Our sensory box is one of five activity stations in our “blue room”, a bright and spacious studio where we hold classes for 18 month – 5 year olds. Each week, the children are introduced to a new sensory experience in the box, as we rotate through our selection of carefully tested materials.
Originally our sensory box was a simple children’s plastic pool, turtle shaped and with a lid to close off when needed – very helpful in “closing” the station when it is time for the students to transition to a new project or the end of class.
With our move to a bigger and custom designed space in 2013, we had the new sensory box hand-made for us. Not only is it larger, it has a nice wide edge for children to sit on as they play. When there are a large number of children playing in the sensory box, we can move them all to sit on the edge, allowing more room for children to play than if they were all sitting inside it.
The sensory items we swap in the box are:
Squishy balls. The animal shapes get kids imaginations fired up, and the springy texture is often novel for the students. Sometimes we introduce tongs and buckets for a unique challenge.
Shredded paper. Earth friendly and fun, this inspires active play. We incorporate different colors every time we use it.
Rice. We have lots of tools to introduce throughout the session to use with the colorful rice: plastic eggs, funnels made from gallon containers, shovels and buckets, small cups, plastic animals. These can all also be used with beans.
Beans. We use many types of beans, so there are many different shapes, sizes and colors of beans in the box. With shovels and buckets, the students fill and empty the containers.
What are your favorite materials to use for sensory play?