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With remote learning at an end (or at least a pause), it’s time for many of us to get our kids moving, playing, exploring, and away from their screens. For this portion of our summer survival series, we’re focusing on sensory play. Activity boxes are a great way to facilitate guided play and enrichment at home without having to design the curriculum. Let these curated boxes guide you and your family to hours of fun. Allowing your child’s input in the selection will add to their investment in the experience. 

  • DreamGym
    DreamGYM offers a wide array of doorway-mounted swings, trapeze bars, rope ladders, and therapy nets to create an in-home door-frame gym. This is a great option for working in cooperation with your child’s occupational therapy sessions or for promoting in-home exercise and self-regulation. Choose from many combinations to create the right setup for your family.

    • Age range: Ages 3 and up

    • Specs: Up to 220 pounds, fits door frames 26”–36″ wide.

    • Good for: Kids needing sensory stimulation, strength-building, self-regulation, occupational therapy, and help with proprioception.

    • Cost: Ranges from $107.97 to $237.97  

  • EarlyVention
    Designed by a special education teacher, home therapy case manager, and autism consultant, EarlyVention boxes contain sensory and therapeutic elements designed for any age range and ability. Boxes come in two sizes: a sensory exploration box and a full activity box. Each full activity box is themed monthly and includes a sensory bin and language board, social stories, a reward chart, a sensory fidget toy, an interactive story, a rhyme, and a craft. Language boards utilize the PECS system of communication, and the principals of the kit are modeled from ABA. An extra set of activity box supplies can be ordered for siblings. 

    • Age range: Ages 2–18

    • Good for: Kids seeking sensory stimulation and development of communication skills.

    • Cost: $59.70 for a sensory exploration box; the full activity box is $149.25.   

  • Messy Play Kits 
    Designed by a preschool teacher with a background in child development, Messy Play Kits offer subscription boxes full of sensory activities. Each kit contains three to five different themed activities with “science projects, art activities, and sensory experiences.” There are many options available, including a Summer Subscription and ingredients to create themed sensory bins. They are currently able to ship as many as three months of kits ahead of time to get you through the summer. 

    • Age range: Ages 3–8

    • Good for: Kids who crave sensory stimulation, need fine motor skill enhancement, have tactile defensiveness, or just love getting messy.

    • Cost: Monthly subscriptions for play kits and sensory bins are $40 per month or $45.95 for individual boxes.   

  • Sensory TheraPlay Box
    Curated by a pediatric occupational therapist, Sensory TheraPlay Boxes contain a monthly collection of fun toys that occupational therapists use during their sessions. The items help with anxiety management and promote self-regulation. Each box contains five to seven sensory toys. Examples of items include “putty, aromatherapy dough, textured tactile toys/fidgets, craft activities that promote fine motor skills, light-up toys, unique stress balls, and more.”

    • Age range: Boxes are generally aimed at ages 5–9, but are good for all ages. There is also a box designed specifically for teens and adults.

    • Good for: Kids with sensory processing needs who can benefit from increased tactile input.

    • Cost: $39.95 per month  

  • Skootle Box
    Another curated kit put together by an occupational therapist and mom, Skootle Box offers toys and activities that promote fine motor skills, coordination, calming the senses, and muscle strength. There are cutting, threading, and writing exercises to help with school readiness. Parents can set preferences for their child’s needs to customize the boxes.

    • Age range: Preschool to elementary

    • Good for: All kids with developing sensory needs.

    • Cost: $55 per month; enter code FIRST15 to get $15 off your first box.

STAY TUNED FOR THE NEXT INSTALLMENT IN OUR SUMMER SURVIVAL SERIES: Off-Screen Activities for Arts, Crafts, and Literature!

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