Wednesday, 20 January 2016

What is this sensory box thing I hear about?

It won't come as a surprise to you to hear that 21 month old boys who can't walk can be extremely frustrated and extremely whingy. It must have been about six months ago that I realised I was going to have to get a bit more creative with some activities for them. Expecting them to wander around and find things to do just wasn't working.

I googled activities and asked around and the term sensory box kept coming up. I tended to skip over it as for some reason just the term makes my eyes roll. Anyway, it's just a box with something in it for children to play with. Ideally something with a different texture that might be a bit interesting. Really not that big a deal. Not sure why I wasn't into it. I've embraced it now and and tried quite a few different things.

This is flour. Fun to put cars in because you can see the tracks they make. I've just saved it in a plastic bag labelled 'play flour' so we can use it over and over again.

These are oats. That is a three year old. The boys did have a bit of a go but the reality is that the three year old has a much greater attention span and lasts longer with pretty much any activity. Again, I've saved the 'play oats' and used them multiple times.

These are used coffee grounds. This was a bit more difficult to organise but between some friends and us it didn't take too long to gather enough coffee. The trick is that you really need to let it dry out for quite a while to make sure it doesn't go mouldy. 

With this one, the boys do actually touch the coffee and seem to enjoy squashing the little boulders. I think this is the 'sensory' idea... to actually feel the texture. 

This is water. Plain old water and of all the 'boxes' we've done, this has by far been the most popular. By the most popular, I mean kept people happy for the longest.

When they start to lose interest in plain old water, you can add bubbles and that keeps things going for a bit longer too.

Of course you can combine any of these things together as long as you're ok with mess. The coffee in water mix was particularly messy but also popular.

All in all I would say the sensory boxes have been successful but I don't think anything actually beats the sandpit in terms of time spent keeping them happy. This probably isn't because of the actual sand. I expect if we had a flour or oats or coffee pit it would be the same. I just think the sandpit is the best because it's big and they can really immerse themselves in it.

Possibly the only thing that makes the sand better is when we mix it with water. Again, it's more mess but you just have to be ok with that.

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