Sensory Material Surprise - Baby Play in a Box

Baby Play is so much fun, when baby first starts playing it becomes apparent just how much they're learning through play. My minds going crazy with play ideas.
This little baby activity introduces  sensory learning by providing textures and different feeling materials that are visually appealing, while cognitively developing a babies understanding of objects and object permanence.

Babies learn through their senses so a great way to introduce a baby to play is through different textured materials. First, gather a bunch of material swatches trying to get different feeling materials, look for different materials, different textures, things that you just want to touch that are visually appealing as well. You can then "hide" them folded or rolled up into a box; I have used an ice-cream container with a hole in the lid and a stocking over it so that Miss Cherub can see through into the hole and stretch it to fit her hands in. You could easily use an empty tissue box.

Once all the materials are in the box leave a little corner poking out so they can see there is something to grab out. With no assistance Miss Cherub pulled the materials out one by one, she looked at them, flapped them around felt them and then tried to put them over her head and rub her cheeks on them, then they got thrown to the side as she put her hand in to see if there was more.

As she continued I put the materials in and out of the box so she could see them go in, or see a small end hanging out. This encouraged her to keep seeking out the materials whether she could see them or not.
Between the ages of 4-8 months babies develop what is known as the secondary circular reactions stage of object permanence; this begins by exploring objects, reaching and grasping objects and understanding that it is a real thing that can be handled, they learn distance and that objects right in front of them can in fact be touched, they learn that the object moves and start to reach for objects that were in a position or can partially be seen, then they learn the permanence of an object (that the object exists inside the box, whether they can see or hear it or not).

A great example of this is the game peek-a-boo and a great way to encourage this skill is activities like this.
I had some cool materials; fluffy pieces, leather, pvc, felt, shiny materials, sequined material, bright stripped materials, a New scourer dish cloth, lace, knitted wool daisies, a clean glass cloth, a small piece of outdoor course carpet, a small square of outdoor fake grass and her ribbon tickle toy.  Use your imagination & go on a texture hunt; If you have an older child get them to seek out funky materials & textures to fit in the container. 

Learning Concepts:
Learning by Touch
Exploring textures
Visual discrimination
Object permanence
Pulling, Pushing, Passing materials
Seeking out hiding materials

Ideas to extend:
Make a DIY Ribbon Tickle toy
Use a really large box with scarfs and other large materials
Tie or stitch materials together so they just keep coming out in one trail
Finish by making them into a texture book to keep

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Happy Adventures 


  1. My babes all loved this simple activity.... ah the good old days when a box and some treasures kept them happy! LOL

  2. That's what I was thinking Kate :) Oh how I adored baby play, so simple but so magical. I miss having a little bubba about the place.

  3. This is a great activity for the littlies. I used to love seeing genuine delight on my baby's faces when they would pull something out of a box. and explore it far more deeply than we would imagine. A lovely post. I loved the pictures of your bub too :)

  4. This makes me wish I was more inventive when my children were babies! Such a lovely activity!

  5. So cute!! I love how babies are so interested in everything.... giving them a special chance to explore is so rewarding.

  6. Wow your little one is growing so quickly! I love that even though they are still little there are great activities like this one. Thanks for this

  7. Love how simple it can be to engage little ones in play and exploration, great ideas

  8. What a joy to see your baby learn, explore and discover through this sensory experience. Elise @ Creative Play Central

  9. Lots of fun fabrics in your stash. I wonder what i can find around the house.

  10. You have such a great collection! Thanks for linking up to Tuesday Tots and sharing this fun post. We've featured it today on Learn with Play at Home :)

  11. thank you for sharing with Project Recycle and Create - This has been featured on my round up thanks again - it looks like great fun!!



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