Sensory Box: Ancient Egypt

I’m so pleased with the little sensory box I’ve put together for my middle boys! I went with an ancient Egypt theme. The “Nile” is just a strip of felt, and I made two little mummies– one from a wooden egg, and the other is a little peg person wrapped in white silk.

There’s also a crocodile that is probably actually an alligator that Daniel wanted to add as well as a felt pyramid I made based on the pattern here. The base filler is sand (of course!). We also made a little pharaoh.

This week we added two more things to the box. First, the contents of an Ancient Egypt Toob we bought on Amazon. And second, I buried a King Tut one pound coin in the sand.

I’d love to add a scarab beetle or two if I have time to make or buy one.

Pink and Green Mama did a great post just today on Sensory Bins, so I will just link to that. But I would like to share one struggle I have. Often online you see people using food as a filler for the sensory bin– often rice or oats or beans. I personally do not feel comfortable doing this. For one thing, when I was in early childhood I really tried not to use food in art and play. I felt like it was confusing to the children. We request that they not play with their food, and then give them food to play with. We ask that they keep their toys out of their mouths, and then we give them food and call it a toy.

Beyond that, I will never forget a NAEYC conference I went to where the venerable Ella Jenkins spoke. She spoke about many things, but one of the things I remember most was her entreating us not to waste food in art and play. With so many children out there, including those in our early childhood programs, going hungry, it seems wasteful and wrong to be playing with food.

More recently, I read in the Duggar’s book about how Jim Bob Duggar’s family growing up was down to their last bit of money and had nothing to eat. His mother made a meal of a jar of decorative layered rice! Again, when that kind of hunger exists, I feel like it would be a poor use of our family’s resources to use for play what could make a meal.

But I understand the reasons others choose otherwise. I get the concerns about little ones putting things in their mouths, and I understand the expense side of it as well. It certainly would be cheaper to use rice or lentils! But then I think of the yummy lentil tacos we had for dinner and I just can’t justify putting that bag of lentils we ate into a box for play.

I would be interested in hearing your thoughts on the matter. Do you think I’m being overly scrupulous? Or do you agree? And what sort of things do you use as filler instead?