

Research indicates that sensory play plays a crucial role in facilitating the formation of nerve connections in a baby's brain. Engaging in sensory activities supports the development of fine motor dexterity, gross motor skills, as well as essential language and communication skills. Additionally, sensory play stimulates a baby's cognitive processes, encouraging them to begin problem-solving from an early age. By providing sensory experiences, all areas of a baby's development are motivated, which in turn can contribute to building resilience and promoting emotional well-being.

When should I start to play with my baby?

From the moment your baby enters the world, they embark on a journey of exploration, constantly listening, watching, and thinking, which aids in their brain development. Introducing sensory experiences into your baby's daily routine happens naturally, often without conscious effort. You can enrich their sensory experiences as you interact with them throughout the day; there's no need for a structured schedule.

Your baby is already attuned to your voice, so talking to them, singing, and cuddling up close all contribute to stimulating their senses. Engaging with your baby in these ways supports the development of their language and communication skills, as well as nurturing their overall well-being and resilience through the love and care you provide. These early moments of bonding are truly precious.

Take advantage of the times when your baby is awake and alert throughout the day to explore the toys and resources provided in your box together. Your baby will indicate when they've had enough stimulation by turning away, becoming fussy, or showing signs of fatigue. Over time, you'll learn to interpret your baby's communication cues through their sounds, gestures, and actions. It may take some time to become familiar with these signals as you get to know your new baby, but the process of understanding each other can deepen your bond.

How shall I introduce the sensory resources to my baby?

You can create a delightful experience by opening the box with your baby, showing enthusiasm, and engaging them with your voice and facial expressions. Talk excitedly about the contents of the box, asking questions like, "What's in our box?" and "How does this feel?" Encourage your baby's curiosity and wonder by playing peek-a-boo games with the resources and singing relevant songs. For instance, if there's a cow or elephant puppet, you can sing "Old MacDonald Had a Farm" or other classic nursery rhymes listed on Emma's Diary. Singing with your baby is a wonderful way to develop communication skills and expose them to different sounds.

Introduce one toy at a time, considering that your baby's vision is still developing and they need time to focus and process what they see. The colour scheme of the box is designed to support your baby's vision and encourage engagement between you and your little one.

It's worth noting that all the toys in the 0-3 month sensory journey box are sustainable, meaning they can be used throughout your baby's early years and beyond, offering long-lasting enjoyment and developmental benefits.

Soft Rattle

Rattles play a crucial role in your baby's development by encouraging them to focus and track the movement of the object, thereby stimulating their optic nerves. The intriguing sounds produced by rattles capture young babies' attention and help them perceive sound and rhythm, familiarising them with different auditory stimuli in their environment. Moreover, rattles motivate babies to reach out their arms and hands to manipulate and grip, thereby supporting the development of their fine motor skills. As babies progress, they learn to shake the rattle to produce sound, enhancing their understanding of cause and effect. Additionally, using rattles encourages babies to explore movement, prompting them to attempt various body movements and facilitating head turning to strengthen their neck muscles. Rattles designed for this age group are typically light and soft to support their developmental stage effectively.

To use rattles effectively with your baby, consider the following suggestions:

Introduce the Rattle: Begin by showing the rattle to your baby, allowing them to observe it and become familiar with its appearance.

Encourage Exploration: Encourage your baby to reach out and grasp the rattle. You can gently place it in their hands and guide their movements if needed.

Make Sounds: Shake the rattle gently to produce sounds that will capture your baby's attention. Encourage them to listen to the sounds and observe the movement of the rattle. Try moving it from ear to ear. Do you notice your baby moving to identify the sounds?

Facilitate Interaction: Engage in interactive play with your baby by shaking the rattle within their line of vision. Move it from side to side or up and down to encourage them to track its movement.

Support Physical Development: As your baby grows, use the rattle during tummy time to encourage them to reach out and grasp the rattle while strengthening their neck muscles.

Promote Fine Motor Skills: Encourage your baby to manipulate the rattle with their hands, exploring its texture and shape. This helps develop their fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.

Rotate Rattle: Introduce a variety of rattles with different textures, shapes, and sounds to keep your baby engaged and provide varied sensory experiences.

Sing songs: Sing songs incorporating the rattle sounds to; developing an early understanding of rhythm.

