When you give someone a Sensory Street gift box, you are giving them more than just a box of toys.

We have designed the sensory and fidget boxes to be used together with a family member, carer or support worker, as part of a regular routine.  They provide you with the opportunity to bond with your child, as well as providing sensory input and calming strategies.

For Christmas a few years ago, Carol put together a sensory box for my son Max (she’s the best Aunty!). Max had been diagnosed with Autism months earlier, at the age of 3 ½ years. He also had sensory processing issues.

With her background in early childhood education and years of experience working with children in the early childhood and primary school sectors, Carol designed a custom sensory box to help Max to recognise and regulate his emotions and also provided a range of tools with different sensory inputs.

Max original sensory box

Carol included a mirror and some calm breathing techniques in the lid of Max’s custom sensory and fidget box.

Inside the box was a light switch, spiky things, stretchy things and squishy things.

Max loved trying out his new sensory tools – his cousins did too!

We sat with Max and tried out all of the different sensory tools to find out what he liked (mostly the squishy toys) and what he didn’t like (spiky things).

Rather than wait for Max to feel upset or angry to try the calm breathing techniques, we practised them together when he was already feeling calm. It became a part of our daily routine, to sit and play with some sensory tools while doing some breathing and recognising different emotions. 

The sensory box was not a miracle solution to Max’s struggles. Often if I thought he was starting to become agitated, I would suggest we open the sensory box together. Sometimes he would happily play with the tools and it would calm him. Other times everything in the box would end up being thrown across the room – sometimes the lid and the box itself

But we persisted and explored the sensory box on a regular basis. I feel that just sitting and taking the time to spend with Max and slow down, helped me to understand his sensory needs more.  I also benefited from practising slow breathing, it helped to calm and reset me as well.

Here are a few tips for you to really get the most out of your sensory and fidget box:

  • Spend the time exploring the box with your child. You will both benefit from testing out all of the sensory resources and fidget tools together.
  • Implement the calm breathing and emotion recognition as part of a regular routine. Some families choose to do this before bedtime, others in the morning, or after school/kinder. Try a few different times of the day to work out what fits in best with your family lifestyle.
  • Keep the sensory box in a quiet space where your child can easily access it. This might be a bedroom, sensory space or calm corner.
  • Pay attention to the sensory and fidget tools that your child is drawn to. This will give you an insight into the sensory input they crave and will help to keep them regulated. 
  • Keep your sensory and fidget box fresh! Update with new tools, rotate toys in and out so that the box is always interesting and holds your child’s attention. 
  • Encourage extended family members to explore the box with your child. Sometimes family members or friends can feel unsure about how to relate to a child with additional needs. A Sensory Street box is an ideal way for them to show their interest and relate to them.

We hope that your child cherishes their very own Sensory Street gift box and it brings some calm, focus and fun to your everyday.
They make a wonderful gift from a Grandparent, Aunty or Uncle or special family friend.

Carol and I would love to hear about YOUR experiences with a sensory box – how have they helped your child?
Let us know in the comments below.

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