Our First Sensory Box

I think it was a several months ago when a friend on FB posted a link to a very fun, crafty, tons of stuff to do with your preschooler blog: http://pinkandgreenmama.blogspot.com/. My friend specfically mentioned her “sensory boxes.” I had no idea what a sensory box was, but after seeing all of her different sensory boxes, it look like tons of fun for the kids. I can across her blog again and there have been some recent posts about Sensory boxes, so I went on a mission to make my kids first sensory box – I decided to do a fall theme.

I decided to use the split green peas to start with. I wasn’t sure if Ryan would try to eat them so I wanted to start off with something more than oatmeal, but nothing he would choke on. They also had a great feel to them. I found myself being lulled into space listening to them clinking together as my children played with them. We have a local store called Winco that has a very large selection of bulk items. I was able to get 11 lbs of the peas for about 7.00 dollars. All of rest of the items where purchased from Dollar Tree, so add another 8 bucks to our cost. The bin was given Kaylen from her grandparents, so I get to count that as free. It was pretty good size. It had good depth, but my kids didn’t have to reach down into the bin to play. So let’s say 15 for this sensory box which I will be able to reuse all the items. I thought the pumpkin was overly big for the container, but my kids had a great time playing with the “very big pumpkin.” It kept my son entertained for 50 minute straight. He didn’t think about getting up or doing anything for 50 minutes. My daughter played for about 1 hour straight, but she wanted to get up run around with Ryan. It was totally worth the investment of 15 just for that alone!

Before the fun begins:

It was great learning fun. They just loved running their hands through the peas. They felt very cool on your skin when you buried your whole hand. We hid the squash and pumpkins. I had Kaylen pretend she was baking. We went over colors. We talked about fall and how when fall comes it makes the trees turn pretty colors and the leaves fall off the trees which we acted out with letting the leaves fall over the bucket. My kids just giggled with delight. They were very content just scooping, raking, and letting the peas run through their hands. We then got some of their dinosaurs to join in the sensory box fun and they both really like that.  We buried the dinos and had fun digging them out. It seems like there is just endless possibilities with the sensory box. I think it will be a great winter activity or for my friends would live in hotter climate a fun summer activity. What a great way to develop your child’s imagination. If you are interested in creating your own sensory box, check out http://pinkandgreenmama.blogspot.com/2011/10/sensory-boxes-101-tips-and-inspiration.html

Here are just photos of all of our fun! You should be able to click on any of the picture to bring up the gallery to view larger images.

Ryan’s 1st Day of Sensory Pre-k

Ryan has made huge improvements since his first meeting at early intervention. He still struggles with communicating his every day needs (hungry & thirsty) but he has picked up a ton of words. He has started also making animal noises. He is saying mama more often. He’s pointing at objects and he will bring items of his interest over to us. I couldn’t be happier with his progress and now only wish I would have called Early Intervention sooner. He shocked both Jeff and I last night when we told him it was time to eat and he climb into his chair and pointed at his placemat and said FOOD!

We were happy when we learned Jordan District Early Intervention had a sensory pre-k class. Ryan will be going to this class twice a week. So in total, he has intentional “learning” times 3 times a week now. For one of the session at the pre-k class, a parent must be there. Jeff went with him for his very first class.

They got there a little earlier than expected (like 25 minutes), so Jeff was able to get a few pictures of him playing in the room while they waited for his classmates and teachers.

Open, Shut, Open, Shut

His class is two hours long.

The first agenda item was Arts & Crafts. They got to use paint bottles with sponges on the end and paint dots onto construction paper.

Next, it was playtime. He got to explore the room. He loved the swing (pictured below) and keep getting on and off again. He also played with some fish and trucks. He also brought a couple of books over to Jeff to read.

Then it was “Work” Time – He sat a table with a box of sensory toys which included slinky, koosh ball, windup frong, top, and a bendy straw. He could play with the box for a few minutes and then Jeff’s would pack the toy back up into the box. The objective was to get Ryan to sit quietly for a few seconds before he could get the toys back. The overall objection is for Ryan  to learn to sit still in his chair. After he masters that, then they will move onto working with him to get him to follow specific instructions (like put the cube in the circle) while sitting in a chair. I would love to say that Ryan sit quietly, but most of the time, he just screamed his head off. Jeff tried to wait for a pause in the screaming to give him back the box which quiet him down and then the crying would ensure as soon as the box was taken away.

After Work Time, they got to go play in the motor room. It has a slide, rocking horse, ball house, etc, and a outside play area. He spent a large portion of time time “driving” around in a play fire truck or going down the slide. Towards the end, he was having full in the ball pit.

After all that playing, it was snack time where Ryan got shredded carrots and small crackers. I’ve never even thought of shredded carrots. He has eaten carrots at home, but never shoestring like.

Last was circle time. They sat around in the circle singing some wiggle songs, then used maracas, and finally they had big book with flaps that they were supposed to take turns opening and closing the flaps. Ryan spent most of the time screaming and flopping around because he did not want to stay in the circle and he wanted to do all the flaps himself and did not want to take turns with other children.

Which after all the screaming, by the time of I meet up with Jeff for lunch afterward to get the skinny on his first day was like, Jeff was pretty on edge… which is completely understandable. I would have been too.

That was his first day at his pre-k class. I’m hopeful with this class and us continuing to learn different ways of teaching him that we will continue to see Ryan improve.

Just one last picture of more play time from Ryan…. he stacked the blocks up all by himself. He does have an attachment to his dinosaurs which you can see here he held onto while stacking the blocks.