{Oh So Sweet} Sensory Bin for the Babies

Activities for 1 year olds?  There are so many activities and games out there for toddlers and preschoolers, but having become a mom for the second time around, I am remembering what it was like to stare at my new baby and think, “Now what?

When our kids start to toddle, it seems easier to find activities, but what about activities for one year oldsand infants?  My baby daughter and I talk, we smile, we sing, and we play, but I never quite know what else to do with this little person.

Our older children enjoy sensory bins so I decided to try to come up with an idea for a collection of items for babies that was, beyond anything else, safe (i.e., no choking hazards).  I browsed the aisles of the dollar store and the grocery store and even looked around my own house.  It wasn’t until I was visiting a friend and she opened an old box with a scrunchy in it that I came up with my idea.  That night, I went home and dug out all of my old scrunchies.  I haven’t worn them in about 15 years, but I never threw them out (being a pack rat sometimes has its merits).  I tossed them all in the washing machine to freshen them up and searched for a suitable container.

Activities for 1 year Olds

My 6 month old daughter was presented with the cookie tin of different colored and textured scrunchies.

She immediately grabbed a few and tried to “eat” them (which is what I expected would happen).  She would pull them away and look at what she had been munching on and then she would put them right back to her mouth.

sensory bin baby idea


During her exploration, I would narrate what was happening, as talking to your baby is one of the most important things you can do for your child’s language development, according to the experts.  I talked to her about textures and colors and introduced her to a lot of new vocabulary (glittery, bumpy, velvety, smooth, rough, etc.).

I put scrunchies on her wrists and ankles, and she had a good time flailing her arms and trying to get them off of her feet.  When she was unable to pull them off her feet, she simply brought her mouth down to them!

sensory bin baby idea

After having done this exploration in a propped up sitting position, I then placed her on her play mat for some tummy time.  She immediately knocked over the container, so we spread the scrunchies out on the floor.  She would shimmy and wiggle to try and reach the desired one and immediately chomp down on it once she grasped it.  I could see her hand-eye (and mouth) coordination at work.  I knew she was learning just by experiencing these new textures with her hands, feet, lips, and tongue.

Activities and Games for One Year Olds

In addition to continuing our conversations about each one, we have also started exploring the scrunchies in other ways – and here’s where, if you have another child at home, you could incorporate him/her into the activity.  Some other ideas include:

  • Hiding and trying to find them (simple hidings like in your lap or behind your back – baby won’t be able to find them but you’re introducing the concept of object permanence)
  • Stacking them and knocking them over (super fun for the toddler in your house)
  • Counting the scrunchies (also good for your toddler)
  • Placing them in and out of the container as well as over and under (good simple vocabulary lesson)
  • Crinkling them by baby’s ear (they actually make different sounds)
  • Sorting by color (even if it’s just lights and darks)
  • Peeking through them and making silly faces (after all, who doesn’t love a wacky pair of glasses?)

sensory bin baby idea

This scrunchy sensory bin is now permanently out by my daughter’s activity mat and gets played with almost daily during tummy time or when she’s practicing sitting up.  It’s fun, safe, and can open up a whole new world of vocabulary which will aid in your child’s oral language development.  Plus, watching a baby’s little hands grasp objects and bring them to his or her mouth is truly wonderful.

More Activities for 1 Year Olds

Here at Kids Activities Blog, we are a little obsessed with playing with baby!  Here are some recent articles about activities that are mom and kid tested.

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About Amy

Amy is stay at home mom to a 4 year old son and a 18 month old baby girl. Before becoming a mom, Amy was an elementary school teacher and has a Master's in Literacy Education and a Reading Specialist certificate. She is also the director and teacher of a local Kindermusik program. She loves theater, music, and dance, and of course, playing with her children. Amy writes Stuck Under a Baby, tweets as @stuckunderababy and can be found on Facebook.