Parent Sensory Play Guide
9-12 Month Box

Welcome to the My Sensory Journey Play Guide tailored for the 9-12 month box. We're thrilled for the exciting journey ahead. Whether you're a seasoned participant or just embarking on this adventure, we're here to provide insights into the resources within your box. Discover what your child can learn through exploration of the toys and how, as a parent, you can leverage these toys to support your baby's developmental journey. Additionally, delve into a wealth of information on baby development with links to valuable websites for further reading.

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.

During this phase of your baby's development, they will rely on their taste receptors to discern preferences and dislikes as they explore various foods.

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.

You'll observe that your baby's sense of smell becomes more refined, leading to heightened awareness of foods they prefer or dislike. Studies indicate that a baby's sense of smell continues to mature until approximately the age of 8.

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. Discover more facts about baby eyesight.

During this stage of your baby's development, you'll observe that their vision strengthens, allowing them to focus on objects farther away as their ability to judge distances improves. They'll also demonstrate increased proficiency in grasping objects with ease.

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.

Your baby will be actively engaging with and manipulating resources, possibly even crawling or pulling themselves up on furniture. For more detailed information on physical development, please refer to the provided resources further along in the guide.

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.

You will notice throughout this stage of development that your baby may begin to hear sounds and songs they recognise and begin to move to the sounds they hear.

Body awareness – The information their brains receive from stretch receptors in our muscles & pressure receptors in joints which allow us to begin making sense of where our bodies are. According to Catherin Holecko the baby's larger muscles develop first.

Balance – The stimulation of the vestibular system of the inner ear sends signals to the brain so we know our body in relation to gravity. Did you know that our balance will deteriorate with age?

Your baby may now be sitting up strong independently, reaching forward, going on all fours, crawling and pulling themselves up. Some babies may begin to walk.

 

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.

Milestones for babies 9-12 months

It's essential to acknowledge that all babies develop at their own pace, and each child is unique. Here are some common developmental milestones your baby may achieve during this stage:

1. Rolling
2. Pivoting
3. Crawling
4. Attempting to crawl up stairs
5. Pulling themselves up onto furniture
6. Taking their first steps (though some babies may already be walking)
7. Turning pages in a book to develop their grasp
8. Engaging in imaginative play, such as pretending to drink from a cup or feed with a spoon in imitation
9. Demonstrating increased communication through strings of sounds, clear words, and gestures like shaking their head to say no or pointing at objects in their environment.

Remember, if you have any concerns about your baby's development, or if you notice any delays, you can always seek advice and support from your baby's GP or Health Visitor.

Thank you for being a part of My Sensory Journey Subscription. We hope that you enjoy the last few months of your sensory experience. If you wish to buy your little explorer a first birthday present then why not build your own birthday box? Use the code THANKS10 to get 10% off.

How shall I introduce the sensory toys to my baby?

   You can create a joyful and engaging experience by opening the box with your baby. Show lots of enthusiasm by using an excited voice and expressive facial expressions. Talk to your baby about the resources in the box, asking questions to encourage engagement such as, "What is in our box?" or "Ooh, what does this feel like?" Don't hesitate to talk along the way, as it helps your baby become intrigued, encourages them to think and wonder, and gets them excited.

Allow your baby to look inside the box and reach out to grasp any resources (make sure all packaging and labels are removed beforehand). Provide lots of praise to encourage exploration. Play games like peek-a-boo, tickle time, hide and find, and incorporate plenty of tummy time experiences. Make silly faces, blow raspberries, clap hands, dance, and sing songs together. For further information regarding the benefits of peek a boo games read the article from Nursery World.

If you've received other boxes of resources from us previously, don't forget that you can continue to explore and nurture your baby's senses using those items in open-ended play opportunities, in addition to the new resources in this box.

