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Sensory Box Ideas For Preschoolers

Instructor: Abigail Cook
Preschoolers love to play and explore with their hands. Create a fun and engaging activity where students can have a hands-on learning experience by implementing sensory boxes.

Sensory Boxes

Have you ever noticed how little kids love to stick their hands into everything? Children can get so excited playing with play doh, a bin filled with rice, or with soap and water. Getting into things, making messes, and getting their hands dirty are some of the ways kids learn about their environment. Preschool teachers can stimulate and engage their students by creating sensory boxes.

Sensory boxes, or sensory bins, are containers filled with textured materials. They have a filler material, which is what you put in the box to create the sensory experience (such as rice or sand) and often have other materials to manipulate (like plastic figures). Sensory boxes are a fun way for young children to learn and explore. Many preschool teachers like to include sensory boxes into their daily routine to give kids some hands-on learning.

Some of the advantages of using sensory boxes include:

  • They are relatively inexpensive to make.
  • The materials can be switched out and rotated to keep kids interested.
  • They are portable, which makes them easy to access and maintain.
  • They do not require a lot of time to prepare.
  • They are a fun and engaging way for kids to learn and explore.

In the Classroom

Sensory bins can be used in a preschool classroom in a variety of ways. Teachers should consider their students, the classroom layout, and their curriculum as they make decisions about how to utilize sensory boxes. Here are a few ways you might use sensory boxes in your classroom.

  • Create a 'Sensory Station' and let your students explore the sensory boxes during their normal rotations.
  • Give students the option of playing in the sensory boxes during recess or break time.
  • Make sensory boxes a reward when students follow the rules, do something kind, or finish their work.
  • Create a class activity where you spend ten minutes letting your students go from box to box exploring the different sensory activities.

Sensory Box Ideas

Before we explore different sensory boxes, here is a list of filler materials you might use. It is used to fill the box, but is not usually the only thing in there. This list includes filler materials that are interesting and different to touch.

  • Rice
  • Beans
  • Cotton balls
  • Water
  • Sand
  • Dirt
  • Popcorn kernels
  • Dried pasta

Hunting and Sorting

Start with a box filled with a filler material. Then hide objects in the box for students to search for. As you read through these ideas, think about ways you can change things up to ensure your students are practicing specific skills you're teaching. Here are a few ideas.

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