YMCA Outdoor Club – How to Build a Sensory Box

Hi, I'm Travis Monroe, the Outdoor ClubCoordinator for the YMCA of Greater Oklahoma City.

Today I'm in my garden and I was thinking about all the textures and smells and tastes that are in my ownbackyard.

I thought we might build a sensory box.

Something for you to investigate nature in your own backyard.

So while I gatherup the rest of the spring strawberries, why don't you think about the plantsthat are growing around your patio or your backyard or even in yourneighborhood and we'll get back together here in a few minutes.

We'll talk aboutthe supplies you need to build a sensory box.

So to build the sensory box, you onlyneed a couple of things you can find in your house.

You need a box blade and apair of scissors that are safe to use so you don't hurt yourself.

Get your parentsto help you with the box blade.

A piece of gauze that you would use if you wereto get a cut, you had to tape it over your sore.

Just a piece of medical gauze.

You're gonna be able to snip through this.

Your journaling pen, obviously you need a journaling pen.

Duct tape.

A buff or a bandana to serve as a blindfold.

And abox.

It could just be a shoe box or in this case it's a priority mail box and I'vealready.

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I've already cut off the lid on this thing so it's open on thetop and I also made a cut here on the side.

I just cut up like this and across so that comes off.

And at the very top Icut a little hole that's big enough for the gauze to fit over.

I use the boxblade for that so be careful.

So now what you do?Take the gauze and you open it up so you can't see through it but you can smellthrough it.

You put it over that hole.

A hole in the top of the box.

Now I'm gonnatake just a little piece of tape.

I'm gonna tape that down so it doesn't move.

So whatthis allows me to do is I have a hole in the top of my box that I can't seethrough but I can smell through it.

There's also a hole in the side of the box herethat I can put my hand in so when someone put something under this box, I'll be able to put my hand in there and feel it.

If it's aromatic or has any sortof a smell, I'm gonna put my nose down to the gauze and put my finger right upnext to it holding that item and I can smell it too.

So I can use both my senseof touch, my sense of smell, to figure out what might have been placed in the box.

The other thing you can do is, if it's too big of an item you can always put abandana over your eyes.

You can use your smell.

You might even use your taste ifit's appropriate and you use your touch again.

So that's why these items arenecessary.

Then what you want to do is write down your findings because you maydiscover something pretty interesting when you discover these nature itemsthat you have found and are using in your sensory box.

Okay, so I went on anature walk because the next thing you do is gather the items that you're goingto use in your sensory box.

The best thing you can do is go on naturewalk with a couple of friends and they have a sack and you have a sack, and theygather a bunch of stuff that you're not aware of and you gather a bunch of stuffthat they're not aware of.

That way you can put things in the box for them todiscover.

They can put the things that they found in the box for you todiscover.

So what are the some of the things I've found? Obviously, earlier, Ihad the strawberries.

They feel a little bit like a wet rubber ball.

They have agood smell to them.

Obviously a good taste.

I found a bunch of bark Cedar bark, which is really interesting.

Pine bark.

River berch.

Elm.

So one of thethings I might do is cut up all of these or have a piece of each one of theseinside that box and ask the person can you figure out how many types of barkthere are.

That'd be interesting.

You could even smell some things becausepine has a smell.

Cedar has a smell.

I also pick some of those magnolia treeblooms.

The soft kind of buttery bloom petals and some of the magnolia treeleaves that are, like we said, a little woody and stiff.

Got some pine cones.

Both onethat's still tight and one that's already opened.

I might put the tight onein there and also one of these little pods, a little seed pods and put both ofthose things in the box to try and figure out what they are.

You could putthe pine needles themselves in there.

You could cut them up so they weren't soobvious that they're pine needles.

They have a smell.

You can even have a little bitof a taste.

You can put it in your mouth.

What else did I get? Oh, I also pickedsome wild flowers.

Dandelion flowers.

And clover flowers.

So both of those thingscan go in there.

They have a different feel to them.

Oh, I also, earlier we talkedabout lavender and rosemary.

If you look at those, they look very similar.

I cantell by the touch that one of them is rosemary.

It's stiffer and woodier.

Theother one's softer.

You can definitely tell by the smell.

So what you'll do, these, if I put both of those in there and I had to guess which one was which, Iwould roll between my fingers to open up some of that aromatic smell.

Put it uphere by this gauze and smell through that and figure that out.

You could also use the buff and the bandana, just to blindfold yourself andhave people hand you things and you had to figure out what they are.

Maybe twodifferent types of bark and you have to discover which one is which.

You'll want tomake notes in your journal so the next time you're out, you can identify thesedifferent plants or the things that you discovered about them.

You can make thisfun because you can you can put all sorts of dry dead things in here.

Justmake sure they won't hurt anybody.

You don't want to put a rose in there witha bunch of thorns and someone gets poked by those.

But use your imagination.

Look around your yard.

Find some interesting things and help other peoplediscover something about the nature that's in their backyard.

Have a lot of fun.

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