Hi – Sensory boxes or bags (from Goldencarers.com) are designed to give the caregivers an easy way to bring a great variety of activities into the care environment. Enjoy – Meghan

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What is a Sensory Box?

Rummage, Memory or Sensory boxes are containers filled with everyday objects to assist people living with dementia to interact, communicate, and reminisce. These activities can also be a soothing form of distraction.

Boxes can be created to cater to individual needs or for the general use of residents. The aim is to offer failure-free, gentle stimulation of sight, sound, taste, smell, touch, and movement in a controlled environment.

4 Sensory Box Ideas

The aim of sensory boxes is to offer the opportunity to stimulate as many senses as possible. This activity is also an opportunity to relax, contemplate, chat and reminisce.

Sometimes you will have to demonstrate the activity to engage the person; the emphasis is on enjoyment and participation. Thorough supervision is essential with these types of activities.  Here are some ideas for sensory boxes:

Balls Box
A large plastic box or a small suitcase of balls in different textures; rubber, plastic, fabric, squishy, baby (with a bell inside), porcupine balls, massage balls, glow-in-the-dark balls. Any type of tactile ball is suitable. The quantity of balls depends on the size of the box you have.

Kinetic Sand Play
Kinetic sand can be shaped and stretched without separating. Place sand on a large cooking tray and offer safety utensils for exploration.

Seeds Box
Gather or buy large seeds such as pine cones, waratahs, acorns, jacaranda, or whatever seeds you have on hand e.g. avocado seeds, coconut, peach pits. Seeds can provide a variety of different textures, shapes, and sizes to explore. NOTE: Be mindful of safety risks; insert small seeds into zip-lock plastic bags to avoid choking. 

Place a few boiled eggs or peeled bananas on a plate along with plastic cutlery. Demonstrate cutting the food and encourage residents to cut and taste it.

4 Ways to Create Multisensory Spaces

The addition of multisensory spaces to your facility may inspire residents to explore, interact or have somewhere where they can ‘just be’. Here are a few ideas:

Create a working office in a corner for people who insist they have to ‘go to work’. Provide an office desk, computer, files, pens and highlighters, a hole-punch, in-out trays etc

Indoor Forest
There are many things you can do to bring nature inside. Setup a nature corner that includes pot plants, the bark of twigs of trees, moss planted in pots, small tree branches and grasses, aspen, oak, conifer, and ferns.

Rummage Dresser
Setup a three or four-drawer dresser in a corner and fill it with everyday items such as doilies, napkins, beanies, colored socks, scarves, baby clothes, tea towels, and other items. Some people may enjoy sorting and organizing them.

Outdoor Garden Shed
Setup a garden shed with an old plastic wheelbarrow, potting mixture, garden tools, and buckets. Ask the participant to help you tend to raised garden beds nearby.

This is just a start! There are many more stimulating areas worth trying: familiar foods, texture-rich materials, reading, massage, painting, outings, and music.