Furthermore, all the toys included in the 9-12 month sensory journey box are sustainable, meaning they can be used not only throughout your baby's early years but also beyond. This ensures that your baby can continue to benefit from these toys as they grow and develop.

Puzzle

A puzzle or jigsaw included in the box serves multiple developmental purposes for your baby:

Fine Motor Skills and Hand-Eye Coordination: As your baby manipulates the puzzle pieces, they will improve their hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. This involves precise movements and coordination of small muscles in their hands and fingers.

Concentration and Focus: Working on a puzzle requires concentration and focus as your baby tries to fit the pieces together to create the desired outcome. This helps to build their ability to concentrate on tasks for extended periods, an essential skill for learning and development.

Early Understanding of Shape, Space, and Measurement: As they engage with the puzzle, babies begin to develop an understanding of shapes, space, and measurement. They learn to recognize and differentiate between shapes and sizes and understand how they fit together spatially.

Short-Term Memory Development: Puzzles also contribute to the development of short-term memory as your baby remembers where specific pieces fit or where they have already tried placing them. This strengthens their memory skills and ability to recall information.

Cognitive Development and Cause-and-Effect Learning: Through puzzle play, babies explore cause and effect, learning that their actions (e.g., fitting a piece correctly) lead to a specific outcome (e.g., completing the puzzle). This understanding is fundamental to cognitive development and problem-solving skills.

Overall, incorporating puzzles into your baby's playtime provides a rich learning experience that enhances various aspects of their development, including motor skills, cognitive abilities, and problem-solving skills.                               

A puzzle or jigsaw provides valuable support for your baby's development in various ways:

Fine Motor Skills and Hand-Eye Coordination: Engaging with the puzzle pieces helps refine your baby's fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination as they manipulate and fit the pieces together.

Concentration and Focus: As your baby works on the puzzle, they enhance their ability to concentrate and maintain focus, essential skills for learning and problem-solving.

Shape, Space, and Measurement Understanding: Through puzzle play, babies begin to grasp concepts of shape, space, and measurement as they discern how pieces fit together spatially.

Short-Term Memory Enhancement: Puzzles aid in developing short-term memory as babies remember where pieces belong and recall previous attempts, strengthening their memory skills.

Cognitive Development and Cause-and-Effect Learning: By engaging with puzzles, babies explore cause and effect, learning that their actions lead to specific outcomes, fostering cognitive development and problem-solving abilities.

In summary, puzzles offer a multifaceted learning experience that promotes fine motor skills, cognitive development, and problem-solving skills crucial for your baby's growth and learning journey.

Discover the article to find out in more detail the benefit of puzzles in early childhood. (This puzzle is from age 10 months so please be aware of this and never leave your baby unattended whilst exploring).

Instrument/Bells

Instruments play a crucial role in developing a variety of skills in babies:

Music Sensory Motor Skills: Babies explore and manipulate instruments, enhancing their sensory and motor skills. They learn to coordinate their movements to produce different sounds, fostering a deeper connection between their senses and motor abilities.

Visual Stimulation: Instruments provide visual stimulation, capturing babies' attention and encouraging them to engage with the colourful shapes and textures. This visual input supports their cognitive development and enhances their sensory experiences.

Creative Thinking: Babies are encouraged to explore their creativity as they experiment with the instrument, discovering how different actions produce various sounds and rhythms. This fosters creative thinking and problem-solving skills as they explore and invent their own music.

Sound Exploration: Instruments allow babies to explore the range of sounds they can create by turning, shaking, and twisting the instrument. They learn cause-and-effect relationships as they discover how their actions produce different sounds, promoting auditory discrimination and understanding.

Whole-body Engagement: Babies use their arms and whole bodies to interact with instruments, promoting gross motor skills development. Moving and dancing to the music they create enhances their physical coordination and strengthens their muscles.

Overall, instruments provide a rich sensory experience that promotes various aspects of babies' development, including motor skills, creativity, cognitive abilities, and auditory perception. Encouraging babies to explore and engage with instruments from a young age sets a foundation for a lifelong appreciation of music and promotes holistic development.                             

