Feeling sand run through his fingers, bouncing on a trampoline or simply hearing the sound of beans shake in a tin are all part of your tot’s sensory experience in the great big world he’s living in.
Stimulating your peewee’s senses is an important part of his development, since this will help him to develop his motor skills, encourage him to explore and hone his creativity.
Besides his sense of sight, smell, taste, hearing and touch, your tot has a vestibular sensory system (which helps him balance), while proprioception lets him control his limbs without directly looking at them.
Here are some of the best toys that can help cultivate all your munchkin’s senses.
What It looks deceptively simple but the Rocking Bowl’s smooth curved underside can rock in all directions, while the wave design rim is a safety function when the bowl is overturned, so little limbs don’t get pinched. Big enough for two children, ripple lines inside serve as an anti-slip function.
Parents say The Rocking Bowl may look simple, but it’s really versatile. Your little ones would love to fill it with their toys, sitting in it and imagining they are in a space ship or a boat, or just rocking from side to side. The toy improves coordination and vestibular balance, but it’s quite pricey.
2. Kinetic Sand by Waba Fun
What Why not bring the beach indoors with Kinetic Sand? Just like real sand, it’s easy to shape and magically moulds into various designs. Wheat, gluten and casein free, Kinetic Sand is safe and non-toxic. Coloured Kinetic Sand is available, too.
Parents say This is an incredible tactile product that allows junior to exercise his creativity. He’ll love how the sand binds together and stays that way as he moulds it into various shapes. Best of all, it remains clumped together and doesn’t spread everywhere, so there’s no sand or residue on your hands. Hurray for easy clean-ups! Great for kids with allergies, this product is perfect for open-ended, non-directed play.
3. Early Learning Centre Sand and Water Table
What Comes with two troughs, so you can fill it with either sand or water, or both! Comes with a rake, a scoop, a spade and a boat. When play time is over, just use the waterproof lid to cover everything ― how’s that for easy storage? Even the legs can be removed off, so that you can easily take it along for parties or even to the beach.
Parents say We loved that it comes with so many accessories that will entertain junior for hours. “I’m a big proponent of sensory play and we don’t do enough of that here in Singapore, possibly because of the lack of space. This table allows us to play with water and sand in the comfort of our HDB flat,” says Audrey Chong, mum to Bianca, 2, and Bradley, 5.
4. Edu Science Planetarium Projector
What Bring the night sky into your bedroom as this gadget projects HD images of planets, the moons, asteroids, space crafts and other celestial bodies on your ceiling and walls. Switch slides to enjoy the rotating star pattern of the northern sky. Powered by batteries, this projector has an electronic timer with an auto-shut-off function.
Parents say This projector offers your munchkins light and visual stimulation. “This is perfect for any child who is interested in the solar system,” says Ewan Mah, a dad of three. “You’ll need to insert the projector slides to change the images of the different planets and turn the dial to focus clearly ― the kids love doing that.” Turn on the function where the projection rotates and be mesmerised as the stars and planets move around you.
5. The Gingerbread Family: A Scratch-and-sniff Book, by Grace Maccarone and Louise Gardner
From Book Depository
What Though not a toy, this interactive book promises to entertain your little bookworm for hours. He’ll love the adorable and colourful illustrations, even as he listens to the story of the Gingerbread Family in rhyming verse. Needless to say, the highlight are the clear stickers that smell like gingerbread, lemon drops, chocolate and peppermint!
Parents say Thick and sturdy, the board book is just the right size for little fingers. Some parents feel that the “smell spots” are rather small and difficult for a young child to find, but we reckon that this actually trains your tot’s fine motor skills in order to locate it.
6. Little Tikes ― Trampoline With Handle Bar
What This junior trampoline, the perfect size for toddlers looking to burn some energy, helps little ones develop their balance and coordination, as well as build up lower body strength. Suitable for indoor use.
Parents say Made of quality plastic and metal, it feels stable, so that you’ll have peace of mind when your mini-dynamo jumps on it. Skittish kids can hang on to the handlebar for stability, while others can also use it to propel themselves higher. This is a great way for junior to work up a sweat indoors, especially when you don’t have a lot of space. Plus, little fingers won’t get pinched as the trampoline uses a spring-less system.
7. Bruin Jumbo Foam Blocks
PRICE $12 to $20
What Colourful foam blocks help train junior’s visual sensory development and hand-eye coordination. This set contains 60 pieces in various shapes and sizes.
Parents say The chunky, textured blocks are easy to grip, and your child will stretch his imagination and creativity figuring out how to fit them together to create cities, vehicles and anything else he wants to. They also teach shapes and colours.
8. Melissa & Doug Band-in-a-Box
From Pupsik Studio
What Comprising a tambourine, cymbals, maracas, a clacker, tone blocks and a triangle, this set of musical instruments is ideal for your mini-maven. Everything fits into a sturdy wooden storage crate.
Parents say The musical tools produce a wide range of sounds and tones ― from bangs and clangs to clicks and clinks. It’s brilliant if you have more than one child as there are more than enough instruments to go around! Most of the instruments are made of smooth quality wood that’s safe for kids.
Main photo: iStock
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