Special Needs Sensory Activities

For a kid with special needs, (and even those without!) sensory activities are a must.  One of my favorite activities is creating sensory tubs for Parker.

Sensory activities and sensory tubs tend to rely on a lot of rice for their touchy- feely goodness.  Oh, I’ve also seen birdseed used.  And lima beans.  And other ‘where’s the vacuum cleaner’ types of mediums.

Unfortunately, for a kid with a trach and a love of throwing stuff, the smaller the sensory activity medium, the bigger the headache for the Mama.

By Mama, I mean ME of course.

I started looking for a new base for our special needs sensory activity medium.  Something too big to put in a mouth, but not so expensive as to make my eyeballs pop out.  Something very Montessori friendly with a splash of Waldorf fun mixed in.

After weeks of looking at online sources and through the isles of countless big box stores, the answer came to me as I cruised the produce section of my neighborhood grocery store.

Walnuts!  Yup.  These little sensory packed bundles of joy not only caught my attention, but met all my criteria of a sensory activity for a trached kid with special needs.

That wasn’t all though.  My wandering eye landed on another item.  Small.  Round.  Orange…….the Cuties that are out now would also work.  Yay me!  (Hey, if you aren’t willing to give yourself credit where credit is do…..who else will?)

I combined everything in to a small wooden box that was originally what our blocks came in.

And then I got to thinking.


Grabbing my red and green colored  gems, I picked out the biggest of the lot and mixed them in.  Smaller than the walnuts, yes.  But no where near as annoying to clean up as the rice.

(BTW, I picked up these little beauties from Zulily.)


When the gems get to be old hat, I have these yard sale jingle bells I can add.  Parker loves a good jingle bell.  Or maybe I’ll grab some of the plastic, non-glittered, snowflakes.  I’m tellin’ ya, I’m on a roll over here.


I’ll still keep my eye on our Hero as he explores this new sensory activity.  Who knows what ideas lurk in that mind of his.  Seriously.  The last time I asked him where his chewies were, he walked over to the nearest vent, lifted up the cover, grabbed his favorite chewy from below, and walked it over to me.


What do you use in your kid’s sensory activity boxes?

PS:  Searching for more sensory activities?  Take a look at Totally Tot’s What’s in the Tub feature!



  1. kadiera
    Dec 5, 12
    • Tammy and Parker Dec 5, 12
      • kadiera
        Dec 6, 12
      • Kelly Mar 5, 13
        • Tammy and Parker Mar 5, 13
  2. brandiguarino
    Dec 6, 12
  3. Kerry Dec 7, 12
    • Tammy and Parker Dec 7, 12
      • Kerry Dec 7, 12
  4. Kelly Queijo Feb 24, 13
  5. Sarah Mar 4, 13
    • Tammy and Parker Mar 5, 13
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