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Baby’s First Introduction To Doll Play

The world is an exciting place, especially for a baby – where everything is new and waiting to be discovered. From vibrant colours and cosy textures to delicious tastes and comforting smells, sensory input is the very first way in which babies interact with the world.


Here, we explore the benefits of sensory play in the first year of life and beyond, inspiring tactile ways to incorporate doll play and introduce your little one to engaging sensory experiences.  


What is sensory play?

As the name might suggest, sensory play refers to any activity that stimulates a young child’s senses of touch, smell, taste, sight and hearing, as well as anything which engages movement and balance. While sensory play is often associated with messy play activities and items such as texture boards, it can be as simple as looking at a hanging mobile for visual stimulation.


Benefits of sensory play

Straight after birth, sensory stimulation plays an important role in your baby’s development. One of the top benefits of sensory play includes building nerve connections in the brain’s pathways, helping your little one complete complex tasks as they grow. When your child engages in sensory play, they’re helping their brain develop and learn from certain aspects of their environment.


Not only does sensory play help little ones develop their fine motor, gross motor, language skills and more, it also fosters social interaction and communication abilities. Psychological benefits of sensory play can include having either a stimulating or calming effect on a child, depending on the type of play and individual personality of your little one. In this way, sensory play can help children learn about themselves and hone their sense of identity.

Sensory play ideas for babies


Babies are ready for sensory play from the moment they’re born. After all, even in the womb they’ve started to make sense of the world via their developing senses – recognising familiar voices or kicking in response to a hand laid on their mother’s tummy. Chances are, you’ve probably been engaging in sensory play with your baby without even realising it, whether that’s by playing ‘peek-a-boo’, blowing raspberries on their tummy, or simply chatting to them about the world around them. 


As your child grows and develops, sensory play will adapt as they explore new concepts and feelings. For squishy, cuddly handfeels, Baby Annabell Sweetie for babies is perfect to explore new textures with. Guide your little one’s teeny hands over Sweetie’s super-soft romper and silky-smooth face for a tactile sensory experience that conjures feelings of comfort. The little ears on her hat are great for babies to test out their grab reflex, and there’s no need to worry about dribbles as Sweetie is handwashable! 


Touch isn’t the only sense stimulated by Sweetie – she also has an integrated rattle for auditory exploration! Listen as your little one shakes her and delights in discovering the gentle jangly noise. For more auditory sensory play ideas, Baby Annabell Sleep Well for babies comes with an integrated sound module. Caregivers can record up to five minutes of soothing or stimulating sounds – from bedtime stories to enchanting lullabies. This sweet recording then plays for 30 minutes to calm your little one into the land of nod with a well-recognised voice, helping to foster feelings of connection while cuddling the super soft doll and engaging their auditory sense.

Sensory play for toddlers


As your child moves into toddlerhood (ages one to three), their level of engagement with the world around them will increase. Toys which facilitate that engagement and provide deeper levels of interaction via sensory experiences can help increase your little one’s attention span. When a child is hands-on with an experience, they’ll stay engaged with it for longer. Baby Annabell My First Annabell is designed with these tactile benefits in mind, making her the perfect gift for that super-special first birthday. The teeniest of tots will adore cuddling and nurturing this interactive doll, immersing their own doll baby in all aspects of their world. 


Getting a doll ready for the day makes for another great venture into the world of sensory play. With silky locks of tumbling hair, Baby Annabell Little Sophia offers a wonderfully tactile experience for mini hands, while your little ones’ eyes will be filled with wonder at the mesmerising glittering tiara and sparkling shoes of Baby Annabell Little Sweet Princess. And where would a princess be without her noble steed? The Baby Annabell Little Sweet Pony is a treat for the ears, making lots of sounds sure to stimulate that developing auditory sense! If you press the right ear, the pony starts neighing or snorting and if you press the left ear, you can hear the clatter of hooves. Little Annabell is completely in love with her animal companion and often kisses the pony on its nose. It answers her by making kissing noises back – how cute!


The benefits of sensory play are truly endless, especially when combined with the benefits of doll play. Don’t forget to share your snaps of your little one enjoying our sensory play ideas with us on Facebook and Instagram – and have fun creating lots of touchy-feely memories!