The first year and a half for any baby can be a tough one. Once a baby is able to sit up, they usually desperately want to move but can’t. Once a baby can crawl, they want to walk but can’t. My little guy is in the stage of wanting to keep up with his sisters but not quite walking. He is also a climber to his own peril, and has tumbled off boxes, down a few stairs, and only just recently learned how to safely get off the bed by backing up and sliding off. I try to encourage our baby to practice new movement skills by holding his hands and walking him around, setting up obstacle courses for baby to clamber through, and encouraging my baby boy to feed himself using a spoon. On the flip side, I don’t want my baby to grow up too fast so I’m enjoying every day of him being little and dependent. Here are a few ways we encourage baby to practice his motor skills and learn through sensory play time.
Create a sensory baby box
Sensory boxes can be super fun and age appropriate if filled with larger objects for a baby to safely handle. This sweet little guy loves an adventure, I caught him crawling as fast as he could out the front door the other day! And he does his best to get involved in his sisters’ playtime and games. I made a sensory box that’s age appropriate for him to play with on his own. The rule for baby toys is 3 inches or larger and free of small parts that could fall off and become choking hazards. I included a few small toys, various textures of rubber, plastic and wood, a few rinsed out coffee pod cups, a cut up egg carton, and small spoons and scoops. My little man loves playing most with the egg carton pieces and stacking the empty coffee pod cups! His older sisters of course want to be involved so this sensory baby box is a fun way for all my kids to play together.
Practice putting on and taking off shoes
My little guy loves to take off his shoes, a skill he learned through practice. At some point he will be able to put his shoes back on too! Actions that may seem basic to adults are perfect training sessions for babies figure out how to use their hands to accomplish an action. Babies’ first sensory activity can easily be discovering their own fingers and toes, as they explore their senses of feeling and touching.
These adorable pediped kids’ shoes are perfect baby’s first walking shoes. My little guy loves to pull off his baby booties, something that is hard to do with these shoes thanks to the snug Velcro design. pediped baby shoes hug the foot and provide sturdy support that protects a baby’s feet while they are learning how to walk. pediped baby shoes are also breathable and encourage healthy foot development. The sturdy sole of these shoes allows baby to walk on any surface from grass to gravel and cement. They are also easy to take on and off for mom, by tugging on the two Velcro straps. Baby boy can’t easily wiggle out of these cute baby shoes! pediped puts such thoughtful design and decorative details into each of their kids’ shoe styles and will easily become a favorite household brand. You’ll just have a hard time choosing a favorite shoe style!
Exceptional quality, unsurpassed comfort, and distinctive styling have made the award-winning company the fastest growing children’s footwear brand in the United States. pediped footwear has been awarded the American Podiatric Medical Association Seal of Acceptance for the promotion of healthy foot development and has received numerous industry awards and accolades. pediped is sold in over 750 stores in the United States and 40 countries worldwide with an offering of more than 150 designs for boys and girls between its three lines, Originals, Grip ‘n’ Go and Flex. Learn more at pediped.com.
Let baby practice self-feeding
My little guy loves to feed himself, although most of the time he makes a huge mess. Learning to eat with a spoon is a great way for baby to practice using their hands, learn depth perception, and fine tune the movement required to scoop a bite of food and bring it to their mouth.
These little silicone baby’s first spoons from Olababy are perfect for chubby little hands. My little guy can grasp the spoon and bring bites to his mouth much easier than with a conventional spoon. The soft silicone is gentle on his gums and tiny teeth. I love how the spoon scoop is flexible but firm enough to hold tiny bites of food. My little guy has advanced significantly since trying to feed himself using this cute Olababy OlaSprout silicon spoon.
Make a DIY sensory board book
Turn any baby book into a sensory texture board book by gluing on fabric, cardboard and interesting trim. I’d recommend using hot glue so the add-ons can’t easily be pulled off by a baby. Little ones will love the fun textures, and making your own baby board books is a great way to re-purpose old books to make them entirely new! Allow baby to turn the pages of his book by himself. My little guy loves turning the pages of a book faster than I can read the book to him. Any kind of repeatable action is a great way for baby to practice their motor skills.
Related Post: 5 Sensory Board Books for Toddlers »
Photo credit: thejennyevolution.com
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You can find lots of ways to interact with baby and teach them life skills through play! My baby boy loves being involved in anything we are doing and it’s fun to create activities to encourage him to practice his movement, fine motor skills, and agility along the way!
Katie is a writer and influencer based in beautiful Coeur d’Alane, Idaho. She enjoys DIY projects, photography, decorating and going on family adventures. She feels blessed to be a wife, stay-at-home mom to three kids and Pacific Northwest lifestyle blogger.