Children love to investigate everything around them and they love to explore with their senses. Touching different objects is a method of discovery for children and this helps them to figure out how things work in the world. A Sensory Box is a box with a hole that children can put their hands through to feel for different objects and materials that you have placed in the box. The Sensory Box is a great way to work with toddlers and works great in classrooms and at home.
As well as building vocabulary and encouraging discussion, a Sensory Box provides a great sensory experience for children. It also complements their natural curiosity and develops fine motor skills. Place different materials in there for sensory development and more excitement!
Children love the mystery of not knowing what is inside and you can make it more exciting by starting the activity by discussing what might be in the box. The more anticipation you build, the more fun it will be. Have your child stick their hand in and see if they can recognize an item in the box before they pull it out. Discuss what they have pulled out and what it is used for. Also discuss its physical description like shape, colour, size and what it feels like.
Tip: make your box versatile so you can discuss a range of topics and build vocabulary.
Be creative – decorate your box with paint, colours and stickers to make it appeal to your child. You can even make it in the theme of their favourite characters or games. Make it even more fun by decorating it with your child and don’t be afraid to get messy as that is when children have the most fun.
Variety – add a variety of materials. This will encourage your toddler to think and will introduce them to new textures. Some ideas for materials are sandpaper, rocks, feathers, beads, food, flowers and leaves, cotton wool, a spoon and sponges.
Encourage discussion – ask questions like “what shape is it?Is it rough or smooth?Is it hard or soft?” to build their vocabulary. Ask questions to engage in conversation and introduce your toddler to new words.
Themes: to extend learning of certain topics, you can place themed items in your box. For example, if you have been talking about the beach, you can add some seashells and sand. If you have been talking about shapes, you can add different shapes to the box and discuss them when your child pulls them out.
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