Babies discover the world around them through their senses. Let’s admit it: no matter how high your baby’s IQ, they are not capable of thinking things through. But they are able to lick, chew, observe, smell, taste, touch, squeeze, bite, pinch, throw, push and pull. That’s why they get excited with soft toys that they can manipulate with their tiny hands and mouth.
You can find (highly overpriced) sensory pouches online or in hippy dippy toy stores, but it is much more fun to make your own. Here is what you will need:
- Fabric scraps
- Herbs and spices
- Rice, lentils, beans and/or wooden beads as fillers
- Needle and thread
This is a great project even if you have no clue about sewing. It doesn’t have to look pretty. The only requirement for your pouch to be considered successful is that it is tightly sewn, so that the filling can not escape. If you want it to look neat, you can sew it inside out and just leave a small whole, so that you can get the stuffing in. The pouches in the picture took me about 20 minutes each and I am a very slow sewer. It was really fun to put them together and try to figure out different textures, smells and shapes. Here is what I put in my pouches:
- Brown egg/Ugly insect: It’s made out of felt and filled with wooden beads.
- Triangle: Filled with rice and tiny rose buds (the kind that you use to make tea)
- Yellow Shrimp: Rice and lemon rind
- Rectangle: Rice and apple-cinnamon-rooibos tea
It is really interesting how babies will show preference to some pouches and ignore others. Loulou got obsessed with the triangle and the rectangle and ignored the Ugly Bug yesterday, but plays with it today. She doesn’t chew it though, just tugs on it and squeezes it. I wonder if it’s the felt texture. She is not fond of the Lemon Shrimp and I think it’s because of either the texture or the sour lemon smell. Today that it smells a bit less, she plays with it, but the herbal ones are her favorite.
Note that if you put herbs in your pouches, when your baby chews on them the fabric will be stained by the herb/tea. I personally don’t mind that. After all, they are for her to have fun with 🙂
Do spend some time to sew pieces of ribbon on, as babies exercise their pinch grip, while trying to grab the ribbons.
I think that because of the rice inside, they also help with teething, but I don’t know if they are just interesting or they actually offer relief.
You could even make some pouches for yourself and use essential oils to help you get rid of headaches, sleep easier and calm down. You can keep them in your pocket or under your pillow or even use them in your drawers. DO NOT use essential oils in your baby pouches as they can be dangerous if your baby ingests them.
Make your own sensory pouches and watch as your baby abandons all the plastic c*ap, to play and explore with their handmade toys. And if you do make some, post the pictures on our facebook page, so we can get inspired!