lets talk about sensory play... I didn't know much about it (or really anything about it) before having kids. in fact, even after 4 kids, I'm still learning the importance and effect of stimulating sensory for children. basically sensory play is things or activities that stimulate your childs senses. it can be something that gets all the senses working or just one - like touch and feel or smell or even taste! remember back when your child was a baby and would mouth everything they could reach?... that's because from day one of birth, children are wired to learn the world through their senses. sensory play encourages neural pathways and helps grow those systems so essentially, in my words - so very unscientifically stated, it helps the brain develop and assists with continued and future learning for those later years. pretty neat stuff right?
I think it's safe to say every kid loves bath time and bath time is the perfect time to include sensory items. they've already got water for the touch and possibly the water running (and splashes) for the hearing and I like to include non toxic items that aren't plastic and flashy. yes there's some great bath toys out there but the chemicals they put in most those items make it really unsafe for our children. so.... bring forth things like organic (or local farm - pesticide free) flowers, organic (again raised without pesticides!) pumpkins (perfect for those fall months) and even things in nature like leaves and sticks. we've lived on our land for a few years and do not use any chemicals or pesticides so I feel comfortable bringing this nature into our home and bath. please make sure its safe whatever it is you decided to use and do use your imagination. as long as its safe (and you're there watching it all) then you'll know if its something good.
our big things since my daughter has been born has been the flower baths. of course it makes for some super pretty photos which is a huge bonus for me but also the flowers are great for her to play with and use those senses. she doesn't get bored with them either! I have to be the one to beg her to get out as she'd stay in there until she was a wrinkly raisin if if was up to her, true story.
lastly, we add milk sometimes to the bath. milk is a really great moisturizer for your skin and provides all kinds of great benefits including that it exfoliates, cleans, softens, and hydrates! we use raw goat milk as we raise our own goats and have that available. if you must use store milk, organic and preferably not ultra pasteurized (that way you get all the full benefits). (I've updated with some milk / water ratios HERE). we've never had a problem with milk baths (and do them pretty often actually) but ease into trying it as I imagine some people could have reactions possibly as with anything in life, you just don't know.
so here's how we do it.. we use the sink, or the basin like this, or the big bath. kinda depends on the day but I love the basin lately because she can be in the kitchen with me while I'm cooking and I don't have to worry about her climbing out of the sink. I put in the water and milk (if using milk) into the bath. then cut the stems off the flowers (that way the flowers sit up better in the bath plus she's then not trying to poke her eye out with the stems! then enjoy =). I take it one step further in reusing and dump the milk for our farm animals or the garden or the compost. if we used nature items, they usually go out to the compost or sometimes they're reusable (like the pumpkins, we just dry off and put back on table).
let me know if you give it a try! excite those senses =)