To make the most of this resource with your baby, consider the following activities:

Explore Different Sounds: Use the instrument to create various sounds, encouraging your baby to engage their large motor skills. Talk about the sounds together, describing them using descriptive language.

Follow the Beat: Play music and use the instrument to follow the beat. This interactive activity is not only fun but also stimulates your baby's creative side and helps them develop a sense of rhythm.

Sing Familiar Songs: Sing familiar songs while using the instrument. This enhances the musical experience for your baby and reinforces their understanding of rhythm and melody.

Talk About Rhythm and Rhyme: Engage your baby in conversations about rhythm and rhyme as you play with the instrument. Discuss loud and quiet sounds to support their understanding of descriptive language.

Play Hide & Find Games: Incorporate positional language by playing hide and find games with the instrument. For example, ask, "Is it under the cushion?" or "Is it behind daddy?" This activity helps your baby learn spatial concepts.

Copy Cat Games: Play copycat games with the instrument, demonstrating actions like shaking up, shaking down, or shaking around. Encourage your baby to imitate your actions, promoting learning through observation and imitation.

Observe Hand Preference: Pay attention to whether your baby shows a preference for their right or left hand as they interact with the instrument. While this preference may change over time, it provides insights into your baby's developing motor skills.

By engaging in these activities, you can create enriching and interactive experiences that promote your baby's sensory, motor, and cognitive development while fostering a love for music and creativity.

Shape Sorting, Stacking & Building

Sorting and stacking activities, such as those facilitated by the Montessori-inspired Lalaboom shapes, offer valuable opportunities for your baby's development:

Problem-Solving Skills: Babies engage in trial-and-error as they attempt to stack and sort the shapes, fostering problem-solving abilities. Through repeated attempts, they learn to overcome challenges, building resilience and confidence.

Fine Motor Skills and Hand-Eye Coordination: Manipulating the shapes to stack and sort them requires precise movements, enhancing your baby's fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.

Shape, Size, and Colour Awareness: As they explore the Lalaboom shapes, babies develop an understanding of shape, size, and colour. They learn to differentiate between shapes and sizes, and identify various colours, laying the foundation for later learning.

Skill Building and Confidence: Successfully stacking and sorting the shapes boosts your baby's confidence and provides a sense of accomplishment. This positive reinforcement encourages further exploration and skill development.

Overall, the Lalaboom shapes offer a stimulating and educational experience that promotes your baby's cognitive and motor skills development while fostering confidence and a sense of achievement.       

To engage your baby with the Lalaboom shapes, consider the following activities:

Exploration and Creativity: Allow your baby to freely explore the Lalaboom shapes by moving, mixing, and stacking them to create their own designs. Encourage them to experiment with different arrangements and patterns.

Shape Identification and Mathematical Language: Talk to your baby about the shapes of the beads and the shapes you create together. Use mathematical language, such as discussing size, shape, and colour, to promote their understanding of mathematical concepts. Pose questions like, "Which is the smallest?" or "How long is that?" to encourage critical thinking and mathematical reasoning.

Concentration and Problem-Solvin: Stacking and fitting the Lalaboom shapes together requires concentration and problem-solving skills. Encourage your baby to concentrate and figure out how to manipulate the pieces to fit and stack them.

Sensory Exploration: Provide your baby with a tub or plastic bowl where they can put the Lalaboom shapes in and take them out. This activity promotes sensory exploration and helps your baby learn about shape, space, and size as they fill and empty the container. It also encourages voluntary grasping and release, strengthening their fine motor skills. Exlpore Adam and Mila's blog.

By engaging in these activities, you provide your baby with opportunities for sensory exploration, creative expression, and cognitive development. Remember to follow your baby's lead, allowing them to explore at their own pace while providing guidance and encouragement along the way.

