Around the World in 12 Dishes: French Polynesia: Tahitian Sensory Box

My daughter and I continued to explore French Polynesia with a fun little island sensory box.  A sensory box is basically a container filled with any kind of tactile material that allows kids explore with their hands.   With a sensory box children are using their sight, touch and smell to experience their environment in a totally new way.  It’s a great way for them to learn about colors, textures,different objects and environments while also developing their fine motor skills.

French Polynesia is an archipelago of about 130 islands in the South Pacific, so what better way to explore by making our own island!


  • Plastic bin/container (mine is a 28qt box)
  • Sand
  • Small plastic container
  • Ocean themed toys (fish, palm trees, seaweed, tropical fruit)
  • Other optional items: marbles, rocks, leaves, seashells
  • Water


I took a small plastic container and put the sand inside it, just so it would create the “feeling” of an island. I was afraid if I tried to build a mound inside the huge tub, it would have flattened out within minutes of my daughter playing with it.

I then used the toys we had offhand to decorate the island.

I also added some marbles, rocks, plastic fish, and some leaves.  And of course water!

My daughter had a great time playing with this sensory box!  She played with it for about 40 minutes straight.

A sensory box is such a great tool for open-ended imaginary play.

Towards the end, she decided she wanted to hop into the sensory box.  After she was done playing, we then put the lid on the box, so that she could enjoy playing with it again the next day.