DIY [Mystery] Sensory Box

Monday, April 20, 2015

The possibilities are pretty endless with a game like this. Years ago when I was an intern in a Kindergarten classroom I created a sensory box. I had honestly totally forgotten about it until I saw a similar DIY on YouTube for a toddler. I'll make the DIY part of this quick because it is seriously SO simple, and focus more on how you can use this box even with a toddler that doesn't have a large vocabulary yet. Introducing and modeling vocabulary is HUGE and it is how I plan to use this box until Anna has grown a bit more developmentally. The great thing about this game is you can keep it simple for a little one, or more advanced for an older child. It's all what you make of it!

I literally gathered random objects from around our apartment and made sure they fit into a tissue box. And then of course I made the box a little bit cuter than it was before just by using some craft paper and hot glue! I kept a few things in mind when choosing these objects. I wanted to make sure they varied in: color, shape, size, weight, and texture. That way, it would allow me to model tons of vocabulary for Anna.

Anna is still pretty young, so I plan to keep it simple for now. When one of us reaches in to grab an object, I can simple model two things about that object. For the sponge I could say: sponge, soft. If I wanted to, I could simply fill the box with different colored blocks and have Anna reach in and I can model what color she has chosen and when she's able to, she can tell me what color she has chosen.

When we are ready to get a little more advanced, for example, to explain something as simple as sock I could say: white, soft, light [in weight], and small [comparing objects to the box].

I can also compare objects to one another, like the sock is soft and the lock is hard. The sock is bigger than the lock. Once Anna is older and understands more, she can take over the box and I can tell her to reach in [without looking of course] and pull out something that is soft, rough, smooth, or hard. For now, when she pulls something out, it is my job to model the properties of that object for her, so she can do so herself someday!

You can even use a shoebox for this and load it up with more objects. You can also use object pairs and have your child try to find two objects that are the same simply by using their sense of touch. You can constantly switch out what you keep in your box and the number of objects as well. If your child is older, you can label sections on a sheet of paper and have them place the objects in the correct category [soft, hard, rough, smooth, etc] or they can record the properties of the objects on a sheet of paper. Any objects that I don't want in the box right now, I can just store in a Ziploc bag until I am ready to use them. Be sure not to choose anything too small that your child can choke on, and store your box somewhere where little hands can't wreck it when it isn't being played with. ;]

Anna had lots of fun waking up from her nap to a find new game! She loved exploring with the different objects in the box. Hope this simple DIY is a game that you and your child can really enjoy and learn a lot from!

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