Lift the Flap/Interactive Books or Feely Books

Books are an invaluable resource for your baby's development in various ways:

Language and Vocabulary Development: Listening to stories helps build your baby's language and vocabulary skills as they hear new words and phrases. They may also begin to imitate sounds and words they hear in the story.

Attention Skills: Sitting and listening to a story encourages your baby to focus and pay attention, strengthening their attention skills and ability to concentrate.

Early Awareness of Print: Babies develop an early awareness of print as they focus on the words and images in the story. This lays the foundation for literacy skills and reading comprehension later on.

Understanding of the World: Books expose babies to new ideas, concepts, and experiences, helping them develop an understanding of the world around them. They learn about different people, places, and situations through the stories they hear.

Creativity Development: Storybooks stimulate your baby's imagination and creativity as they engage with the characters, settings, and plot of the story. They may even begin to invent their own stories or scenarios based on what they read.

Fine Motor Skill*: Interacting with books, such as lifting flaps or touching and feeling different textures on the pages, promotes the development of fine motor skills. This includes skills like grasping, turning pages, and exploring textures, which are important for later writing and drawing abilities.

Overall, books provide a rich and multifaceted learning experience for babies, supporting their cognitive, language, literacy, and fine motor development while sparking their creativity and imagination.                                               

To make the most of reading time with your baby, consider the following tips:

Read Aloud: Sit with your baby and read the story aloud in a soothing and expressive voice. Use different tones to make the story engaging and captivating.

Interactive Exploration: Allow your baby to hold the book, touch the pages, and explore the textures if it's a feely book. Encourage them to point to objects in the book, and identify them as you read.

Create Stories: Make up your own stories or elaborate on the pictures in the book. This encourages creativity and imagination in both you and your baby.

Sing Songs and Rhymes: Incorporate songs and rhymes into your reading time to add variety and further stimulate your baby's auditory senses.

Engage with Feely Books: If you have a book with textures, encourage your baby to find and feel them while you describe the textures.

Repetition and Praise: Repeat sounds and words your baby makes, and praise their efforts. This reinforces language learning and encourages communication.

Encourage Thinking: Ask open-ended questions like, "What else can you see?" to encourage your baby to think and engage with the story.

Follow Your Baby's Lead: Don't worry if you can't finish reading the story because your baby wants to turn pages or explore the book in other ways. They are still learning and engaging with the book in their own way.

By incorporating these practices, you can create a positive and enriching reading experience for your baby, fostering language development, cognitive skills, and a love for books. See our blog on reading with babies.

Triangle Twister/ Rainbow Petals

Toys like the Triangle Twister or Rainbow Petal toys provide valuable developmental benefits for your baby:

Fine Motor Skills Development: Manipulating the pieces of these toys to create different shapes or arrangements helps strengthen your baby's fine motor muscles, supporting their ability to grasp and manipulate objects with precision.

Cognitive Development and Problem-Solving: As your baby engages with the toys, they are presented with opportunities to problem-solve and think critically. Figuring out how to fit the pieces together to create desired shapes or patterns promotes cognitive development.

Understanding of Shape, Size, and Measure: Exploring these toys helps your baby develop an early understanding of basic geometric concepts such as shape, size, and measurement. They learn to differentiate between different shapes and understand how they relate to one another.

Hand-Eye Coordination: Manipulating the pieces of the toy requires hand-eye coordination as your baby learns to coordinate their hand movements with what they see.

Attention Skills: Engaging with the toy encourages your baby to focus and pay attention to what they are doing, thereby strengthening their attention skills and ability to concentrate.

Early Understanding of Shapes and Colours: Through play with these toys, babies begin to recognise and distinguish between different shapes and colours, laying the foundation for later learning in these areas.

Overall, toys like the Triangle Twister or Rainbow Petal toys provide a stimulating and educational play experience that promotes various aspects of your baby's development, including fine motor skills, cognitive abilities, and sensory exploration.

