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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Sensory Boxes

For a while now I have wanted to incorporate sensory boxes into our learning experience. I procrastinated the whole of last year so during the summer I made up my mind that we would have one sensory box per month for this school year.

You may be wondering what a sensory box is and how we use it. Simply, a sensory box is a box filled with different tactile materials for your child to explore. Some schools will have a sensory table but as we don't have room for a sensory table, a box is a good replacement. The one I have presently set up is a clear plastic container with a tight fitting lid. The possibilities of what you can put in the box are endless. They are great for kids who love to use their hands. Playing in them is very engaging and can also be relaxing.

Our first sensory box was built around the ABC theme as that was the theme I used for Eden's first week of Tot school. I filled the box with dry ABC pasta and wagon wheel pasta and then I added letters made of foam, wood and plastic. I also found little objects for each letter of the alphabet and "hid" them in the pasta for the kids to find. The loved rummaging through and finding all of the little items especially since some of them were their toys I had kidnapped with out their knowledge a few weeks ago. It was funny to hear Micaiah say. "I have been looking for that!"

Most of the time the sensory box has been available to them for free play and they know all of the items and the filler (pasta) must remain in the box or the privilege of playing with it will be taken away (I am really not all that interested in cleaning pasta up off the floor every day!!) In addition to the free play, I also photographed some of the items in the box and created a an I spy sheet for them.(An idea I got from my friend MariAnn) They had fun with that.

I had intended for the box to be mainly for Eden and thought Eli might be interested in it as well but it was actually a hit for all 3 kids! It has kept them entertained for hours already and there is no indication that they are tired of it yet.

I now am trying to decide what theme to use for October.
For more sensory box ideas check out MariAnn's wonderful blog Counting Coconuts.

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