an autism journey

My son craves sensory experiences. One day during a therapy session, he became very fidgety during his table work. He was constantly “flicking” the items he was supposed to be working with. It is a common problem for him. His fingers are almost always in motion. His therapist could just not get him to concentrate on the task at hand. So, she walked over to her closet and pulled out a tub full of beans and sat it down on the floor. I thought she had lost her mind, but my son immediately got up and went over to the tub. He sat very quietly putting his hands through the beans. After a few minutes of play, he was able to go back to the table and focus on the task they were working on. So, I decided to do the same thing at home. Over the years, we have tried many different sizes of tubs and a variety of materials. We fill the tub with whatever sensory material we have on hand and then bury various toys and figures into the material. We provide some scooping supplies and he is ready to go. He does need supervision during play to be sure he doesn’t put the items in his mouth, but it entertains him and helps provide that sensory experience he is craving. Best of all when he is done playing, we simply put a lid on it and save it for another day. It works perfect on those cold or rainy days when getting outside is not possible. We keep ours put up and only bring them out when he asks for them (thus working on his verbal requests) and it keeps them special since they are not always out and available to him. Laying an old sheet down helps make clean up easy if the material spills out (or is dumped).

        Sensory Materials

  • Packing peanuts
  • Any type of dried beans
  • Rice
  • Sand
  • Water
  • Easter basket filler “grass”
  • Various types of pasta (macaroni, shells, bow ties, etc.)
  • Small pebbles

        Items to add to the box

  • Any small sand type toys
  • Funnel (you can get one in the automotive dept for around a dollar)
  • Miniature figures (dinosaurs, farm animals, ect)
  • Measuring cups
  • Spoons of various sizes (measuring spoons work great and you can get them cheap)
  • Easter Eggs
  • Scoops


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