To effectively use the Triangle Twister or Rainbow Petal toys with your baby, follow these guidelines:

Encourage Exploration: Allow your baby to explore the toy freely, touching and manipulating the pieces. Encourage them to experiment with different shapes and configurations.

Discuss Shapes and Colours: Talk to your baby about the shapes they can create with the toy and point out the different colours. This helps develop their understanding of shapes and colours.

Demonstrate Manipulation: Show your baby how to manipulate the toy, such as twisting or turning the pieces, and encourage them to imitate your actions. Provide guidance and support if they encounter difficulty.

Provide Praise: Offer lots of praise and encouragement as your baby explores and interacts with the toy. Positive reinforcement boosts their confidence and motivation to continue exploring.

Engage in Conversation: Talk to your baby as you explore the toy together. Use mathematical language to describe the size, shapes, colours, and numbers. For example, "Look at the big red triangle" or "Can you find the yellow circle?"

Ask Open-Ended Questions: Encourage your baby to think and engage by asking open-ended questions. For example, "Where is the blue shape?" This prompts them to observe and think about their surroundings.

Respond to Communication Attempts: If your baby makes sounds or gestures in response to your questions, respond positively and provide the information they are seeking. This fosters communication skills and encourages interaction.

By following these strategies, you create a stimulating and educational play experience that promotes your baby's cognitive development, language skills, and understanding of mathematical concepts. Discover more information on early mathematics in the article by Helen J William.

Finger Puppet Set

Finger puppets offer numerous developmental benefits for your baby:

1Fine Motor Skills Developmen: Holding and manipulating finger puppet characters helps strengthen your baby's hand muscles, improving their fine motor skills and dexterity.

Encouragement of Imagination: Finger puppets inspire imaginative play and storytelling, allowing your baby to create their own narratives and engage in pretend play scenarios.

Hand-Eye Coordination: Playing with finger puppets involves coordinating hand movements with visual cues, enhancing your baby's hand-eye coordination.

Attention Skills and Tracking Movements: Engaging with finger puppets encourages your baby to focus their attention and track movements, supporting their visual tracking skills and attention span.

Language Development: Interacting with puppets provides opportunities for your baby to listen to language and engage with their caregiver. This interaction can encourage early language development, as babies respond to the sounds and gestures of the puppets.

Social Interaction and Communication: Puppet play can also facilitate social interaction and communication skills development as babies respond to the puppet's expressions, sounds, and gestures, and eventually begin to communicate verbally.

Overall, finger puppets provide a fun and interactive way for your baby to develop a range of skills, from motor skills to language and social-emotional development. Explore our blog on the benefits of puppet play for more information.

To engage your baby with finger puppets effectively, try these activities:

Encourage Exploration: Let your baby explore the finger puppets by touching and feeling them. Show them how to use the puppets and encourage them to hold or interact with them in any way they feel comfortable.

Story Time with Puppets: Use the finger puppets as props during story time to create an engaging and interactive experience. Incorporate the puppets into storytelling, singing songs, or making up tales, stimulating your baby's imagination and language development.

Creative Play: Encourage your baby to use their imagination during playtime with the puppets. They can create their own stories or scenarios using the puppets, fostering creative thinking and self-expression.

Engagement and Interaction: Interact with your baby using the finger puppets to encourage engagement and interaction. Use the puppets to initiate games, songs, or conversations, building bonds and relationships between you and your baby.

Bath Time Fun: Finger puppets can also be taken into the bath as water toys. Let your baby explore the puppets in the water, adding a fun and sensory element to bath time play. For further reading on the benefits of water play with babies read this article by Emma Homan.

By incorporating finger puppets into your baby's playtime and routine, you can promote language development, creativity, engagement, and bonding in an enjoyable and stimulating way.

