10 Taste safe sensory play ideas

Providing your child with sensory activities like messy play helps build nerve connections in the brain. It encourages the development of motor skills and supports language development too. Babies who spend a lot of time doing messy sensory activities are less likely to become picky eaters and more likely to try new food items. Sensory play also creates hands-on, self-directed and self-centered play, and it encourages discovery and development. 

Here are top 10 taste safe sensory play ideas for 8 months + babies

1. Rainbow spaghetti

Playing with rainbow spaghetti is a great sensory experience for babies and toddlers. The slimy texture slips through their little fingers easily. The eye-catching colors grab their attention as their eyes identify the difference between them. You can even hide items in the spaghetti for your baby to find or add some bowls and cups for them to fill the spaghetti into. 

Here is a simple recipe to make this taste safe, sensory play for your baby  

1. Boil water and add a few drops of food coloring 
2. Add the spaghetti in
3. Add some oil
4. Once fully cooked, drain the spaghetti using a sieve
5. Rinse under cool water
6. Repeat with all the colors of the rainbow
7. Store in an airtight container

2. Playdough

Using playdough has many benefits - it develops fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination, encourages creativity and is calming for children. As your baby manipulates the playdough, they develop vocabulary, literacy and numeracy. As your child becomes more comfortable with using playdough, you can include tools like rollers, hammers and cookie cutters to take their creativity to the next level!

Here is a simple recipe to make this taste safe, sensory play for your baby  

1. ​​2 cup maida
2. 1/2 cup salt
3. 2 tbsp cream of tartar
4. 1 tbsp oil
5. 1 cup water
6. Few drops essential oil
7. Few drops food coloring

3. Taste Safe Sand

Playing with sand is not only a fun experience for children, but also encourages them to play with textures which helps picky eaters and children with sensory aversions. While playing with sand is not safe until your child is about 18 months,

Here is a way to make it safe and not have you worry about it, even if they put some in their mouth. 

1. 2 cups flour (dry roast or bake to make it taste safe)
2. 1/2 cup cocoa powder
3. 3 tbsp oil

At this age, all you have to do is offer the sand in small containers (2 or 3) on a larger tray and wait for your baby to explore independently. 

4. Paint

If you want to get your child to play with paint, before they are out of the mouthing phases,

Here is a recipe to make taste safe paint at home. 

1. 1/4 cup salt
2. 1/2 cup flour
3. 1/2 cup water
4. Food coloring

You can have your baby paint on paper, paint old cardboard boxes or even their high chair tray. Adding paint in the bathroom, whether it’s painting the bathtub or the glass wall, it sure makes clean up easy. You can use paint brushes, rollers, sponges, stamps or even kitchen utensils to support your child with mark making. 

5. Frozen baubles

Here is an alternative to paint. Frozen baubles are super fun to use during hot summer days. These are taste safe and make a great sensory play for your child. It is also a way to introduce your child to different tastes as they might occasionally take a lick of the bauble. 

1. Boil and grate some beets
2. Add the grated beets to some drinking water and let the water change color
3. Add the colored water to your ice tray (if you have different shapes and sizes, even better)
4. Add some twine and put it in the freezer
5. Use different vegetables for different colors
6. Offer these baubles to your child while they sit in their high chair and watch them enjoy making a masterpiece! 

6. Treasure hunt

 Fill a shallow bucket with water and add some drops of black food coloring. Add some textured balls or objects (that are not choking hazards) in the water. Encourage your child to dip their hands in the bucket to find the objects. Place a towel besides the bucket for your child to put the wet objects on to prevent it from getting too messy. 

7. Exploring temperatures

Offer two bins one filled with ice and the other warm water. Let the child explore different temperatures of both. Mouth the ice and just have fun

8. Water play

In a tray fill water and add child sized jug of water (you can use the pitcher set from level 9 Montessori Box), paint brush, cups and ladles. Stay back and observe as your child attempts to spill the water out of the pitcher. Using their hands they will splash with their hands as well as with the tools provided. This is an easy setup but teaches several practical life skills.

9. Self-feeding

This has got to be, hands down, the best sensory experience for your child. Whether it is smearing the yogurt all over their face or smashing the banana on the high chair tray. Empowering your child to feed themselves not only creates a love for food but also stimulates their senses which is a crucial part of their development. 

10. Pea smash

This activity is exactly what the name suggests. Steam a few green peas and once cool, add them into a large ziplock. Tape all 4 sides on the floor and stay back as your childs smashes the peas with just their fingers or their palms. They may even lay their whole body on the bag and attempt to smash the peas with their feet too! Even though peas are edible, they could be a choking hazard and hence the ziplock is a safer method.

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