Candace has a broad range of interests that keep her head filled with strange facts, such as experimental cooking, games, and mad science.
Do You Dare Put Your Hand Inside?
Sensory boxes are simple and inexpensive to make. Not only that, but they are also very entertaining for children! Kids love to explore the world with their senses. They love to feel objects and interesting textures. Touching different objects is a method of discovery for children, so using sensory feely boxes is a great way to help kids develop their senses and understand the world.
Any box will work as a sensory box, but shoe boxes are best because of their size and removable lid. This helps sensory items be easily placed. Kleenex boxes will also work. Try not to select boxes that are very big or very small. It will be hard to find the object to feel in a box that is too large. Small boxes don’t leave much room for hands.
Sensory boxes are like a guessing game that your children will play for hours. They love the mystery of not knowing what is inside. Let's put one together!
What You'll Need
- Box (shoe box, Kleenex, etc)
- Tissue paper or felt
- Objects to put inside the box
- Cut a hole big enough for a hand inside the top or side of the box. Don’t make the hole too big or else the item inside will be visible.
- You can paint the box or decorate it to match the theme. For instance, if you are doing a Halloween sensory box, you can paint it black and draw spiderwebs on the top. For Christmas, you can draw pine trees on the outside. Colorful, interesting boxes increase their appeal.
- You can attach something around the hole for the hand so that the inside of the box is not visible. Tissue paper can be glued around it, or you could also use a piece of material or felt as well. Make sure the hands can still fit into the hole.
- You can also use a blindfold instead of making an actual sensory box. Put the blindfold over the child’s eyes and place an object to feel in front of them.
Sensory Box Ideas
How to Fill the Box
1. Choose Something Intriguing. Anything with an interesting texture can be placed inside the box. Make sure the objects you put inside are safe for kids to touch. Do not put anything sharp inside.
- If you are talking about the beach with your kids, you can fill the box with sand and seashells.
- If you are discussing shapes, you can put an object inside and have the kids tell you what shape it is.
- To learn about opposites, you can use hot and cold objects like ice packs, warming pads, or hand warmers.
- For winter, you can put instant snow in a box. You could also use an ice cube or even real snow! Make sure to use a plastic container or a box lined with plastic or something that will protect the box from moisture. Pinecones, bird seed, and pine needles are other good sensory items for winter.
2. Ask Good Questions. Have the kids describe the object. Get the kids thinking about what their senses are telling them. Let them guess what is inside. Ask questions like the following:
- What shape is it?
- Is it smooth or rough?
- Is it hard or soft?
Note: For younger kids, you can put the items in clear containers. Kids love to feel uncooked rice, beans, and corn. Something as simple as a container filled with uncooked rice and a few plastic animals will keep preschool-aged kids entertained for hours. Playing with sensory materials can also be soothing to young children.
Halloween Feely Boxes
If you want to make a Halloween-themed box, here are ways you can make "body parts" to put inside. Older preschool children and elementary-aged kids really love these. Black boxes work the best. You can even make labels to stick on the outside that say something corny like “Clipped Fingernails: Finger not included” or “100% Snot: Low Grade.” You can even decorate the box to match the contents. For example, use Band-Aids for scabs and tissues for snot.
For the items inside the box, the key is finding food or other things that feel like certain body parts. Here are some ideas:
- Peeled grapes for eyeballs
- Wet sponge for brains
- Carrot sticks for fingers
- Flour tortilla for skin
- Crumbled potato chips for scabs
- Peeled tomato for heart
- Pumpkin seeds for fingernails
- Noodles for guts
- Silly putty or slime for snot
- Five Senses Activities
These activities will help kids understand what each of their senses does for them and how we use the senses in everyday life. They will have fun guessing the smell, matching sounds, crawling through textures, mixing colors, and eating in the dark.
Simple Sensory Box Activity
blessedmomto7 on October 06, 2014:
My kids love sensory bins.
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on November 01, 2011:
TToombs08 - Sensory activities are enriching and calming for kids with autism. Hope the ideas work well for you. Thank you!
Terrye Toombs from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map. on October 31, 2011:
Fantastic hub! My son's (he's autistic) PT has suggested sensory boxes and you gave me a lot of great ideas. Voting UP! and across the board. :0)
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on August 27, 2011:
saif113sb - Thanks for reading the hub and commenting.
saif113sb on August 27, 2011:
Very interesting and informative hub. Thanks to you.
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on August 16, 2011:
Thank you! Sensory boxes are great for exploring different seasons.
thebookmom from Nebraska on August 16, 2011:
Love the specific seasonal/theme ideas!