Sometimes you just don’t have enough space, time, or money to invest in a large Sensory Play Area. Or maybe you already have a sensory play area and are looking for more fun ways to entertain and stimulate your blind baby. We’ve got the solution for you! A mini play area follows the same basic concepts of the large play area, but on a much smaller and more manageable scale. Here’s how to make your own mini play area…
What You’ll Need:
A large laundry basket
A towel bar
A towel ring or other interesting household objects
Making Your Mini Play Area
Begin by choosing fun toys and interesting objects to attach to your mini play area. Try to be creative in your selections. We walked through our local hardware store and found lots of cool ideas: A small towel bar is a great way to attach rings and baby keys to the side of the basket so your baby can spin them and play with them (see photo to the right); Ivan’s favorite toy in his mini play area is a towel ring that he can grab and move up and down (see photo below); Our occupational therapist suggested adding a door knob so Ivan can practice wrist rotation. You’re really only limited by your imagination!
Using cable ties, secure your toys and items to the inside of your basket. be sure to trim the long ends off the cable ties.
You’re done! Now, just as with a large play area, your baby has a small, well-defined space to play in. The toys in the mini play area will always be located in the same places, so your baby will be comfortable and learn about object permanence. Plus, the mini play area is a great way for your baby to entertain himself while you make dinner or do the dishes!
Playing with Your Mini Play Area
Simply placing your baby in the basket and encouraging him to touch the toys is the easiest way to begin playing with the mini play area. Ivan loves the fact that he can touch all sides of the basket while sitting in one spot. Encourage your baby to explore the edges and map out the mini play area in their mind.
Babies love to throw things and they love the way objects sound when they hit the ground. Give your baby some blocks or other small toys and ask them to throw them out of the basket. Play this game on carpet, hard wood floors, or tile so your baby can hear the different sounds.
One of our favorite games to play in the mini play area is driving around the house. Ivan sits in his basket while we push him around the house making car sounds. We stop along the way to feel things like walls, doors, the couch, or the dish washer. Ivan enjoys the ride plus he learns where objects are located around the house.
A Mini Play Area for Younger Babies…
If your baby is too young to sit up on his own, you can still make a fun mini play area for him. Lay a blanket on the bottom of the laundry basket and attach toys to the side. You can also string toys from PVC pipe then lay the pipe across the top of the basket after you’ve placed the baby inside. Now they can feel the toys suspended above them!