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What is Sensory Play?

8 min read | 09 April 2023

Welcome to the world of sensory play, where babies and toddlers can discover, learn and grow through their senses.

From exploring new textures to experimenting with sound, sensory play is a fun-filled way to stimulate your little one's mental and physical development.

But what exactly is sensory play, and why is it so important for babies and toddlers? Read on to find out.

What are the benefits of sensory play?

From the moment your baby is born, they begin processing information and trying to understand the world around them through sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch.

Growing minds and bodies learn so much through play that some consider it the work of children, because it involves active engagement, problem-solving, and creativity.

Sensory play is a fundamental component of play that strengthens nerve connections and pathways in the brain, and can help your little one to:

  • Develop speech and language skills

  • Practise fine motor skills, like reaching, grasping and waving

  • Improve gross motor skills, like standing, jumping and running

  • Experiment and learn through cause and effect

  • Become more away of their body and how it works

  • Develop social skills and relationships

  • Build confidence and regulate their emotions

Sensory play can take many forms, from chasing bubbles to building sandcastles, to smelling flowers or exploring textures and sounds through toys.

How do sensory toys help?

Like a toolbox to a tradie, sensory toys are important for babies and toddlers keen to strengthen their skills and reach their full potential.

While nature provides endless learning opportunities, sensory toys are good for fostering fun and development at home, in the classroom, and when you're on the go.

The best toys for this style of play will help your little one develop their five senses through a variety of shapes, textures, colours and sounds. When shopping for sensory toys or gifts, it’s a good idea to look for tried and tested options that are age-appropriate and made from high-quality, non-toxic materials where possible.

What are good baby sensory toys?

Babies spend a ton of time observing and listening until they finally figure out their hands - and then everything becomes a potential snack!

In the early days, choose sensory activities that allow your little one to practise watching and listening, like reading aloud. Both soft and hardcover books, including the Australian Animal Wooden Book, will introduce them to a thrilling world of colour, shapes and language.

Once your little one can grasp things, consider offering sensory cubes or rattles, like The Purebaby Natural Wooden Rattle. This popular baby rattle, crafted from 100% Beech Wood, is non-toxic, naturally antibacterial, and comes with a convenient carry bag.

Aside from soothing inflamed gums, teether toys can also help to build awareness and strengthen reflexes when used safely.

Soft Sensory cube laying on floor

What are good toddler sensory toys?

Sharpen fine motor skills and explore new foods with a Purebaby Farmers Market Dinnerware Set or encourage stacking and hand-eye coordination with immersive Story Cubes. Of course, cuddle toys and comforters can support your toddler's emotional development and well-being when it’s time to unwind or take a nap.

Tips for sensory play

Ready to have some fun? Here are our top 5 tips to make the most of sensory playtime for your baby or toddler.

  1. Play along

    The best way to encourage beneficial play is to get involved. Build block castles, make music with a rattle, jump in muddy puddles, and build a deeper connection as you go.

  2. Create a safe and comfortable space

    Ever tried to play with toys on a cold, hard floor? Consider a plush rug or

    Sensory Play Mat

    , so little hands and knees have a cosy space to explore.

  3. Mix it up

    Think about what you can do to lean into your little one's interests and appeal to all their senses. From building to performing, drawing and dancing, the possibilities are endless!

  4. Embrace the mess

    Mess is an inevitable part of play, so try to go with it and save the clean-up for the end.

  5. Make it accessible

    Don't wait for special occasions or weekends. Keep a basket of toys in the lounge or playroom, carry a few options in your bag and let the fun begin at any time.

Explore more sensory toys in our range

The Purebaby collection of beautiful, non-toxic sensory toys has been lovingly crafted to encourage tactile play and exploration for babies and toddlers. These natural, safe and sustainable toys are great gifts for milestone developments and special occasions. 

Sensory Cubes

Get ready for a sensory adventure with our fun-filled Sensory Cube, designed to enhance your little ones' hand-eye coordination and open their eyes to a new world of colours, textures, and shapes.

Made from safe and durable 100% cotton outer material, each cube features ribbon tabs, crinkle ears and delightful animal illustrations sure to keep little hands busy for hours.

Sensory Play Mat

Our beautiful and functional Sensory Play Mat is the perfect companion for playtime and tummy time. Featuring three detachable sensory toys and a reversible design with sweet animal prints, it's no wonder this play mat is a favourite among parents and a top-selling gift.

Made from 100% Cotton Outer with a Recycled Polyester Fill, it is machine washable and easy to use on the go.

Sensory Book

Sweet on design and big on education, our thoughtfully designed Sensory Books will provide hours of storytime fun for babies and toddlers. Lift the 3D crinkle flaps to uncover furry friends and earthy elements.

Each book is made with a soft and non-toxic 100% Cotton Outer with a Recycled Polyester Fill.

Sensory Play mat on ground with soft cube and soft book laying on top

Ready to give your little explorer the gift of sensory play? Shop the Purebaby collection of baby sensory toys today.

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