 

A Baby's Development

A Baby's Brain

Cognitive development in babies involves learning how to think and solve problems independently. Dropping objects and observing their fall helps babies understand cause and effect, which supports memory development. Babies may also enjoy taking objects out and putting them back, reinforcing their problem-solving skills. As fine motor skills improve, babies become more adept at manipulating smaller objects. They also develop object permanence, realising that objects exist even when hidden. Encourage this understanding by playing hiding and finding games. Babies may start associating certain animals with actions and sounds, such as associating "woof woof" with a dog. Using their name to gain attention during conversations helps reinforce name recognition. Babies often mimic the actions of others, making action songs a fun way to engage them. Interactive and exciting stories help babies understand cause and effect, such as knocking down towers or making noises to elicit reactions.

A Baby's Vision

As your baby's vision strengthens, they will become more adept at focusing on objects both near and far, as well as tracking moving objects. You can help support this development by providing plenty of opportunities for exploration with various resources, engaging in reading sessions, and talking to your baby frequently. Your baby may particularly enjoy looking at familiar pictures and books during this stage. Activities that involve attempting to put things together, watching them move, and achieving tasks, such as posting and manipulating objects, can be especially beneficial. You may notice your baby spending longer periods of time staring at resources and manipulating them to achieve a goal. The diverse range of resources provided in their sensory box will aid in their development in these areas.

A Baby's Language

During this stage of your baby's learning journey, their language development may progress rapidly, with them starting to say simple words like "Mama," "Dada," "No," and "Hiya." Research indicates that by twelve months, babies can understand simple commands like "come here," even if they can't verbalise them. It's essential to continue naming objects and making sounds for animals and other items to build their receptive language skills. Your baby will likely experiment with sounds by repeating them and creating strings of sounds. Books play a vital role in language development, so choose ones with labeled pictures, animal sounds, and interactive features to foster a love for story time and enhance language and writing skills. Singing songs and playing simple games like finding body parts or copycat games can also support language development. As your baby starts pointing at things, acknowledge their communication by naming the object or area they're pointing to. Maintain good eye contact and face your baby when communicating so they can see your facial expressions and mouth movements, which aids in understanding. Asking questions during exploration encourages your baby to think and engage actively in their learning process. For more information about your babies speech and language development you can also have a look at this information for families through the NHS.

A Baby's Physical Development

At this stage, your baby may start to show signs of mobility, such as crawling, bum shuffling, or holding onto furniture for support. Some babies may even take their first steps while holding onto your hand, although it's important to remember that every child develops at their own pace, and some may not reach this milestone just yet. For further reading explore our blog, 'what are motor skills?'.

During this stage, your baby will likely spend more time manipulating objects, using their finger and thumb to achieve specific effects. It's important to provide activities and play opportunities that allow your baby to use their fine motor skills and explore their interests. For example, if your child enjoys music, play a song and encourage them to move their body, wave their arms, or support them to stand with your assistance and observe if they attempt to bounce and move with excitement.

When reading books with your baby, you may observe them beginning to turn the pages and explore the textured or interactive parts of the book. Encourage this exploration by allowing your baby to touch and prod the feely parts of the book, and ask them questions about how the book feels. These small physical milestones not only support your baby's learning but also pave the way for the development of their mark-making skills in the future. Read this Nursery World article for more information on the importance of mark-making in the early years. There are also links throughout the article for further reading.

Our Top Tips

Make lots of communication. Imitate their sounds, words, facial expressions and actions


Lots of singing, action songs & dancing

Play & explore when they are alert and relaxed


Play lots of peek a boo games & hide & find games

Have lots of tummy time experiences


Practice standing up with support

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.

Supervision

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.

Blankets

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

Supervision

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 9-12months.

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 9-12 Months

Cardboard boxes

Boxes are excellent resources for your baby's exploration and can offer hours of open-ended play. Encourage your baby to explore by providing various items to drop in and take out of the box. This activity not only entertains but also teaches cause and effect, as well as concepts like shape, size, and measure. Your baby will delight in lifting the sides of the box, peeping in and out, and discovering how things work. Read our blog on the benefits of open ended play.

