Baby E and I were on the Cape this past weekend visiting Grammie. Having grown up on the Cape I’ve been excited pretty much since Baby E’s arrival to take her to the beach in the Summer. I was a beach bum baby, and have so many wonderful memories of playing all day in the sand and the surf. I am hoping E will take after her mom and be a little beach bum herself.
It occurred to me while we were there, why wait till the Summer? The beach is the ultimate sensory experience for little ones, the sound of the water, the smell of the air, the feel and taste of the salty sand. The weather wasn’t fantastic on Saturday but it was warm enough, so we went for a walk down to the bay by Grammie’s house. E was all wrapped up in her bunting, but she had a ton of fun sitting and playing in the sand, completely engaged the whole time and loving exploring this wonderful new place.
Taking the walk to the bay was a good reminder for me to think in terms of “baby fun” for new experiences and sensory play for E. Rather than wait to do something until we can spend the day, or for when the weather is just right, go and do it now.15 minutes on the beach on a cloudy early Spring day was thrilling for E, just as sitting on the lawn, playing with the grass and sticks was. No need for a big trip to the Cedar Swamp, the backyard was just perfect.
On Me and Baby E I post a lot about sensory activities for children and babies, but have yet to really explain why they are so important for baby’s development. In the first three years of life a baby’s brain will grow proportionally more than in at any other point in their life. During these first years billions of cells are being formed, as are synapses, or pathways between the cells. It is these synapses that allow for learning and understanding. As Shellie Braeuner notes in the article Sensory Activities and Baby Play activities that engage the senses are baby’s first real learning experiences. Engaging babies and young children in a myriad of sensory experiences and play will help them reach their full potential.
Go beyond finger painting and music for sensory play, and explore your little piece of the world with your little one! They will be learning more than you can imagine.