Sensory play: a grandparent's guide [guest blog]
Granny Kay gives us an insight into sensory play with her first grandson; Joey...
When I found out I was going to be a Granny for the first time... Well, to say I was excited was an understatement! I’m so grateful to be able to have my lovely little grandson, Joey, over for sleepovers regularly, and as with all the family, I marvel at his development, the completion of his leaps and other cognitive and physical milestones. Every time he comes to stay, I notice yet another change in him and it's so exciting to watch!
My daughter introduced us all to 'sensory play' immediately after he was born. She's been keen to involve the whole family as a way to encourage great bonds between us and I’ll admit, 'playing' with a newborn hadn’t really crossed my mind... Feed, change, sleep; pretty much until they can crawl right?
‘Play’ is perhaps a slightly misleading term – from newborn onwards it's so important to intentionally provide sensory ‘experiences’ for them. It's how they learn and interpret the world around them. To us it's a deliberate 'lesson' for Joey, but for Joey it's fun, so it's playtime! We see his eye muscles strengthening day to day, we see his awareness of textures increase and his awareness of his own bodily movements. Yet, Joey sees a ribbon ring with bright colours that he wants to touch!
As a new mum myself nearly 30 years ago; I was never aware of 'sensory play' and development in the way that new mums are now. Access to the internet and social media has meant that everyone can find information about encouraging baby development within seconds! Just searching on Pinterest for 'sensory play' brings back thousands of results, all in the palm of your hand. Back in my day, 'play' only really began when babies were crawling!
I remember very fondly that most of the 'experiences' we would provide all those years ago, would usually involve readily-available house hold items, like pots and pans! And parents still use those items and similar today. But having a ready-made kit with a guide to go alongside it would have been incredibly useful for me back then. It would have made me feel way more confident that I was providing my baby with the best start in their development.
As Joey learns something new every time he visits; so do I. I'm re-educating myself each time. I am always keen to follow my daughter and son-in-law's lead when it comes to how they wish to raise Joey; and actively being involved in those decisions and techniques has been amazing.
I've felt real joy and pride every time I've seen him learn a new skill - when he selected his bell rattle from his box during his most recent visit, it was amazing to see that he could reach and pick it out himself, whilst deciding to wave it around and enjoy the noise it made! His eyes would light up and he'd grin and babble at me as if to say, "Look at me Granny! I made all that noise!"
For grandparents looking for either the perfect gift for their grandchild, or for an ideal set of toys for their grandchild when they come visit - look no further than one of these sensory boxes! Not only will your grandchild benefit immensely from the experiences you provide them; but you'll develop an even more special bond and learn something new yourself along the way! Being a grandparent is truly magical, and playing with Joey and his sensory toys has made it even more special when he comes to visit.
Granny Kay x