 

Building & stacking

Utilise safe household items to build towers and encourage creativity with your baby. Your little one may attempt to build structures and will certainly take pleasure in knocking them down. Counting the resources as you build can add a fun learning element to the activity. Provide a tub or box for your baby to find and empty the resources, which not only entertains but also teaches cause and effect and introduces concepts like shape, size, and measurement. We sell a range of building, sorting and stacking resources in our shop.

 

Get noisy

Offer various resources to encourage your baby to get creative and make lots of noise and sounds. Utilise pots and pans, as well as any instruments you have from subscription boxes, and discuss the sounds being created. Use descriptive language with your baby, asking questions like "Can you make it louder?" or "Can you make it quieter?" Encouraging your baby to experiment with volume and speed fosters their understanding of descriptive language while also providing a fun and engaging sensory experience.riptive language with your baby?

Fidget boards

Fidget boards are fantastic tools for babies to practice their fine motor skills as they engage in activities like zipping, unzipping, and manipulating objects to achieve a desired effect. These boards typically feature knobs, switches, and various interactive elements that provide sensory stimulation and encourage exploration. While you can purchase fidget boards from the market, you can also create your own customised versions at home. However, it's essential to closely monitor your baby while they interact with these boards and never leave them unattended to ensure their safety.

Large shape sorters

Engaging in activities with large shape sorters can greatly benefit your baby's development, particularly their fine motor skills and pincer grasp. As they manipulate the shapes to fit into the sorter, they'll not only refine their motor skills but also engage in problem-solving and critical thinking. Shape sorters encourage babies to explore concepts of shape and space, fostering cognitive development. Your baby may initially enjoy simply opening the lid, dropping the shapes in, and then retrieving them- a process that teaches cause and effect. Encourage this exploration and repetition, as it lays the foundation for understanding spatial relationships and developing problem-solving skills. Shape sorters can be purchased from our sorting and stacking toys. You can also create your own shape sorter at home using simple materials like a box and various shapes or even just a tub filled with different objects. This DIY approach encourages creativity and resourcefulness while providing your baby with a fun and engaging activity that supports their development.

Chunky chalks

Introducing chunky chalks to your baby is a great way to encourage early mark-making skills. As they grip and manipulate the chalks, they'll not only explore their grasp but also experiment with creating different marks and patterns. Outdoor play with chalk allows for colourful exploration and creativity, and you can enjoy creating pictures together. However, it's crucial to ensure that the chalks you use are safe for babies, especially since they may mouth them. Additionally, outdoor play provides the opportunity for the rain to wash away the marks, creating a dynamic and interactive experience for your baby.

Water and brushes outside

Providing your baby with a chunky brush to hold can be a stimulating sensory experience. You can take this activity outdoors and use various materials like water, mud, sand, or a mixture of cornflour and water to create marks. Show your baby how to use the brush to make marks on different surfaces, and engage them in conversation about the marks they are creating. Remember to never leave your baby unattended during this activity to ensure their safety. This sensory play fosters creativity, fine motor skills, and an appreciation for the natural world.

Painting

Exploring paint with your baby can be a fun and enriching sensory activity. Provide a variety of resources such as easy-grip brushes, sponges, and twigs for your baby to make marks with, as well as encouraging them to use their hands and feet directly in the paint. Painting your baby's hands and feet and talking about how it feels can enhance their sensory experience and language development. Encourage reciprocal interaction by allowing your baby to paint your hands and describing the sensation to them. Creating prints together fosters creativity and strengthens the parent-child bond.

It's essential to ensure that the paint you use is safe for babies, as they may put it in their mouth as part of their exploration. Opt for non-toxic, washable paints specifically designed for young children to ensure their safety during this hands-on learning experience.

