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Baby’s First Water Sensory Play

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As a parent, one thing I have learned is that a child’s bad mood can often be turned around with water. When Mr 14 weeks was having a grump I instinctively thought to ‘just add water’. We set up baby’s first water sensory play.

babys first water sensory play pin

Baby’s First Water Sensory Play

Water has been called upon to save the day on many occasions at our house. Whether it has been some coloured water paired with some scoops or a bucket of soapy water and a cloth to wash their bikes, I have lost count how many times I have called upon H2O to save the day. Today was no different.

With all the usual causes for complaint tended too, Mr 14 weeks was just not happy. I wasn’t quite prepared to commit to a bath however this simple water play idea popped into mind. He loved it- it was a great success!

Play Inspired Mum Baby Water Play

What you need to create Baby’s first water play

When choosing the dish, I decided on a shallow baking dish for a few reasons. We needed something that would be heavy enough that the dish would not tip over with kicking feet splashing about. This being said, we needed something shallow enough that baby’s little legs could sit comfortably in the dish. The edges of the dish we chose are beautifully rounded making for the perfect vessel!

Water play gets messy. When you add kids and water together, this equals water getting splashed about. For this reason, we set this activity upon our Rudie Nudie waterproof playmat. The playmat thirstily sucks up water leaving no pools of water on the surface. The bottom, waterproof layer prevents the water from leaking onto the carpet – winning!

Learn more about these amazing playmats and see all the incredible designs!

How to set up Baby’s first water play

Another fantastic feature of this sensory activity for your baby is it can be set up within minutes. There are just three simple steps.

  1. Lay playmat down
  2. Put water in baking dish before placing it in the middle of the play mat
  3. Gently place baby’s feet in dish

How simple is that? Savour for witching hour! There is nothing worse than knowing what will calm your distress baby and it takes so long to set up while trying to settle them at the same time – frustrating!

With only minutes between deciding to give baby some water play and actually playing- this activity rocks!

Baby Play activity

Mr 14 weeks’ first time

Mr 14 weeks loves bath time. I expected this water play activity to be a hit given his love of the bathwater. His first reaction was the startle reflex. He took the quick breath in as his little arms flung out beside him. Thankfully, this was just his first reaction. With cupped hands, we took turns dribbling water across his bare legs.

His confidence grew. Lifting his legs up and down, he started to create some little waves. His sisters made a joke about him being in the baking dish so then proceeded to visit their toy kitchen for some utensils. A ladle and a spatula joined in the play to ‘baste the baby’. Mr 14 weeks loved all the attention and the foot massages.

It wasn’t long before water was splashing this way and that. All three kids were completely engrossed in play. I love being a bystander in these moments. The girls were giggling as they hypothesised different recipes they could ‘bake’ and Mr 14 weeks was soaking it all up. Funky grumpy mood washed away!

Educational Benefits

Although Mr 14 weeks had barely clocked past three months of age, there was still plenty to be gained by being involved in the baby play activity. Every experience that our babies are exposed too, helps build those connections in their brain. This activity presented plenty of opportunities to do just that:

  • Sensory play- the sensation of the water, temperature, pressure as the water falls from different heights, the sound of the water splashing
  • Cause and effect – although developmentally he isn’t ready to completely understand cause and effect, this is a great introduction.
  • Gross motor development
  • Communication
  • Social skills
  • Cognitive development
  • Speech development
  • Proprioception development

Learning through play is amazing, isn’t it? Including older siblings is a great way to help them develop their bond with baby. Watching babies respond to their older siblings is so rewarding too. Encouraging older brothers and sisters to make eye contact and talk to their baby will further strengthen the experience. What a great way to involve the other kids!

Who would have thought so much could come from a baking dish with a splash of water? What else could you add to the dish? I am keen to try some rainbow coloured rice or dried legumes of some type. Cotton balls would work well too!

When you give this baby play idea a go, please feel welcome to share your experience in our Play Inspired Mum Facebook Group or tag us on Instagram @playinspiredmum. Baby’s first sensory water play was a great success here. I hope it is loved just as much at your place too!

Dani D x

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