A few weeks ago, during yet another rainy day, I decided to turn a box that had just been dropped off at my door (full of fun clearance finds from Target.com!) into a Sensory Box. It is so simple and easy to do–just a little tape here and there–and Maddy, Owen, and Cora have been playing with it on and off for days.
- Sensory Box: (fyi: Since this picture was taken, some markers, crayons, and–our favorite–Foamies have found their way to the box, so it looks much more beautiful now than in the picture. I’m just too tired to take another one.)
All I did was cut a flap on one side and a small hole on the other. I taped the top shut and then taped around the smaller hole (so little arms wouldn’t be cut or scraped). And then we got our senses going!
I started by collecting some small objects (like the ones used in ‘one of these things‘) from around the house: a Clementine, a marshmallow, Matchbox car, doll, doll shoe, small snake, etc. Then I secretly put one in through the flap on my side. Since it was Maddy’s day, she started. She put her arm in the hole and told us what she felt.
**Retrieving adequate adjectives is difficult for younger children, so for Owen and Cora, I asked questions when they got stuck: Is it small or large? Does it feel rough or smooth? Is it squishy or hard? It’s a great opportunity to expand vocabulary and use some really strong words (slithery, freezing, slimy, leathery, etc.) or similes to express ideas (feels like a . . . ).
Even if someone thought they knew what the object was, the “rule” was that they had so say three things about it before taking a guess. That way, they were practicing using their sense of touch, then choosing a word to describe it (adjectives), and finally using that information to take a logical guess.
Of course, it got silly after a while after Maddy and Owen got to their third or fourth turn and started picking crazy objects (like a dirty sock or wet tissue–yuck!), but it was fun and new for them. And it does count as learning even if it was a last-minute decision and did involve a semi-dirty box. . .