how to create your own sensory toys for your babies & toddlers, at home, on a budget.
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DIY Sensory Block Activity
For all the crafty moms out there who love creating and incorporating developmentally enriching toys for their babies and toddlers, we have an exciting and budget-friendly diy project for you! In this post, we’re going to show you how to make your very own DIY sensory blocks that will captivate your little one’s senses and provide hours of creative playtime.
The Magic of Sensory Play
Sensory play is a great way to engage your baby’s growing mind. It stimulates their senses, encourages exploration, and promotes cognitive development. Sensory activities can help babies learn about the world around them while having loads of fun. And what better way to introduce your child to the wonders of sensory play than with custom-made sensory blocks?
The Developmental Power of Sensory Play
- Enhanced Brain Development: Sensory play engages multiple senses simultaneously, creating a rich network of neural connections in your baby’s brain. This stimulation supports brain growth, enhances cognitive development, and paves the way for future learning.
- Fine and Gross Motor Skills: Sensory play activities often involve grasping, pouring, scooping, and manipulating objects. These actions promote the development of both fine and gross motor skills, helping your child gain dexterity and control.
- Language and Communication Skills: Through sensory play, children learn to describe the textures, colors, and sensations they experience. This enhances their vocabulary and encourages communication, which is essential for social and academic success.
- Emotional Regulation: Sensory play can be calming and soothing, helping children regulate their emotions. It provides an outlet for stress and can be particularly helpful in managing anxiety and frustration.
- Social Development: Sensory play can be a fantastic group activity, allowing children to interact, share, and cooperate. These experiences teach important social skills like sharing, taking turns, and empathy.
- Creativity and Imagination: Sensory materials, textures, and colors spark your child’s imagination. They can turn everyday objects into exciting, fantastical creations, fostering creativity and problem-solving skills.
Incorporating Sensory Play into Your Baby’s Day
- Sensory Bins: Create sensory bins filled with items like rice, noodles, dried beans, sand, or blended cheerios (we like taste safe over here). Add scoops, cups, and small toys. Your little one can explore the textures, pour, scoop, and bury objects, promoting fine motor skills and imaginative play.
- Messy Play: Let your child dive into the wonderful world of messy play. Finger painting, shaving cream, & our favorite-mud play can be great options. The tactile experience encourages sensory exploration and creativity.
- Nature Walks: Take your little one on nature walks and explore different textures, sounds, and sights. Let them touch leaves, bark, grass, and pebbles. Talk about what they’re experiencing to foster language development.
- DIY Sensory Blocks: As discussed in our previous post, creating sensory blocks offers an incredible opportunity for sensory exploration and fine motor development.
- Sensory Bottles: Craft sensory bottles filled with various materials like glitter, colored water, or small objects. The mesmerizing visual and auditory experiences can captivate your baby’s attention.
- Sensory Playdates: Arrange playdates with friends who have children of similar ages. Set up sensory play stations where the little ones can explore different textures and materials together.
- Texture Exploration: Use common household items like kitchen sponges, cotton balls, and fabric swatches for texture exploration. Let your child feel, squeeze, and experiment with these materials.
- Aromatherapy: Introduce your child to different scents through safe, child-friendly essential oils or scented playdough. Discuss the scents and encourage them to describe what they smell.
- Outdoor Adventures: Engage in outdoor play in various weather conditions. Rain, snow, and sunshine offer unique sensory experiences that help your child understand the world around them.
Why Sensory Blocks
This is one or my favorite and easiest kid DIYs ever. It is so great for babies or kids of all ages. It gives them exposure to different textures during playtime and engages their creativity. Blocks are a great learning tool for babies, to practice stacking & building. They cost under $10 to make do this diy for kids. This gives you and your child the opportunity to get creative on which textures you choose- you could make another activity out of just picking out textures or going on a nature walk! Pick something unique that your child is interested to make these customized to your child. With my older kids we made this into a fun scavenger hunt for sensory materials which was extra fun and a whole activity in it of itself. Sensory blocks are not only fun but also an excellent educational tool for your baby. These versatile toys are perfect for teaching them basic skills like stacking and building. Their compact size makes them easy to store, and the best part is that you can create them for less than $10! Plus, you get to pick and choose the textures, making each block a unique sensory adventure for your child.
Getting Started: Your Supply List
Here’s what you’ll need for this easy DIY toy project:
- Wooden Blocks: You can find wooden blocks at stores like Home Depot, or if you prefer the convenience of online shopping, we’ve linked a 50-pack from Amazon & a similar pack from Walmart-which are great deals!
- Hot Glue Gun & Glue Sticks: A hot glue gun is a versatile tool to have around. If you don’t already own one, consider getting a pack of glue sticks too. It’s a cost-effective investment for future projects.
- Textures Galore: This is where your creativity can shine. Gather materials with different textures to affix to your blocks. Some great ideas include free flooring samples from Home Depot, scraps from around your house like sponges, leaves, pieces of clothing, wooden sticks, or buttons from old jeans—virtually anything that’s safe for your baby to explore.
Shop The Supplies for DIY Sensory Blocks Here
The Creative Process Of the DIY Sensory Blocks
How To Make Your DIY Sensory Blocks for Your Little One:
Now that you have your supplies ready, let the creative process begin!
- Use the hot glue gun to attach your textures to the blocks- make sure that you don’t use anything that your baby or toddler would choke on if it came off.
- Once it is glued on set it aside for a day to let it harden completely just to be safe
Here are some examples of sensory blocks that will spark your imagination:
- Clothing Block: This one’s a hit with my little one. We used scraps of old jeans, leather, and a t-shirt material. The detailed textures of the jeans, including the roughness, loops, buttons, and zippers, provide endless fascination for your baby. We cut the loop in a square and hot glued it right on and they love it!!
- Pom-Pom Paradise: Hot glue pom-poms to one side of a block. Your baby will love the different textures and vibrant colors.
- The Mystery Block: Create a block covered with hot glue on one side. The interesting texture of hardened hot glue is an intriguing sensory experience. We did it in the shape of an E for his name.
- Soft & Squishy: Attach a sponge to another block. Your baby can explore the sponge’s softness and squishiness.
- Fabric Fun: Use a dish towel to cover a block. The different fabric textures provide an excellent sensory experience.
- Indoor and Outdoor Adventures: Experiment with various samples such as carpet, turf, garage flooring, or even items found around your house, like buttons and wooden sticks. Your baby will love exploring the different textures.
The possibilities are endless, and the only expenses are the wooden blocks and the hot glue gun (if you don’t already have one). Everything else can be sourced from samples or items you already have at home. It’s an eco-friendly and budget-conscious project that both you and your baby will enjoy. We remade these for my youngest and it was even so fun for my older children ages 3-5 years old because it was like a fun scavenger hunt for them to find the different sensory materials to add to their own blocks.
Take a Look at How Our DIY Sensory Blocks Turned Out
Share Your DIY Blocks With Us
We hope you and your little one have a blast exploring, creating and playing with these sensory blocks. Share your designs and the fun you have on Instagram; we’d love to see what you come up with! Tag us here
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