Sensory activities are great ways to introduce babies and toddlers to new colors, smells, textures, sounds and tastes. It sparks curiosity in young children and encourages exploration.
Our spring sensory bin included twigs from a budding tree, mint, evergreen sprigs, rocks, lavender and daffodils.
I chose the budding twigs so my toddler could see and touch the new buds sprouting on the branches (which have looked stark all winter). I talked with her about how she will see the trees flower and grow green leaves in the coming weeks. Mostly, she liked touching the buds and waving the twig around.
I showed her how to smell the mint, lavender and daffodils. Herbs are great to include in nature sensory bins because they engage the senses of smell and taste. Just be sure to wash any herbs before letting your baby or toddler munch on them.
The texture of the evergreen sprigs fascinated her. I explained that they remain green all year, unlike the trees and other plants in our area. I’m not sure she really understood, but you never know what kids will pick up on.
I felt that the daffodils were a must because they grow in our yard and are among the first flowers to bloom every spring. I picked two that had already bloomed and one that had not opened yet to show her the difference. She also liked waving these around, feeling the soft petals and sniffing them.
The rocks were a fun addition because she liked to explore the different sizes and textures as well as the sounds they made on the metal pan versus the concrete.
We talked about each item, noting the color, weight, texture and any other qualities. I showed her the differences in the items. For instance, the flower petals are soft and the rocks are hard. After exploring with her, I stepped back and let her explore on her own to help promote independence.
Overall, we had a lot of fun exploring nature and some of the first signs of spring together! You don’t have to include these items in your sensory activity. Use what is safe for babies and toddlers to handle (watch choking hazards) and what you find in your area. Comment below on what items your child liked!