Have you heard of sensory boxes? Have you ever used them with your kids? Creative blogger Amy Louise shows us 7 simple sensory box ideas to get you started – the kids will love them!
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What is a Sensory Box?
I think sensory boxes are absolutely fantastic! They provide hands-on learning that is both visually and texturally attractive to kids.
They are also a great starting point if you have never tried sensory-rich opportunities before, and are particularly beneficial for children with special needs.
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What are the Benefits of Sensory Boxes?
Exploring sensory boxes allows children and adults to not only receive sensory stimulation, but they are learning about cause and effect, developing their fine motor skills, engaging their imagination, and being creative.
There are opportunities for problem solving and decision making, and they can boost confidence and self-esteem along with many other skills.
- They don’t take too much preparation.
- They don’t cost much to make.
- They don’t take up much room.
- The materials are mainly contained, so ‘mess’ is minimal.
- They provide many learning opportunities that keep children and adults entertained and interested for longer than five minutes.
- They are a fantastic addition to topic work and can be easily tailored to suit the interests and age stages of your children.
What Do You Need to Make a Sensory Box?
#1. Choose a Theme
To begin with, you need to decide on a theme so you can select and decide on your sensory box objects.
Your sensory box can be themed to anything at all. Examples include:
- Animals and Habitats
- Hobbies and Interests
- Favourite Characters/Movies/TV Programmes
- Shapes and Patterns
#2. Choose a Container
I use underbed storage boxes for mine which are very handy! They are a good size, easy to access, easy to clean, and transparent. They come with a lid too, which helps to keep the contents in the box and organised.
#3. Select a Variety of Sensory Items
Examples include rice, pasta, beads, buttons, scented items, glitter, feathers, and textured objects linked to your theme (e.g. tinsel, shells, etc).
Important Tip: It is paramount that you consider the age and stage of your children, and the suitability of the items you include in your boxes. Make sure that all items are suitable to reduce risks, and remember to always take into account any allergies your children may have.
Sensory Box Ideas To Get You Started
#1. Christmas Sensory Box
How to make this sensory box idea:
- You will need 3 bags of supermarket rice, and one bottle of green food colouring.
- Pour the rice into a large mixing bowl, one bag at a time, and add a small amount of colouring into the bowl. Stir together, working the colouring through the rice and adding more as required. Older children will enjoy helping with this part!
- Leave the rice to dry completely on trays, stirring the rice at 30-60min intervals to ensure all rice drys completely.
- Once dry, pour it into the boxes to make the base of your sensory box.
- Add various interesting materials – I used candy cane sticks (which smelt divine!); a small red, sparkling Christmas tree; glittered white snowflakes; shiny baubles; prickly tinsel; noisy beads; metallic wrapping bows; coloured stacking cups at the sides of the box to allow the user to collect the objects, scoop the base and pour.
How my child played with the box: Little N was very interested in the Christmas tree once we put it up in our living room. This sensory box came in so handy, as every time she went to pull anything off the tree I was able to get the sensory box out and she was free to explore.
She turned the Christmas tree upside down in the box and used the stacking cups to fill the tree up. She enjoyed smelling the candy canes and putting the baubles into containers. I offered a range of containers to the side of the box which she happily selected independently and transferred and transported here, there and everywhere.
She also liked the sounds the beads made as they clanged against the sides of the box as she attempted to pull them out. She held the glittery snowflakes in her hands and paused taking in how they looked and felt.
Once Christmas is over, throw the rice away and store all the other bits for next year.
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