Coming from a pre-school background with knowledge of Montessori teaching means I often have weird and wonderful idea’s of things to do with Dylan. Sensory boxes or “treasure boxes” were one of my favourite things to do with the babies in our room. Now before I go any further I just want to start by saying this post isn’t intended to be the type of “oh look at me doing all this education play with my baby”. In fact this has to be the simplest idea which takes no time at all to put together.
The idea of a sensory box is based on the Montessori way of teaching – that children learn hugely from developing their senses (touch, taste, sound), or in other words they learn from doing rather than be taught. It also stems from the idea that they can learn just as much from every day objects around them without necessarily needing the latest fancy toys. There’s something about everyday object’s that strikes interest in children – let’s be honest, how often have you bought a toy and the child is more interested in the packaging it came in than the toy itself!
A sensory box is essentially just household objects put together for baby to play with. You put it in front of them and let them explore the objects by feeling them, putting them to their mouths, shaking them, etc. In this day and age where children are on tablets and games consoles before they even start school, I think there’s something lovely about letting children sit and play with everyday items on the floor. This can be done at any age, usually from 3/4 months upwards once they are able to grasp things themselves.
I was at a loose end the other day, Dylan was getting bored with his usual rattles, etc and I was stuck for how to keep him occupied. So I went around the house finding items I felt were suitable for his age and put them all in a little IKEA basket in front of him. The items we have in ours at the moment are:
- plastic bowl
- wooden spoon
- plastic spoon
- a teething ring
- an old glasses case
- a roll of sellotape
- a baby hairbrush
- a baby comb
- a soft, padded ring
- an artificial flower
- a wooden cone
- an empty packet of wipes
- a coaster
- a square of fleecy fabric
- a shoulder pad from the car seat
As you can see it’s a wide range of shapes and textures. It took me all of 5 minutes to put together and keeps Dylan occupied for a good twenty minutes each time we take it out. I’ll no doubt do another down the line when he starts to get bored with this one but for now these simple household items are working a treat!
Everything I choose for Dylan’s sensory box are things I feel suitable for him at his age and stage of development. Obviously if you make one for your own child, you have to decide what you are comfortable with them playing with. I supervise Dylan at all times when he is playing with these items.