View Full Version : Sensory Boxes

05-17-2015, 08:50 PM
I am starting a biz selling customised sensory boxes (with DS doing most of the initial marketing!) for kids on the autism spectrum. I created a few when I made one for DS some years ago and he was in regular school and other mums of ASD kids decided they wanted me to make customised ones for their kiddos.

What I need from you guys is ideas. What should go inside a sensory box? What are the main 'issues' that seem to arise with your kids? For instance, when he was younger, his sensory box contained: a couple of Dr Who mags, a squishy stress toy, a book on astronomy, a photograph of family members, a spinning top...that sort of thing. They were items that helped him feel at ease, whether in the classroom, a restaurant, someone else's house, helping him either calm down or stop being distracting (he would spin things on his desk...even erasers, spinning them...insane LOL).

I would plan that these boxes would be of a size where you'd have room to put items that are personal to your child. A family photo, a favourite stuffed toy, a few toy cars, a bag of plastic dinosaurs. You could put in a few things that your child currently likes to add to the sensory items you have chosen from the website.

DH, DS and I are really talking seriously about this and I know that I would get some great ideas from you other mamas and papas of kids on the Autism Spectrum. However, I am also looking at doing these sensory boxes for kids who have ADD/ADHD, Dyslexia and Dyspraxia, as they are very similar to ASDs. After all, it's more about the individual issues and manifestations of neurological disorders than the disorders themselves.

Early days yet, but it's something we're seriously considering, so if any of you can be of any help with suggestions as to sensory items, please let loose!


05-17-2015, 09:23 PM
off the top of my head: chewy tubes, Boogie Board (LCD writing board, not the one used in the water), my homemade play dough (the consistency is preferred by my DS to the store bought play doh), velcro, books of his current obsession. My son doesn't like them because he is limited by fine motor, but legos would definitely be good for a lot of kids. My DS, when little, really liked those Melissa and Doug 12 piece wooden puzzles.

05-17-2015, 09:23 PM
Have no idea what to suggest...but it sounds like a really cool project! Good luck with this, Aspie:)

05-18-2015, 12:10 AM
Here are things we have used in years past to navigate severe sensory issues:

-for sound sensitivity: small individual packs of disposable earplugs, big earmuffs (like those used at shooting ranges), sound blocking ear buds with soothing, yet not sleep inducing music (classical or music for massage is what we used)

-for visual sensitivity: sunglasses, hats, this: http://www.amazon.com/Roylco-Reading-Highlight-Strips/dp/B000CBWWGC/ref=pd_sim_21_7?ie=UTF8&refRID=0QGGSVXGKVA1NZM7WEKH

-for sensitivity to odors/smells: we carried small sealable plastic bags (snack size or even the little plastic pill bags) or containers (even empty lip balm round containers) that we would put in a cotton ball that was dipped in some base oil (jojoba) and a drop of essential oils (lavender is nice for kids, it is the "balancing" oil, though peppermint helped to stay alert and refreshed. DS would make his own blends.) Then the kid can just open up and take a sniff when he is out and about and overwhelmed by somebody's perfume or food smell, or even just feeling generally unregulated. It helps, BTW, if you work with the child to do soothing calming meditations or relaxation/regulating mind-body stuff with the chosen scent and then the kid relates that scent to a state of calm regulation.

for oral regulation: gum, there are tons of chewy jewelry, tubes, toys, out there.

For proprioceptive regulation: we used weighted vests and lap pads, jump rope, chair pushups (putting your hands on whatever you are sitting on and pushing your body up in the air), Theraputty (usually the blue or green stiffness level.) This was a tough one to sitting. Proprioceptive input is more of a thing to do while taking a break. Running or heavy work isn't exactly boxable.

Tactile input: a soft brush - like a small make up brush or one of those big dusting your neck brushes like barbers use, a soft new paint brush or a Wilbarger Protocol brush if the kid's Sensory Integration OT is cool with that - they can be bought in bulk. We had a little texture book we used - a blank book with stuff glued in - sandpaper, flannel, wax paper, embossed paper, many rows of small buttons attached, raised stickers, feathers, fake fur, bits of yarn, satin, etc. Different sponges, fabrics, even a small hand held massager (here: http://www.amazon.com/Homedics-PM-50-Massager-Battery-Operated/dp/B00170DB8U/ref=sr_1_8?s=hpc&ie=UTF8&qid=1431921959&sr=1-8&keywords=vibrating+toy) - really helped DS settle down when he put it on sternum, or up and down his arms.

General fidgets: Putty/play dough, resistance type exercise bands (great around chair legs for busy feet), cushy ball with texture-y rubber nubs and bits (Amazon.com: Stress Balls and Squeeze Toys Value Assortment (20 Pack): Health & Personal Care (http://www.amazon.com/Stress-Balls-Squeeze-Value-Assortment/dp/B00IU0P1VU/ref=sr_1_14?s=hpc&ie=UTF8&qid=1431921631&sr=1-14&keywords=sensory+balls) and Amazon.com: Pack of 4 Spiky Massage Balls, Hard & Soft Combo, 2 of 7.5cm & 2 of 9cm, Stress Reflexology, Porcupine Sensory Ball Set: Health & Personal Care (http://www.amazon.com/Massage-Stress-Reflexology-Porcupine-Sensory/dp/B00M776F12/ref=sr_1_1?s=hpc&ie=UTF8&qid=1431921669&sr=1-1&keywords=sensory+balls)) elastic type bracelets with beads or spinners, busy book (fabric book with buttons, laces, pom poms, etc.)

We loved this place: Therapy Shoppe | Special Needs Educational Toys | Sensory, Occupational Therapy Tools-Toys-Supplies (http://www.therapyshoppe.com/)

06-08-2015, 11:53 AM
I love this idea! I hope it works out well.

For my son, we have two sensory boxes: one is the Quiet Box, and the other is full of beans.

The Quiet Box is for when Sam is having trouble calming down, either from a meltdown or is just overly distracted. He likes tactile things and water stuff, so most of the box is filled up with that. We've got an Ooze Tube, a water paperweight with fish in it, balloons filled up with different stuff (a beaded necklace and cornstarch, I think), a little rubber thing with rubber spikes on it, some other water/bubbly toys, a pair of headphones, a metronome, an abacus, and a squishy bead-filled pillow. A lot of this stuff I have found on Amazon.

The other box has different dried beans in it. I made the mistake of initially mixing the beans with dry rice, and dry rice gets everywhere! That's my biggest issue with sensory boxes in general is keeping all the stuff in the box. The beans are in a large, flattish rubbermaid box that is meant to go under the bed -- I originally bought it for all his car stuff. He likes the flat box so he can practically immerse his upper half in it and wash the beans over his forearms. He says it's like the beach and he's making waves. This one is harder to store away.