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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Our October Sensory Box

When I start thinking about a new unit for the upcoming month, I base it around one of two things: a really awesome idea I have for a sensory box, or a really awesome idea I have for art projects. For the month of October, I based our unit around a really awesome sensory box I wanted to make. I knew I didn't just want a tub full of pumpkins, and, though I wanted to stay with the traditional halloween colors, I knew the tub would still need lots of different sizes, shapes, textures and objects. About 6 weeks ago, I found a package of orange, black & clear diamond shaped plastic pieces that came in various sizes and I knew it would be a perfect to add to the base for our tub. I thought I wanted a base of black gravel (like what you might use in an aquarium), but when my mother-in-law found these large black aquarium rocks I quickly changed my mind. I liked that they would add some new dynamics to the box, such as their heavy weight, their smooth texture, and their unfinished shape. The other item I used as a base is halloween colored shredded paper, which can be found in the gift wrap isle at most stores. I also threw in some miniature pumpkins I had used for a wreath. After that I went, as I like to call it, dumpster diving at the Target Dollar spot, the Dollar Tree next door to Target, and in my craft closet. I found lots of awesome things to add to the box that would spark some conversation and use their imagination.

Here are my dollar goodies I found:
* Rubber skeleton & bats
* Rubbery/stretchy spiders and skeletons
Our animals for the month are cats & bats, so it was important to me to have the bats in the tub. Since skeletons are a big part of Halloween, I thought we would focus on our bodies/skeletons one week during the month. I've found a bunch of fun teaching tools for skeleton week. I was really excited to find one that was more "natural" looking, and then some rubber ones, so that we could talk about long and short.
 * These are those things I played with as a kids. They are a thin rubber layer on the outside, and the inside is filled with a liquid gel & glitter, and then there are little plastic toys added. Since these are Halloween themed, one has little bats, and one has creepy/crawly bugs. When you squish them in your hands, they can "jump" right out! The kids have never had a toy like this, so it's been a lot of fun watching their reaction.

* This is really neat. The texture itself is quite different that anything the kids have been exposed to, so that is what drew me to this toy in the first place. Then I found the switch on the bottom.. it changes colors! It was such a neat item to add to the tub I had to have it.

* The kids love playing with dress up stuff, so the bat ears were a must! The other dress up stuff I found weren't exactly age appropriate or subject matter I wanted to get into yet (for example: devil ears), so that's what they got. I also threw in an eye patch, two orange beaded necklaces and some bracelets.
* The rubber snake is a toy my kids have been playing with a ton lately, so I threw it in the tub, too.
* The plastic tweezers are a must: I encourage them to use the tweezers to pick up tiny things in the tub. Not pictured is a plastic measuring cup to scoop up lots of things at once. It's one cup.

Some of the other stuff:

* Lots of fun pumpkins in different shapes & sizes. There is a gold one and one covered in glitter.
* Halloween themed beads. I had a package of pumpkins and a multi package, that came with spiders, webs, & candy corn

* Sequined balls. They are very lightweight and shiny/pretty.

Here is a close up of the tub:


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