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While using a sensory box with children with special needs seems to be new and revolutionary, including sensory items in daily activities for children with special needs has been best practice for quite some time now. As a result of the increase awareness, education and research for children with special needs (especially children with autism), you can find a variety of sensory toys and items to include in your sensory boxes, areas and/or rooms. If your child responds to traditional sensory toys (i.e. sensory balls), then there are some great toys that will help with sensory stimulation and sensory breaks. However, I have had several students in the past that preferred common objects that you may find around the house instead of sensory toys. As every child is different, it is important to find out what works for your child and what they respond best to. Depending on the situation and child, sensory boxes should be therapeutic, help manage anxiety and/or stimulate the senses. Keep in mind some children with special needs have been known to respond to items that you would find surprising.
Here are some ideas to use in your sensory boxes:
– packaging peanuts
– bubble wrap
– silly putty
– rice, oats, flour
– flexible straws
– cotton balls
– fabric or ribbons
– tennis balls
– shaving cream
***Always use caution when giving these items to your child if your child still has an oral fixation.
If your child prefers more traditional sensory toys over household items, many children respond well to
– fidget toys
– tactile sensory balls
– items that light up, spin around or vibrate
– chew toys
– bean bags
– sound blocks
The important thing is to find items that your child likes and produces the desired effect that you are looking for. If your looking for more ideas you can check my Sensory Items Under $30 or Special Needs Essentials page.
What sensory items have worked for your child?