Ideas to Create a Sensory Box for Kids with Autism

Ideas to create sensory box for kids with autism

A sensory box or bin is nothing but a large box where necessary sensory materials are filled according to the child’s need or to put in simple words, the sensory box is a container where your kid’s favorite items are stocked inside. Children will use them to play, learn and also to relax at times of stress. This box will indeed provide stimulation for the following senses

  1. Visual
  2. Tactile
  3. Olfactory
  4. Gustatory
  5. Auditory

This is uncomplicated to make and it can be easily accessible for the kid, at times when he/she needs it, as this box does not contain any harmful items. Most of all, it will not cost too much for the making process and for the filling materials as well. Therefore, this sensory box will be effective and productive for your kid.  


  1. List of tactile items

These items can be categorized into dry and wet.

  • For the dry items, we can include uncooked grains like rice, wheat, dhal, popcorn kernels, millets, flax seeds, etc., cotton balls, pom-poms, river stones, beads of a different color, shapes and sizes, building blocks, spike balls, rubber balls, colorful buttons of different sizes, seashells, feathers, shredded papers, sand or kinetic sand, play-doh, Rubik cube, plastic toys, soft toys, fur toys, Epsom salt and much more based on your child likes and dislikes.
  • Wet items such as water, ice cubes, shaving cream, soap foam, slime, water beads, cornflour paste and so on.
  1. List of olfactory items
  • Fresh and dry herbs like mint leaves, basil, etc, cinnamon sticks, cardamom,  scented play-doh, coffee beans, tea bags, peeled skin of oranges, flowers, scented candles (do not light the candles) and much more.
  1. List of sound-making (auditory) items
  • Bubble wrap sheet, nesting egg with tiny toys or stones inside, gift wrap paper, rattle toys, bells, squeezy toys, mini drums, xylophone, stainless steel spoons, musical balls, trumpet, toy mobile with music, etc.
  1. List of toys that stimulates oral sense

Before making this list, consult your child’s nutritionist about the restricted and permitted food. Because some children are sensitive to certain products, for example, gluten and they must be on a Gluten-free diet. So list according to your child’s oral sensitivity.

  • Ice cube sticks consisting of lemon and mint juice, a jar filled with homemade crispy snacks and based on your child’s taste buds, fill the jars of their favorite food.
  1. List of visual stimulating items
  • Lighting balls, Kaleidoscope, torchlight, light stick, glow in the dark toys, glittering slime, water bottle filled with glitters, colorful buttons, tiny characters, aquatic stones, etc., liquid timer, glitter pens, Rubik cube, etc.


Based on time and interest, the sensory box can be utilized in many ways. Below are a few suggestions but not limited to

  • Make an activity schedule and stimulate each sense every day using the materials packed in the sensory box.
  • Same way, with an activity schedule, teach colors each day using materials from the sensory box, for example, create a red theme on Monday, a yellow theme on Tuesday, a green theme on Wednesday, and so on.
  • Fill the container with items of the child’s choice and create a story out of those items.
  • Create a theme and fill the box with the related items, make sure the theme and the materials should stimulate more than one sense.
  • Take a picture of a theme and ask the child to fill the sensory box with the things mentioned in the picture.  
  • Hide some small toys inside the grains, shredded paper, dry leaves, etc and ask the child to find them.
  • Ask the child to pop bubble wrap sheet, water beads.
  • Perform sorting (either by color, shape or size) activity.


  1. Selection of box:

You can either choose one box to store the materials for your kid or choose more than one box for each item as per your child’s requirement. Because some child usually prefers each item to be in a separate container as they may get confused or frustrated when they see all the materials in one bin. So it is purely your child’s wish.

  • The container should neither be too big nor too small which makes the child difficult to access.
  • Look for the edges, it should not be sharp.
  • Ensure there are no holes or cracks anywhere within the container.
  • The shape of the container should be simple to store and easily accessible for the kid.
  1. Store the box in an area where the child can easily find and access them when they need it.
  2. Leave the box in a room which should be quite spacious for the kid to play.
  3. Make sure the quantity of the grains, water beads and other similar items are not too much.
  4. Children will make a mess while playing with the sensory box, don’t get frustrated, make sure the box is placed on a mat, so if anything spills, it can be cleaned easily.
  5. Always make sure the box is free from dust and/or dirt.
  6. If your child has a mouthing habit, then the sensory box must contain large items to prevent choking.
  7. Supervision is necessary.
  8. Always try to spend time with your kid while playing with the sensory box.

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