You’ve bought your pram, car seat and cot. You’ve got nappies, wipes, and muslins coming out of your ears. You’re fully prepped for night feeds and teething, and you have outfits for everyday of your babies first year! There’s nothing left to tick off your pregnancy wish-list, right? The first few weeks are a warm, cuddly, sleep-deprived blur. But what about after you’ve survived those? What about when your baby first begins to open their eyes and look at the world? How are you going to start playing and interacting with your little one?
J was born in August, and it was a very hot summer. I remember spending lots of time when he was first born in our shorts on the sofa, with the patio doors open, desperate for a cool breeze. The nights and days rolled into one, and spent a long time in our little family cocoon, protecting and loving him. We worked out that he would turn his head when he was hungry, that he would scream when he had wind, and that he would get very ratty if he wasn’t able to sleep. But one day, at just a few weeks old, he opened his eyes are looked at me. I mean, he really looked at me. He suddenly was aware of things around him, and things that he wanted to see. And to hear. And later, to touch.
I realised I had no idea how to play with this little scrunchy baby! I didn’t know how to interact with this little delicate boy, who knew nothing about this world. It was the last thing I thought we needed, but I realised that we didn’t have anything to play with! We had a few toys, but they were all too grown-up for somebody who was unable to sit up, or grasp at things. It wasn’t until we started to attend some sensory groups that I learnt how to best interact with my newborn. I learnt that he didn’t need fancy toys, and equipment. He needed simple objects for him to look at, to hear, and to feel. We could have fun together by capturing the attention of his different senses, and helping him to understand them.
This month has been a bit different from the usual. Instead of trying and testing new musical toys, J and I have been working to build our very own Musical Sensory Box, which is now available to purchase. This box, suitable from birth, is filled with lots of exciting textures, sounds, and colours, all designed to help your baby to explore the world. It focuses on three senses: hearing, seeing and touching. It will provide you with ideas and inspiration to heighten these and help your little one to develop.
Babies are born with pretty good hearing. They are able to hear from around the 16th week of your pregnancy, and are able to recognise your voice by the time they are born. They take great comfort in this, as it is really the only thing they know! Singing is therefore a lovely way to calm and comfort your baby. Nursery rhymes and lullabies are the simplest way to do this, which is why we have chosen a colourful book of all the favourites, to include in our box.
Anything that makes a noise will be interesting to your baby. To help them to recognise the association between hearing things and seeing them, we have picked 2 instruments. These include an endless stream of playing opportunities for you and your baby!
Babies are born with quite a poor eyesight. They are barely able to open their eyes for the first few days, having spent 9 months in almost total darkness! They can only see in black and white for the first 6 months, and even then cannot really make out shades of colour. And, even more surprising – they have no depth perception until they are around 4 months old! Therefore, the best toys for babies have bright, bold colours. Reflective materials, things that light up, and things that move are all brilliant for encouraging your baby to focus on things. We have included items that tick all of these boxes!
Touch is a very important sense for babies – it is one of the main ways that they learn! It will take a while for your baby to unclench their fists though, and to realise what their hands are for. You can help them by offering a variety of different textures for them to feel. Rub them gently on their fingers, their toes, their tummies. J and I have explored lots of different textures this week, to find his favourites!
Everyday objects are just as interesting to babies as toys. Remember, they haven’t seen anything before, so they are curious about everything! They have very short attention spans, so be careful not to overwhelm their senses. But just a little bit of sensory interaction everyday is a great way to play with your baby – and it doesn’t cost you a lot of time or money. This is definitely something I wish I had thought of when compiling my pregnancy wish-list!
Our Musical Sensory Boxes include everything you need to get started, including ideas for games and activities at 0, 3 and 6 months. Priced at £19.99 (including delivery), they will make a lovely baby shower or new baby gift.
Please note, the contents of these boxes are not toys, and you should not leave your baby unattended with them. They are for adults and babies to interact with together.