Ritwik ( like all other babies) have always shown more interest in household items, boxes, labels, leaves, textured clothes, bottles, dough, paper, tissues etc than his own set of plastic, electronic or soft toys.  We bought couple of expensive toys for him only to realize that he was more interested to play with spoons and bowls and remote controls! (Read my experience of buying an expensive toy, and regretting it here 😉 ). So i started doing my own research, and came across this term called Heuristic Play   which is deeply rooted in young children’s natural curiosity.  Toddlers have an urge and curiosity to explore, touch and feel objects that they find adults handling / using – be it  household stuff or kitchen utensils. They are more inquisitive to play with a “sensory-box” over an actual toy. Well the deal is really simple –  Give your tot a gift and he / she is more likely to be interested in the box, wrapping paper, ribbons, tags etc than the actual toy!

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Our parents and grandparents never really had to do their research on this…ask them and they will tell you about the kitchen spoons and bowls that they used to give you to play with…the way they used to let you enjoy feeling the texture of onions and potatoes…i remember making mud toys in my garden with my maid’s daughter! We were never really pampered with all these expensive toys that you see in the market today. We used our own imagination and creativity to create doll houses and tents with scarves and dupattas! My mother used to let me play with dough – and i used to enjoy molding it into varied shapes.

Ritwik’s play area was piling up with toys that he never really gave a second glance at! So one fine day i decided to dump them all in big cartons and bid them bye-bye (at least till he reaches a stage where he appreciates playing with them). For now it is all about exploring, touching and developing his own imagination & creativity for my one year old munchkin.

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So what is a sensory box?                                                                                                                                                                                                          Create a box with interesting objects like household items, kitchen ware, textured materials etc and present it to your baby and  allow him/ her to explore it. If they show no interest in it, that is ok too! Just give them space and time to enjoy it their way sometime later! I do not really like to add actual toys to these boxes as the whole idea is to expose the babies to objects that we find in and around the house. Give this box to your kiddo few times a week (not everyday!) to make it more interesting and exciting, and you can every now and then add newer things to the basket to make it more novel! Let your baby explore the objects on her own, without you guiding her on what to do with it, or how to use it…let her become a “little explorer!”. There is no right way of creating a sensory box…you can invent several ones as per your baby’s style and preference! It is all about letting the baby enjoy an “exploratory play” and develop her senses!

Here are some of the sensory boxes that i have created for Ritwik  so far:

Textured Sensory Box – My twitter friend Vikki Moore  @babysensorybr3 suggested this one to me. So basically i filled up this box with lot of textured items – woolens, mittens, silks, socks, fur, textured scarves, loofah etc!

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Treasure Basket – i filled in the basket with lot of interesting stuff that Ritwik is really fond of – sponges, powder puff, felt cloths, sieve, soap case, name tags etc…i also customized the basket and called it ‘Ritwik’s treasure basket’ 🙂

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Pick-up from a Tissue box – Ritwik totally loves to dig into this box and remove the items from inside. After exploring and playing with them, he will put them back in too!  I have filled the tissue box with papers of various textures, small pouches, baby shoes, satin slashes etc!

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Magnetic Box – Ritwik currently has an obsession with magnets! He loves to stick them onto fridge and steel cupboards…so i thought why not create a magnet-box for him to play with. I used a cookie box on which the magnets stick easily! I put loads of fun and colorful magnets in the box..my lil baby loves to stick these onto the lid or inside of the box!

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I also created sensory boxes as return gifts for my baby boy’s first birthday toddler house party. Read my post on that here.

Do write in to me in case you have any more exploratory-play ideas or have created sensory boxes for your lil one! Till then, happy parenting 🙂

P.S: Always make sure that your baby plays under your supervision, and never include any objects in the box that maybe harmful for your baby or something that may be a choking hazard.

2017-05-11T17:13:26+00:00December 2nd, 2013|

18 Comments

  1. Veens December 13, 2013 at 3:58 pm - Reply

    Love your ideas 🙂 I have tried many with Aarya, his favorite is always – rice and stuff like that 🙂

    • Amu December 14, 2013 at 5:37 pm - Reply

      Thank you Veena… wow! You should suggest me some more ideas for sensory-play that have worked for Aarya…My sonny boy loves to play with his food now-a-days before putting it in his mouth…it all gets so messy, but so so worth it! 🙂

      • Veens December 14, 2013 at 10:29 pm - Reply

        You know those tiny coffee table plastic mats (you get them really cheap on the roadside) and the best to use for the mess! Put your bin in the middle of the mat and place him right next to it. And if this mat doesn’t “contain” the mess, buy the Dinning table plastic mat – I am sure that will be enough lol! Once he is done dumping everything, you can remove him and just fold and dump it all back.