Supervision: Always supervise your baby during playtime with rattles to ensure their safety and prevent choking hazards.

By incorporating rattles into your baby's playtime routine, you can provide them with valuable sensory stimulation and support their overall development in a fun and engaging way.

Soft Activity Ball

The soft activity ball is gentle and easy to touch, hold, and explore. It includes a range of materials and labels for babies to discover, supporting their essential senses. Through touch, babies can learn about object characteristics and textures. Your baby can grasp, manipulate, and follow the ball's movement. Additionally, the ball produces sounds that capture your baby's attention, aiding in their hand-eye coordination development.

To use the soft activity ball effectively with your baby, consider the following:

 Introduce the ball: Show the soft activity ball to your baby and let them explore it with their hands. Encourage them to touch and feel the different textures and materials on the ball.

Encourage Exploration: Point out the various labels and textures on the ball, allowing your baby to feel and explore them. This helps stimulate their sense of touch and introduces them to different sensations.

Promote Interaction: Engage your baby in interactive play with the ball. Roll it gently towards them and encourage them to reach out and grasp it. As they become more familiar with the ball, they can hold it, move it around, and track its movement. Move the ball along your baby's toes, cheeks and body.

Develop Hand-Eye Coordination: Encourage your baby to reach out and touch the ball as it rolls or moves. This helps develop their hand-eye coordination as they learn to anticipate and react to the ball's movements.

Explore Sounds: Create sounds with the ball to capture your baby's attention. Encourage them to shake or move the ball to produce these sounds, helping to develop their auditory senses.

Rotate and Roll the Ball: Roll the ball to your baby to encourage them to move their necks, head and eyes to focus and track the ball.

Attatch to Your Pram: The ball can be attached to a pram to exerience sensory play on the go.

Supervision: Always supervise your baby when playing with the soft activity ball to ensure their safety and prevent choking hazards.


Flashcards can aid in the development of your baby's emerging eyesight. Presenting flashcards to your baby can enhance their listening and attention abilities. Studies indicate that using flashcards can also assist in fostering language development, subsequently stimulating a baby's literacy skills over time. Additionally, flashcards serve as an effective tool for bolstering a child's memory as you show them the cards and engage in discussions with your baby.

The A6 flashcards, designed by Sensory Box Surprise and printed in the UK, are black and white. They are easily wiped clean with a damp cloth. (For every order placed, a tree is planted.

To use the flashcards effectively with your baby, follow these steps:

Positioning: Sit with your baby lying on your knees, on the floor, or on their tummy. Alternatively, you can lay them on their back to show them the flashcards.

Announce and Discuss: Clearly announce the shape or object depicted on each flashcard. Engage your baby by talking about the shapes and pictures, and slowly move the cards from side to side to capture their attention.

Create Layout:  Arrange the flashcards in a layout while your baby is lying down on their tummy or their side, ensuring they are directly within their sightline. This can help encourage visual engagement and exploration.

Prop in Sight: Prop the flashcards in your baby's Moses basket or pram, positioning them within their line of vision. This encourages your baby to turn from side to side and focus/track the cards.

Calming Experience: Flashcards can provide a soothing and stimulating sensory experience for your baby. Use them to create a calming atmosphere while engaging their senses.

Supervision: Always remember not to leave the cards or any other resources in your baby's pram or Moses basket unsupervised.

By incorporating flashcards into your baby's daily routine in these ways, you can encourage their sensory exploration and support their visual development in a safe and engaging manner.

Sensory Print Muslin Square

The high contrast print muslin is designed to aid your baby's developing eyesight and cognitive skills. Featuring a black and white pattern throughout, this muslin offers consistent high-contrast colours that are beneficial for early visual stimulation. Versatile and practical for both babies and adults, the sensory muslin square can be utilised in various ways to support a young baby's development.

Your muslin comes in one of three patterns created by Muslinz and is made from organic cotton and bamboo materials. It is machine washable at 40°C, and we recommend washing it with similar colours before use. Additionally, the muslin is suitable for tumble drying.

To use the sensory muslin effectively with your baby, consider the following:

Exploration: Allow your baby to hold the muslin in their hands, feeling its texture and bringing it close. Some babies find comfort in holding a muslin.

