Fall Sensory Fun!
Updated: Jul 22
Sensory boxes are a great way to engage little minds, with lots of opportunity for language modeling as they engage in self-direct, exploratory play. I like to let my three year old join in on the preparations as much as her attention span will allow!
The basic recipe involves some kind of base (dry pasta, rice...), scattered with different sized objects, a few small containers (think mini tupperware) and large utensils (spatula. measuring cups) - that's it! I like to make mine thematic, to add an extra element of learning possibilities, and some color for fun, but you'd be amazed how long some dry macaroni, pompoms and a funnel can entertain a 3 year old.
For this one I decided to start with some corn and add some fall hues - shades of red, orange, yellow, brown and green. I used food coloring for a more subdued, natural color - look at how gorgeous they came out!
We mixed the corn by shaking it around in a small storage container (model open, close and shake!) and went from light to dark (yellow - red corn - I see green corn!), to minimize the need to clean between colors. Then we left it dry on a baking sheet while we gathered the other materials.
You want a bin that is large enough to keep the contents in when playing, but small enough that little arms aren't straining to reach. We had to dig through my re-purposed hand-me-down containers (too big, too small!) to find the right size, a 16QT rectangular box, roughly 16"11"x7".
When the corn was ready, we mussed up the beautiful rainbow arrangement (ready, set, GO!) and poured it into the container. We added some assorted buttons, wooden scoops and containers, and a handful of dollar store mini pumpkins and leaves. I topped it all off with a pipe-cleaner tree, with bare branches for handing the button "leaves". Voilà, fall in a box!
There are so many fun ways to target language with this box! Before you start, you can work on requesting open/close for the lid. You add leaves to your tree and let them fall, you can scoop up corn and pour it back out, you can talk about the fall colors and make connections to the trees outside you own house. But don't let the language modeling get in the way of connection and play!
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