DIY Sensory Boxes
Hi everybody! I wanted to chat about sensory play today—specifically about sensory boxes. Do you know what sensory play is? Sensory play is fun that activates our five senses: taste, smell, sight, sound, and touch. A sensory box creates a station where this play is experienced and encouraged. That sounds like fun, right? Of course it is!
Ready to get started making your own? First, think of a theme. Do you want a spooky sensory box for Halloween? What about creating a snowy box for Christmas? Or how about creating a flower theme one for summertime? Once you’ve got your theme picked out, decide on what color of pellets you’ll use—black or white. I’m going to do one for fall, so I think I’ll use the black pellets. You’ll want about 10 pounds of pellets—enough to provide a nice bottom and a little cover for all your discovery items. If you use a bigger tub, you’ll need a little more. You can purchase pellets here.
Now, get a box. It’s really nice to get a big plastic pin that has a lid, that way you can seal it up and make sure all your sensory items stay together. That’s especially good if you have little ones around the house and need to keep your sensory stuff safe! I’d recommend one that has lower sides, rather than a deep one, that way you can play with it while sitting right at the table.
Next let’s think of the things that fill our sensory box. First, let’s encourage touch! You want to include things that feel different from each other. For my autumn-themed box, I’m going to start with small plastic cows and pigs since every fall I get to go to a farm for a Harvest Festival. Then I’m going to put some dried corn on the cob. It’s great to add in because the rough husks, smooth corn kernels, and bumpy texture of the cob are really neat to feel. Then let’s add in some acorns—with and without the top part or the “cup”. Walnuts are bumpy and really fun to feel too, and so is the smooth, glossy buckeye. Of course we also have to add in some small pumpkins!
Next, let’s think about color. Fall is really great because all the rich colors. I love the dark reds, browns, and gold! Dried corn is super because it comes in all different colors. Try using as many different colors as you can in your sensory box!
Now let’s focus on sound! You can include tin cans, spoons, funnels and other things in the box to move your pellets around and make noise!
What about taste and smell? For smell, add in some cinnamon sticks! Cinnamon always reminds me of fall! If you’re doing a winter box, try adding in a pine cone or pepperminty candy canes! For a summer box make your own scent jars! Fill a clean baby food jar with fresh grass clippings, cut flowers, and dried fruit. Next, take a circle of fabric that is about an inch wider than the mouth of the jar and cover the jar’s opening. Then take a rubber band and secure the fabric around the mouth of the jar. You can even cover the rubber band with a little bit of ribbon secured with glue. Now you have some delicious-smelling sensory jars!
You don’t want food in your sensory box—it will make things messy! That’s why for taste sensory play I’ve created a Pinterest board full of ideas!
Once you’ve decided on your sensory box contents, fill the box about half way up with your pellets and hide your items in the pellets. This encourages exploring through the box and discovery!
I hope this gets you excited about creating your very own sensory box. Make sure you share pictures of your creation with me on Facebook, or tell me your favorite sensory play items in the comments below.