Playtime: Lay the muslin out on the floor as a play mat, allowing your baby to roll around or gaze at the high-contrast pattern. Tummy time on the muslin can help your baby focus on the pattern while strengthening their neck and arms.

Tie-Up: Tie the muslin at a safe height around a baby center. While lying on their back, your baby can look up and explore the print while attempting to reach out, supporting their fine motor skills.

Feeding: Use the muslin to clean and wipe up any spillage during feeding. Studies suggest that focusing on the print whilst feeding can be calming for a young baby.

Shade and Stimulation: Drape the muslin over the side of your pram or Moses basket (See photo as example. This is another way of offering stimulation for your baby. The muslin can also serve as a lightweight blanket.

Safety Precautions: Never leave your baby unattended with a muslin, as it could cover their face and pose a suffocation risk. On hot days, use the muslin to cover a car seat to keep the metal fastener and seat cool. Remember to remove the muslin from the car seat before placing your baby in it for the journey.

Feely Blankets

Feely blankets featuring high-contrast colors are designed to aid in a baby's developing vision by capturing their focus on the object. Babies can reach out and grasp the blanket, exploring its textures with their hands and feet. These blankets encourage the use of fine motor skills as babies manipulate the toy to create different effects. The textured tags on the feely blankets offer additional sensory exploration of different textures. Some babies find comfort in feely blankets, which can be calming and relaxing.

To effectively use the feely blanket with your baby, follow these steps:

Exploration: Allow your baby to explore the texture of the blanket using their fingers and hands. Encourage them to feel the different textures and surfaces.

Tummy Time: Lay your baby on the feely blanket during tummy time so they can explore the textures against their body. Move the blanket along their arms, body, and feet to provide sensory stimulation and help them become aware of their own body.

Language Development: Touch and texture experiences can support language acquisition. Describe how the blanket feels and ask questions while exploring together to encourage communication and vocabulary development.

Encourage Reaching: Position the blanket above your baby's chest to encourage them to reach out, touch, grab, and focus on the colors of the tags. This promotes hand-eye coordination and visual exploration.

Peek-a-boo Games: Engage in peek-a-boo games using the feely blanket, covering your face and slowly revealing it to your baby. This helps them learn to focus and track objects visually.

Supervision: Never leave your baby unattended with the feely blanket to ensure their safety.

Incorporating the feely blanket into your interactions with your baby in these ways can provide valuable sensory stimulation, support their physical and cognitive development, and foster bonding between you and your little one.

Black & White/Grey Hand Puppet

Hand puppets are an excellent tool for fostering your baby's hand-eye coordination as they observe and interact with their caregiver using the puppet. The puppet captures your baby's attention as they watch and listen, promoting engagement and interaction. As your baby grows, they can explore the puppet themselves, enhancing their fine motor skills by manipulating it. Interactive play with puppets encourages language development, introduces songs, sparks imagination, and fosters creativity. Babies often try to imitate facial expressions, actions, and sounds they observe during puppet play. Research indicates that using puppets is an effective method for supporting emotional well-being by facilitating discussions about feelings and promoting communication with children through playful interactions. Read our blog, Puppet play if you wish to read further about the benefits.

To effectively use hand puppets with your baby, consider the following tips:

Engage in Interaction: Use the puppet to talk to your baby, sing songs, play tickle games, or engage in hide-and-find activities. You can also dance with the puppet, discuss body parts, create stories, and incorporate it into book exploration sessions with your baby.

Encourage Conversation: Initiate conversation between you and your baby using the puppet. Speak to them and wait for their response, which could be in the form of facial movements or sounds. Encourage this back-and-forth interaction, as it promotes communication skills.

Observe and Respond: During this early stage of development, your baby may initially enjoy watching you control the puppet. However, they will likely also enjoy engaging in conversation with the puppet themselves. Puppets are fantastic tools for encouraging language and communication skills in babies.

Mimic and Encourage: Pay attention to the facial expressions, noises, and sounds your baby makes, and mimic them using the puppet. This helps your baby feel understood and encourages further communication and interaction.

By incorporating hand puppets into your interactions with your baby in these ways, you can encourage language development, promote social interaction, and enhance bonding between you and your little one in a fun and engaging manner.

