I used to love sensory boxes. I’d make them up for Squeak while Quibble was at school and she would happily play with them alone and then share them with Quibble when he came home. I bought cheap shaving foam, small animal figures and all sorts of pulses, I dyed rice and collected little pots or any other junk that could be useful in exploring the different textures and I was generally very enthusiastic about the whole thing.
And then, I stopped.
I don’t remember when, or why. We just didn’t do them for a while and in that time Squeak grew up. Now she’s three (and loves to remind me she will be four on her next birthday), she seems too old to be interested in a toddler activity. And if she isn’t interested, then Squeak (with his constant requests for Pokemon cards or iPad games) certainly isn’t. And now I am left with all the stuff taking up space in our not-big-enough utility cupboard.
A few days ago I came across this idea from Picklebums, and I suddenly realised that I could use all the same things, presented as an Invitation To Play, which would make it TOTALLY different for them. Of course, I only have two ice cream tubs, but I managed to come up with this Halloween play:
I didn’t manage to take a ‘before’ photo, but I snapped these just as they started playing. Each tray has been covered with foil and has on it an ice cream tub with some shaving foam in, pom poms, lolly sticks, popcorn kernels, loom bands, pipe cleaners, paintbrush, plastic spoon, chopstick and a sheet of black paper. (Honestly, this was more than they needed.) It was loosely Halloween themed with the colours I chose – red, black, orange and green – but neither child seemed to do Halloween themed play, so perhaps this was more for my benefit than theirs! They used the shaving foam as glue, paint and ice cream. They made things and decorated things and wrote things on the silver foil.
It kept them entertained for nearly an hour and I can see that the same simple set up (tray, tub with a sensory base and some bits) will work again and again. I’m thinking of using ice and glitter as a ‘Frozen’ theme, lentils and animal figures for a ‘farm’ theme, play dough and cupcake cases for a ‘baking’ theme. In fact, just unrelated stuff put together because Quibble and Squeak will find a way to put them together. These are definitely the new sensory box!