        • Amu December 17, 2013 at 6:25 am - Reply

          Wow, that is an awesome idea to ensure the messy play does not get very messy! This one is handy as i stay with my in-laws, and my MIL does not really appreciate the messy plays…ha!ha! You know how it is 🙂 🙂

          • Veens December 17, 2013 at 6:54 am

            Tell me about it. My mom hates the mess my home is in all the time and can’t understand what we do all day lol!

          • Amu December 17, 2013 at 7:44 pm

            LOL 😉

  2. soniaraowrites December 13, 2013 at 8:23 pm - Reply

    Quite interesting when you realise how much we are bombarded with media pressure in our choice of toys for our children when in fact they are more happy to play with simple (but very intriguing to them) easily found items. :). Keen to read more such posts.

    • Amu December 14, 2013 at 5:34 pm - Reply

      So true Sonia! i totally second that…will surely post few more interesting play-activities that i have created for my toddler using household stuff. Thank you for stopping by 🙂

  3. Veens December 14, 2013 at 10:42 pm - Reply

    If your boy puts stuff he plays with in his mouth, then I think you could use –
    1)oats – not cheap – but a little bit for the that texture
    2)does his like messy play (aka mud?) make some for him 🙂 – maida + water+ coco powder – he will taste it – won’t like it ( cocoa is bitter) – but so fun – all MUD!
    3)Salt – Aarya’s Favoriet! Add a “channi” and wow, look at the snow – hide things in it and let him sift to find it.
    4) just maida – seriously so fun! (Aarya goes ballistic, if i let him do it)
    5) where do you stire your rice? if there is a little left in it, give him that deep container ( i have the 10 kg huge steel bin, and aarya just loves puting his hands in there)
    6) pasta – all types(bonus – wask and cook when done lol!)
    7) Corn – not tried it YET, but very soon!
    8 plain old WATER! Aarya is a water baby, it is never enough!
    Other stuff-
    1) cotton – give it tohim in pieces or let him tear it out
    2) paper – serious fun tering, scrunching,
    3) kids safe scissors and all kinds of easy to cut paper
    4) if you are brave (somedays I am) – paper and GLUE – from my post youknow Aarya loves GLUE
    5) stones – serious fun -you can know buy them from the gardening section, (but they make so much sound)
    6) MUD! – need i say more
    7) BOX – plain old box, colors – imagination 🙂

    Sorry for the long comment, i hope you get some ideas 🙂

    • Amu December 17, 2013 at 6:24 am - Reply

      Wow! Wow! Wow! Thank you so much Veena for all the brilliant ideas…i am excited to try these out for my toddler and i am sure he will have a blast 🙂 thank you once again, and i am sure to get some more inspiration from your blog posts!

  4. Poornima December 15, 2013 at 11:28 pm - Reply

    Nice ideas. I wish I had done this when my daughter was one 🙂 She is 3 now but loves collecting all sorts of trinkets. I think she is making up her own sensory boxes now 🙂

    • Amu December 17, 2013 at 6:20 am - Reply

      Thank you Poornima 🙂 haha, we always kinda regret not doing those small little things for our precious ones…i’m already feeling that gosh! my baby is 1 year and i have missed out on reading bed time stories for him :(….but yeah, as you said they have their own way of catching up! my love to your lil doll! Take care, and thank you for stopping by!

  5. khushboo badani September 10, 2014 at 10:37 am - Reply

    wow..lovely ideas..
    I do water play with my LO.. ( he is now 26 months). He just love pouring water, filling from one cup to other. I also give him beads in water to pick them up one by one.
    Sand play is also fun.

    • Amu September 10, 2014 at 7:04 pm - Reply

      That’s awesome! Ditto with my son! We love any thing to do with pouring / transferring!

  6. Nikita January 5, 2015 at 11:16 am - Reply

    Hey
    i really loved all ur ideas n now i desparately wanna try everything wid my LO..
    thanks dear
    regards
    Nikita

  7. Dr Hetal Turakhia February 13, 2015 at 10:55 am - Reply

    hi lovely basket ideas… where can we get Velcro tapes for activities? veggies & fruits for activities in Mumbai?

  8. shenbakam May 29, 2015 at 4:58 am - Reply

    Wow super ideas… Love your blog.. What I was searching for quite few months..

    • Amu June 2, 2015 at 7:47 am - Reply

      Thank you so much 🙂 Glad you liked the activities. You can check out my YouTube channel, as i upload lots of activity videos there 🙂

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