A baby's Development

A Baby's Brain

Cognitive development refers to a baby's process of learning how to figure things out, develop thinking skills, and solve problems independently. Research indicates that the early stages of a baby's life are crucial for supporting their brain development. Engaging a child in sensory play helps stimulate brain development and facilitates the acquisition of new skills. This brain stimulation can enhance a baby's memory and their ability to achieve more advanced learning objectives. Spending quality time with your baby, engaging in activities such as reading stories, singing, conversing, and exploring stimulating resources, provides invaluable stimulation that supports their future development and learning journey. For further insights into your newborn baby's thought processes, consider reading this article by Gwen Dewar.

A Baby's Vision

A baby's vision begins to develop from the moment they are born. Studies indicate that initially, they can only see objects approximately 8-12 inches away. At birth, a baby's eye is about three-quarters the size of an adult's, and in the first six months of life, the six muscles surrounding the eye continue to develop. It's common for babies' eyes to seem uncoordinated in the first few weeks as their visual coordination strengthens. Towards the end of the initial months of development, you may observe your baby making more eye contact. Resources featuring black, grey, and white contrasts are purposeful as these images stimulate the development of the optic nerves and promote cognitive development in young babies. Read our blog on why black and white toys are best for young babies. Have a quick look at this one minute video for further information on babies eyesight. Keep in mind that at this stage, your baby's focus may be fuzzy. Therefore, make sure to lean in close to your baby when communicating and exploring toys together.

A Baby's Language

A young baby will show interest in the sounds they hear, which can capture their attention and prompt them to move their head to listen and observe. This interaction with sounds helps develop their attention skills. In the first three months of life, babies may start making sounds and cooing. They may also make eye contact and pull faces as they focus and listen. Additionally, babies may communicate with you by moving their arms, legs, and bodies, which are all forms of language and communication. Sensory play provides opportunities for children to learn about the world and enhances their language development, promoting effective communication with others during play. Pay close attention to your baby's communication signals and mimic the sounds and facial expressions they make while exploring resources. Supporting your baby's interaction through sensory toys helps foster their self-awareness and development. Take a look at the GOSH Foundation Trust information regarding speech and language for children 0-12 months.

A Baby's Physical Development

During the first year of your baby's life, they will develop crucial motor skills, starting with small movements like lifting their head, arms, and legs. Eventually, these skills will support them in sitting up, taking steps, and walking. Sensory play plays a significant role in motor skill development, as children recognise objects through touch. This encourages them to engage in various movements such as prodding, squeezing, touching, pulling, pushing, and throwing objects. Tummy time is particularly essential during this early stage of your baby's development.

During this stage of your baby's development, provide them with opportunities to touch, feel, and explore engaging resources that stimulate their curiosity and encourage learning through manipulation. By doing so, you can support their physical development. Encourage your baby to explore their hands by drawing attention to them through conversation and demonstration. Help them become aware of their hand reflexes by gently touching their palms to encourage them to open their hands and increase body awareness. Utilise massage techniques and age-appropriate resources to facilitate touch and exploration of their body, further enhancing their awareness. Introduce objects such as rattles and encourage your baby to reach out for them. Place the objects above their chest and within their line of sight, moving them to create sounds and prompting interaction.

When introducing tummy time, it's important to be mindful that not all babies may enjoy it initially. Start by incorporating short sessions, lasting only a couple of minutes, two to three times a day if necessary. As your child becomes more confident and stronger, gradually extend the duration of tummy time experiences. Engaging in tummy time activities with your baby contributes to the development of strong neck, shoulder muscles, and trunk, laying the foundation for milestones such as rolling, crawling, and walking. Age-appropriate My Sensory Journey resources can be introduced during tummy time to encourage your baby's engagement and help strengthen their neck and shoulder muscles. Remember to only engage in tummy time when your baby is awake, and ensure that you are present and supervising them closely throughout the session, providing assistance as needed. According to the Lullaby Trust you should lie your baby on their back to sleep. Please visit their website for the best advice on sleeping. For more guidance on tummy time positions explore this video. Additionally read our blog regarding the benefits of tummy time.

Our Top Tips

Lean in close when communicating

Listen to your babies signals when communicating

Play & explore when they are alert and relaxed

Repeat their sounds & imitate facial expressions

Sing lots of songs when exploring

Spend time cuddling your baby when exploring

And finally give your baby lots of praise!

Safety Guidelines

On Delivery

Inspect all items upon delivery and remove any packaging and labels before allowing a child to explore them.

