Messy Play! - MyMessyBox Sensory Play Review Part 1

Monday, January 05, 2015

When I was mom to Ch and L, I didn't know that playing with sand and water provide far more benefits than just fun and laughter. These hands-on learning experiences engage a child's senses, and develop his creativity and imagination. There are many other benefits of such sensory play and I highlighted some here

It took a third baby for me to know all those benefits. 

Simply Lambchops and MyMessyBox

For this new year, I resolve to provide more opportunities for K to play messy in order to improve her feeding habits. K does not accept many flavours and texture in her food. For the record, it took us 1.5 years of hard work to progress her from rice cereal and baby bottled food to porridge that is not blended. Sensory play will expose her to different textures, smells and tastes. 

There are many online resources available which offer tips on how to set up a sensory box and I have spent many late nights ploughing through them to prepare for the sensory play activities. It has been a tedious affair - sometimes when a material is lacking, I have to look for alternatives within my home. 

Then came MyMessyBox! 



MyMessyBox is a sensory-based monthly subscription box targeted at children between 3-6 years old. Every box includes all the materials and suggested play for projects related to a theme, neatly packed into 3 packages - A,C,E: Active, Creative and Explorative. 

:: Active Pack
consists of toys and figurines for the child to role-play with.

:: Creative Pack
consists of 2 to 3 craft activities for parents to work on together with the child.

:: Explorative Pack
provides the base materials for the child to engage in sensory play. These can be in the form of beans, sand etc.

Beautifully-designed instructions are also included for each pack and with the older kids, there are suggested questions which the parent can use as prompts to discuss the activity.

The themes have been carefully selected and designed by the team at MyMessyBox. The same box can be used for children across the age range, and the outcomes and difficulty level will still vary depending on how the child and parent interact with the materials and projects. 


Themes available now

K's experience with our first MyMessyBox
The December theme was The Whimsical Garden. I was quite happy as this is a familiar theme for K - she enjoys listening and singing along to Sunday School songs about the butterfly, tree, flower etc. 

K's first experience with the beans in the Explorative package was a cautious one. Dried green beans have a faint smell which was unfamiliar to her. She approached it slowly, as if trying to size up that material. And very quickly, after getting her fingers into the box of green beans, she decided she was done for the day. 


Simply Lambchops and MyMessyBox
Fiddling with the goodies of the Premium Toolkit

I had to sustain her interest with the rest of the materials in the package - some flowers, together with green strips of paper grass and leaves. 

And the play got messy.

I was glad the mess happened as this was a learning opportunity for her. In my "therapy mode", I got K to practise on her pincer grip by picking up the green beans, while I repeated "Beans go into the box...".



Lesson learnt - I have to put the small box into a bigger box (can see from the pictures below) to prevent the materials from falling out of the sensory box as K's hand control is still not very coordinated. 

I went slow with K, repeating this same activity over a span of 3 weeks. Scoops from the Premium Toolkit were added for scooping and pouring to develop the muscles in her little hands and fingers. I am glad that now, she does not mind touching the green beans and is even willing to sit on them. 

Contents from the Active Pack were added when I sensed more readiness to progress with the messy sensory play. 


Simply Lambchops and MyMessyBox
Aren't these figurines from the Active Pack cute?

Older kids can use these figurines to design and create a garden scene. You can talk about the activity with your child using suggested questions (e.g. What do you like best about your garden?) from the instruction sheet. I spotted Ch and L playing with the materials a couple of times too. 


Simply Lambchops and MyMessyBox
They enjoyed the tactile play too! Therapeutic! 

As for K, I worked on her vocabulary and speech by naming the figurine when she touched one. We sang songs about some of the figurines as she picked them up too. Heh heh, her physiotherapist will be pleased to know that I also managed to sneak in some physiotherapy! Got her to stand and squat to transfer the figurines from the table to the sensory box. 




Strengthening her leg muscles

Do supervise your child during any messy-sensory play as some of the items are rather small. You never know what might happen with an unsupervised child. 

I really love that these are pre-packaged for the busy parent and the box comes directly to your home every month. The messy-sensory play process is even sweeter when the hassle of sourcing for items and deciding the theme yourself is all done for you. With such interesting themes, it is also easy for you to supplement the messy-sensory play with stories related to the theme. Besides, your child can still reuse the messy-sensory box for more fun many months later.

I hope that by sharing my experiences about sensory play, you will be reminded of this important aspect of your child's development. Sensory play cannot be just an incidental occurrence during bath time or a trip to the beach. And I cannot stress any further how important sensory play is for one who has special needs. 


               Discount!               

MyMessyBox has kindly offered a 5% discount to all Simply Lambchops readers who subscribe to MyMessyBox! Just enter the code below when you check out your cart!
SLC5

You get to save more with the 6-months or 12-months subscription. 

No frets if you have more than one child. MyMessyBox offers a Sibling Add-on to your subscription with an additional $10 per month for another set of materials. 



You can also get a free reward chart if you sign up for the mailing list on their website. An email with the download link will be sent to you. 

More information can be found on MyMessyBox's website and Facebook page

*The January theme is Sea of Dreams! 
*Read Part 2 of the Messy Play! - MyMessyBox Sensory Play Review and a GIVEAWAY coming soon

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