I usually create a sensory bin for most of our BFIAR books, but halfway through the school year our “sensory bin” evolved into a special “sensory story box”. This has become a handy tool for teaching my preschooler vocabulary, phonics, and more. It’s often set up in our daily learning lane. I try to find a printable pack to go along with our BFIAR book and most are available from Homeschool Creations, but I had to create a few myself (you can download them from my TPT store).
I started using a plastic storage container for our sensory bins, but I switched to an empty wooden puzzle box since it’s shape made sensory play accessible to all three kids at once and it had a slide on/off lid. I filled the box with 5 bags of corn I purchased from the dollar store (note – I kept the corn in the freezer for a few weeks to kill off any potential and unwanted pests that could have hitched a ride).
Building our sensory story box begins with me printing and laminating the 3-part vocabulary cards that go with our story. Next, I scavenge through our children’s toys picking out pieces that match our vocabulary words. I also include some items that can be used to retell the story through sensory play.
Setting up our story box for the first time was rather easy. I poured the corn into the empty puzzle box and set up the vocabulary cards and story elements (aka “toys/figures”) in a simple pattern. I staggered the vocabulary cards in the corn (they stand up on their own since the corn is about an inch deep). I place the matching picture cards in one empty bowl and the printed words in a separate bowl, and scatter the toys everywhere in between.
This presentation seems to suggest an invitation to play and learn and my kids do both. Sometimes they feel like matching up the cards and toys while other times they use the box for imaginary play….both are beneficial. Amazing how one simple change can make such a difference! Could a “sensory story box” be right for you?