7 Simple Sensory Box Ideas


September 8, 2014

Mykidstime sensory box ideas

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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.

In addition:

  • 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

Mykidstime sensory box ideas

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:

  • Colours
  • Seasons
  • Holidays
  • Places
  • Animals and Habitats
  • Hobbies and Interests
  • Favourite Characters/Movies/TV Programmes
  • Shapes and Patterns
  • Textures
  • Nature

#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

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.

You May Also Enjoy Winter Bucket List for Toddlers

#2. Easter Sensory Box

Easter sensory box_l

How to make this sensory box idea:

  • Three bags of rice, dyed yellow with a bottle of yellow food colouring
  • Painted bird house
  • Glittered eggs on sticks
  • Chicks
  • Fillable plastic eggs (I filled with different pastas)
  • Silicone flower cupcake cases
  • Textured egg
  • Textured bunny
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Small flower basket featuring ladybirds which Little N loves at the moment
  • Measuring spoons for scooping

How my child played with the box: Little N was attracted to the eggs at first and enjoyed shaking the eggs and listening to the sounds. I had filled them with pasta, chicks, pipe cleaners and rice. She then sat and opened each egg smiling to herself as she successfully discovered what was hidden inside. She would pour the contents into the rice before moving onto the next egg.

She used the measuring spoons really well and together we re-filled the eggs and began to fill up the flower basket with rice. She enjoyed pouring the rice back out and into the box. As the rice pinged off the eggs she got really excited at the noise it made. We played hide and seek with the chicks too which she found funny.

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#3. Farm Sensory Box

Little N is really into her animals at the moment, so I thought she would enjoy playing with her farm in the box.

farm sensory box_l

How to make this sensory box idea:

  • Yellow rice (from the Easter sensory box idea above) or made using 3 bags of rice and one bottle of yellow food colouring.
  • Farm animal set

How my child played with the box: She enjoyed discovering the farm animals and moving them around through the rice. She has a small farm tractor too which she pulled along carrying an animal and the farmer.

#4. Soapy Water Sensory Box

soap water sensory box

How to make this sensory box idea:

  • Put a large bath towel down on floor and fill box with warm, soapy water.
  • Fill with plastic eggs (the same ones used on the Easter sensory box), cups, bowls, and any other plastic utensils
  • When finished with water play, dry all materials used, and put back in box for play next day with/without the water.

How my child played with the box: Little N was amazed at the bubbles. She really loved the indoor water play. She scooped the eggs up with the utensils and dropped them into the coloured bowls. She would then ‘mix’ them all around, saying “mix, mix” as she did so.

The eggs have little holes in the bottom so as they filled with water she watched with amazement as the water streamed out the bottom as we lifted them up into the air. She quickly opened the eggs once the water stopped flowing and would say “all gone, more more”.

You May Also Enjoy 27 Innovative & Fun Water Play Ideas

#5. Utensils Sensory Box

utensils sensory box

To make this sensory box, just add various utensils from the kitchen.

How my child played with the box: I added a couple of extra bits to the box for play today. Kept her busy for ages!

She enjoyed opening the eggs and concentrating to shut them again, some she could do and others she would come and ask for help. She scooped the eggs up, filled up the bowls and mixed them all up.

She left the box to go to pick up her kitty teddy. She sat him up the sofa and I thought that would be the end of the play in the sensory box. No, she was extending her play. She returned to the box and picked up a bowl full of the eggs and went and placed it next to the cat, and pretended to feed kitty, saying “mmmm”.

#6. Cereal Sensory Box

cereal sensory box

This cereal sensory box was one I made for Little N’s birthday. We were having a get-together with close family and friends and I wanted to have a few activities out that would be fun, safe and enjoyable for all children. I had children ranging from nine months to six years old, so there was quite a range in ages and abilities.

Having a sensory box out appealed to me, but I was conscious that this presented hazards for the younger children (meaning their parents would need to watch them like a hawk or that the smaller children would have to miss out). I wanted everyone to be able to join in and have fun together!

How to make this sensory box idea:

  • Fill a brand new sterilized sand and water table with cereal – our table did come with legs, but again this wasn’t accessible to the younger children so I left the legs off and placed it on the floor.
  • Use cereal appropriate to age group (e.g. Rice Krispies)
  • Add sterilised textured bridges and cups to scoop the cereal.

Inclusion for all is very important to me. Its something that I am very passionate and committed to doing – making activities accessible for all no matter their age or ability. All of the children explored this sensory box and it was safe, edible and fun for everyone.

You May Also Enjoy 23 Sensational Sand Play Ideas your Kids will Love

#7. Custard Sensory Box

Little N loves getting messy so I decided to introduce some custard play….be sure to use old clothes as (surprisingly!) custard stains.

Custard sensory box

How my child played with the box: What a play opportunity this was! Little N played with this for almost an hour. She was in her element collecting the custard, mixing, stirring and pouring.

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Mykidstime sensory box ideas

This post is by Amy Louise. Amy worked in childcare and education for several years and enjoyed it. She is now a stay at home Mom to a lovely little girl, and is busy, busy having lots of creative fun daily. She blogs about their adventures, favourite things to do, places they visit, her creative ideas, and to hopefully inspire others to get creative too.
Find Amy on her blog page – www.learningandexploringthroughplay.blogspot.co.uk

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