 

Water Play

Bath time provides an excellent opportunity to support your baby's development in various ways. You can enhance their sensory experience by providing plastic cups or jugs for them to tip and pour, promoting hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. Introducing resources that sink and float encourages exploration and introduces basic concepts of buoyancy, laying the foundation for early mathematical language development. Taking water play outdoors with watering cans can further enrich the experience, offering different sounds and effects while engaging multiple senses.

Water play not only fosters physical development but also encourages language acquisition, social interaction, and concentration skills. Encourage your baby to explore the water, sing songs about bath time and toys, and engage in interactive play. However, it's crucial to never leave your baby unattended during water play to ensure their safety. With supervision, bath time can become a fun and educational experience for both you and your baby. Follow the link for further reading on why water play benefits your baby's development.

Trays with sensory resources

Exploring different textures can be a stimulating sensory activity for your baby. You can provide various materials such as cornflour and water, soft spaghetti, flour, crunchy cornflakes, paint, and foam for them to touch and explore. If you don't have a tray, you can use tubs or simply spread the materials on the floor for your baby to interact with. Encourage your baby to use their hands and feet to feel the textures and make trails, fostering their early understanding of mark-making.

As your baby explores the materials, talk to them about how things feel—the textures, temperatures, and any sounds they make. You can also provide utensils like brushes, sponges, and objects for tipping and pouring, allowing your baby to practice their grasp and fine motor skills. However, it's crucial to never leave your baby unattended during sensory play, and depending on their stage of development, you may need to provide additional support and supervision. Always ensure that the materials you use are safe for babies to explore, as they may put things in their mouth to investigate.

Dancing & singing

Listening to music and singing songs is a wonderful way to engage your baby and encourage their development. You can create a musical experience using simple household items like pots and pans, along with wooden spoons to create rhythmic sounds. Encourage your baby to join in by moving their body to the music, mirroring your movements and enthusiasm.

Incorporate actions into the songs you sing to make them interactive and engaging for your baby. You can also create your own songs, using simple melodies and lyrics to capture your baby's attention and stimulate their imagination. This musical experience not only fosters a love for music but also supports language development, sensory exploration, and physical coordination. Enjoy this special time together, and let your creativity flow as you make music with your baby. Explore our blog on the benefits of singing with babies.

Heuristic baskets

Offering natural resources for your baby to explore can provide them with rich sensory experiences and opportunities for discovery. Items such as pine cones, leaves, chunky bead necklaces, bangles, keys, wooden spoons, bells, and small metal bowls can captivate your baby's interest and stimulate their senses.

By regularly changing the resources in the basket, you introduce variety and keep your baby engaged and curious. As your baby explores the items, observe their reactions and interactions, noting how they manipulate the objects and respond to different textures, shapes, and sounds.

Encourage your baby to touch, shake, and investigate each item, allowing them to learn through sensory exploration. This activity promotes fine motor skills, cognitive development, and sensory awareness. Read this article for extra ideas to craete treasure baskets. Remember to supervise your baby closely during exploration and ensure that the items you provide are safe for them to handle and explore.

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Sources

Sasha Miller- Baby Center. David Blabey- Vision Direct. Catherine Holecko- Very Well Family. Hugga Mind - Infant Brain stimulation. Joanne Lewsley - 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. Dr.Saul McLeod - Object performance. NHS - Speech & Language. Nursery World Article, Penny Tassoni - Birth to Two: Peek - a - Boo. Teach.com - The Benefits of Puzzles in Early Years Development. Adam & Mils Blog - Putting Things Away and Into Containers. Early Years Mathematical Tool Kit - Cumbria Governement. NHS Speech and Language Development. Nursery World Article, Penny Tassoni - All About Mark Making. Red Monket Specialists - Benefits of Water Play. Early years Alliance, Family Corner - How to Make a Treasure Basket.