Check for Damage

Thoroughly inspect all items before each use and discard them at the first signs of wear and tear.


Resources and toys from The Sensory Box Surprise should only be used for sensory purposes under adult supervision. Never leave a baby unattended with these resources.

Sensory Ribbon Ring

If you have a sensory ribbon ring in your box, please note that they are not teething rings or baby toys. They are intended for use by adults only, and caution should be taken to avoid contact with your baby's eyes. Ensure that the ribbons are securely fastened and tighten them where necessary. If the ribbons begin to fray, discard the item.


If you have a patterned blanket or tag blanket, do not leave them covering your baby's face.


Babies will naturally explore objects by putting them in their mouth. It's essential to monitor your child when they mouth the resources in this box. If you allow your baby to put the objects in their mouth, it is your responsibility to supervise them closely.

Correct Ages

All our subscription boxes include sensory resources and toys appropriate for the specific age range of the individual box purchased. For this box, there are resources designed for babies aged 0-3 months.

Safety Standards

All the products included in our box meet the relevant safety testing standards in the UK.

Tummy Time

Tummy time experiences should always be supervised, and you should never leave your baby unattended while they are on their tummy.

Additional Activity Ideas & Resources Suitable for 0-3 Months  

Baby Gym 

Baby gyms are a great resource to explore with your baby to encourage their vision, social skills, enhance their physical & cognitive development as they attempt to reach out and explore the objects dangling In front of their eye line. They can provide lots of new sights and sounds to hear for your baby to respond and react.


Research suggests that massage is a great way to help your baby’s circulatory system. It will also make them aware of their own body. It is very important that you do this gently. We recommend that you explore the information, videos and tips provided by the NHS before attempting massage on your very young baby.

Exploring books

Exploring books with your baby from birth will support learning journey and encourage creativity and a love for stroies. See our blog on the benefits of reading with your baby. The blog will provide you with ideas on ways to explore books with your baby. You can also purchase a range of books from our children’s book shop to support their development.

Dance and Music

Engage in dancing while holding your baby in a gentle rocking motion. Listen to soothing music or interactive songs to captivate their attention and foster their early perception of sounds, music, and bonding. Alternatively, sing songs yourself—singing is an excellent way to support your baby's language development and nurture their social and emotional well-being. Visit our blog to explore the advantages of singing with babies for more insights and ideas on the benefits.

Explore Light

To engage your young baby's attention and support their growing development, consider using light creatively. In a dark room, you can shine a torch on objects and the ceiling (though we advise against shining it directly into their eye line). Additionally, you can purchase resources that project patterns onto your ceiling and walls, although a simple torch can also effectively serve this purpose.

Imitation Games 

Position your baby in front of you, and lean in closely to imitate the expressions and sounds they make. This interaction encourages them to focus and try to mimic you. Imitation games like these are excellent for bonding and can be enjoyed at any time of the day.

Foam Mats

This mat is an excellent option for your baby to explore on. It's soft yet firm, providing stability and a flat surface that's perfect for both lying down and tummy time experiences. It's essential to ensure that the mat is non-toxic and safe for use with babies.

Texture Play

Gather various textured items from around your house and gently brush your baby's hands, fingers, feet, and body with these textures. This allows them to experience a range of tactile sensations.

Musical Mobile

Consider purchasing musical mobiles that hang above your baby to stimulate their vision and listening skills. These mobiles can be calming for babies to watch, listen to, and explore. Alternatively, you can get creative and make your own mobile using stimulating resources that create sounds when moved. Ensure that all resources used are safe and securely attached.

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Sasha Miller- Baby Center. David Blabey- Vision Direct. Catherine Holecko- Very Well Family. Hugga Mind - Infant Brain stimulation. Joanne Lewsley & Eva Dasher- Baby Center. Dr Sears. BBC - Child Development. Lullaby Trust. EYFS Development Matters. Cognitive Neuroscience society. Cummins, J.- (2000)Language, power & Pedagogy. Dahlberg, G, Moss, P & Pence, A - Beyond Quality in Early Childhood Education. Bowlby,J. - Attachment theory. Mary D. Sheridan - From Birth to Five Years. Gwen Dewar - what do newborns think about? NHS Speech & Language Development. NHS Top Tips on baby massage.