A sensory box can be a very helpful resource for a child who has sensory processing disorder.
Basically, a sensory box contains objects that could help your child manage his/her sensory processing issues.
For your convenience, I have linked to products on Amazon (marked #Ad) that are similar to the ones I use myself - I may receive a small commission if you purchase something through these links, which helps support this site. However, you are under no obligation to purchase anything!
There is no standard recipe or instructions for putting together a sensory box - you will need to discover what your child responds well to by observing your child, talking with your child, and getting feedback from therapists and teachers who are involved with your child.
You can make your sensory box fit your budget, and make use of the resources you already have on hand at home.
Many sensory boxes on the market contain mostly plastic items, which is why I feel that a DIY box with a variety of household objects can be more helpful.
- always consider the age of your child and their developmental stage -
avoid objects that could be a choking hazard for your child. Also avoid objects that break easily or have sharp edges.
Where to use it: You can keep the sensory box in a quiet corner of your house (a sensory corner), where your child can go to "unwind" , calm down or get focused. You can also keep one or two items on hand in your reading corner, where you child can use the item to stay focused while listening to you read aloud.
Look for items that have various textures. Some children find it soothing to hold or play with something soft and fluffy, while others find rougher textures more pleasing.
Rougher textures can also provide great tactile input for sensory seeking kids.
You may find that your child enjoys stroking an item, or rubbing it on the hands, arms and face.
Here are some tactile objects that I find helpful (as shown in the photo):
These items are helpful in that they can provide some proprioceptive input to help calm an over stimulated child, or they can provide the necessary stimulation needed to help a sensory seeking child to focus during a listening activity.
Here are some fiddly objects that I find helpful (as shown in the photo):
Tom's Flippy Fidget Chains (#Ad) are my family's own choice of fidget toys - this brand is the best quality, and are a great, small toy to keep in your handbag or in your pocket to haul out when your child needs something to fiddle with. These are definitely the quietest fidgets, and very effective!
Wooden Busy Boards#Ad, or Wooden Busy Cubes#Ad, are great additions to any sensory box or sensory corner. Just be sure to choose wisely - some have rather noisy attachments, so be sure to choose one that does not make a noise which drives you crazy... ask me how I know!
These fidget puzzle balls (#Ad) are also great to put into the sensory box. The clicking noise as the pieces pop into place may be a bit annoying for some parents, but most kids I know have really enjoyed this.
Once you find out which items work best for your child, consider
putting one in your handbag and in his/her pocket, so that you always
have something at hand to help modulate any sensory issues.
Read my page on sensory processing disorder for more information about this disorder.
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