I recently had a reader e-mail me with the question, “What exactly is a sensory tub?” I don’t have an actual definition but from my experience, a sensory tub is simply a tool for children to learn about the world around them using their sense of touch. It allows children to explore different textures. In my opinion, sensory tubs are developmentally appropriate for any child who is out of the oral fascination stage (ie-putting everything in the mouth). Babies as young as one year can have as much fun with a sensory tub as a 5-year old!
There is no wrong way to make a sensory tub. All you need is a tub and something to fill it with! I have seen sensory tubs filled with rice, beans, sand, shaving cream, coffee grounds, and even bird seed. We’ve had a bean tub for several months with foam numbers and measuring cups for dumping and filling. But now that Little Brother is mobile, I don’t feel comfortable having the bean tub out since there is a high probability that a bean will end up being missed during cleanup. Then it will inevitably wind up in Little Brother’s mouth–and that has disaster written all over it.
So, I decided to use something a little different today–shredded paper! We added our plastic dinosaurs and fossils then let Big Brother get to work “excavating” the dinosaurs and remains. And the great thing was that Little Brother could participate too!
If you don’t have a shredder at home, you might check with a local business to see if they could give you some of their already shredded paper. I’m sure they would be happy to oblige.