Friday, September 3, 2010

Emma's Sensory Boxes

My sensory boxes are finally taking shape. I have decided to make my boxes with single color themes and a few season/holiday boxes as well.

I started the boxes by selecting a base product and color for each box. Pasta, rice, split peas and beans are a few awesome base products. The nice thing about using pasta and rice is that you can dye it any color. I used cous cous for the brown and it took the dye perfectly and ended up as our favorite base because it feels like sand or dirt and looks great in the box.

For my pink box I used a mix of white and brown rice because I thought the two varieties would pick up the dye differently and and visual interest.

I started by mixing food coloring to rubbing alcohol. I tried using vinegar, but it made the pasta sticky.

The process was to add the base product to a gallon ziplock then pour the food coloring and rubbing alcohol mixture and shake. I let it all sit in the baggie for about 30 minutes flipping it over every 10 minutes or so to make sure the pasta got an even coat.

Then you pour it out onto a cookie sheet to dry like you see with the orange pasta below. While the pasta is on the cookie sheet you can add essential oils or candle scent to make your base product smell good too!

I used Orange essential oil for the orange pasta, mint for the green split peas, pumpkin pie spice for the brown, Grape for the purple, lemon for the yellow, and apple spice for the red.

The next stage was the hardest! Finding interesting trinkets that encourage the use of all of your child's senses can be trying! I added a lot of textures by adding pom pom's, curled ribbon, buttons, a bowl and some type of scoop, painted letters and shapes, toys and trinkets to each box. As we go through them I will add something that Emma can taste to each box.

I prepped our fall box to go the extra mile by finding some apples, Thanksgiving and Halloween trinkets to add and remove as the holidays come and go. One of the activities will be to identify the new items and the missing items!

I am putting the finishing touches on the boxes and then they will go into the storage closet and come out one at a time. Emma, Ava and Owen got a hold of the "pink" box tonight as I was working on assembling all the boxes. They immediately instigated a 2 hour exploring session and a lot of begging for school to have a Sunday school day added to our week!


Juliana said...

Just curious, how many boxes are you making and what are their themes? I just discovered these sensory boxes through your site (thank you so much!) and the counting coconuts link you provided. I wish I'd known about them back when my kids with autism were lots younger. I now have a 3 year old with many issues and I think she'd really be blessed by these, but I'm wondering what themes to choose. It seems that some of you make them for the seasons (4) and basic colors (5-7). Is that what you are doing? How do you choose?

FargoFarms said...

Well so far I have made 9. I did the color boxes and fall and winter. I also made the Ice Cream box you see on Counting Coconuts site but I made felt strawberries, cherries and bannana slices to go in it. I plan on continuing to make the boxes through the school year. I have a planning sheet and I just jot ideas down as I think them up. Some I go back and scratch because it is to elaborate or expensive. I am planning to do a few to go along with field trips we are planning, like tide pools/beach and give them to her before so she will already be familiar with the subject and excited for the event....other than that it is about keeping the kids engaged and busy. I would love to brain storm ideas with you. You can e-mail me at

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