Following the success of last summer’s Paperbag Sensory and Activity Packs project(s), Manchester City Council again reached out to us in January to look at delivering a new batch of the packs to children and young people with Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCP) in Manchester. With lockdown measures still in effect at the time and schools not being open to everyone, we thought that the sensory and activity packs would be beneficial to families during this time.
Discussing together with the Manchester Parent Champions, we brainstormed how to make the packs more suitable across all age ranges and abilities. Plenty of ideas for contents were shared and we eventually decided to include DIY kits for making bath bombs, sensory slime and popcorn cupcakes; colouring and activity books with a variety of colouring pencils; a squishy sensory ball; Chenopodium “strawberry sticks” seeds for planting in spring. We felt that these provide a good variety of items that ensures there’s something for our kids’ different abilities and preferences.
We received a few comments from some parents/carers who thought that the packs were not suitable to their children or young people. Some of them gave away the packs to siblings or neighbours, while some children shared unwanted items with their friends. This pay-it-forward mentality is a wonderful example of the strength and generosity of our SEND community. Amazing!
Unfortunately, we also received messages from some parents of children/ young people with EHCPs who did not receive any packs at all. Some schools have also reached out with questions about what the packs are for, or that they didn’t have enough packs for all those who have EHCPs in their setting. We have forwarded all these concerns with the council and this will be something for us to have a think about should there be an opportunity to run a similar project in the future.
An overwhelming majority of the feedback from families have been very positive, as reflected both through our survey and private/public messages that parents & carers shared.
Thank you so much for the winter sensory box. We received it today and M* was really happy. See picture attached!
She especially likes the slime and the seeds. We hope to plant them over the weekend.
She loved all the items. They were so thoughtfully put together.
I would just like to say a huge thank you for the pack that was delivered today. It was a lovely surprise for B* when he got home from school. Lots of things inside that really interested him and he was very humbled that someone thought about him enough to send it. Lockdown has been very difficult for us all especially B* coming out of his usual routine for so long. It was lovely to see him with a smile today.
B* donated the bath bomb making set to his best friend in his nurture class as we only have a wet room. He is just as excited about gifting this as he was to receive all his goodies. The squeeze ball hasn’t left his hand.
My son C* is 14 and loves anything sensory. It was great timing as he had a difficult day in school and came home to his pack which really made him happy.
He loved all the items, I wasn’t sure he would like the bath bombs but he can’t wait to make them. The cupcake kit, he was so pleased with and he has planned to make them next weekend and have a film night. Thank you again
L* would like to say a big thank you for his sensory pack, he really enjoyed making the slime and bath bombs.
I just wanted to say a big thank you for the activity pack which my son received at school recently. He and his sister were delighted with the contents of the pack and have been making good use of them.
My 11 year old daughter received a winter sensory activity pack this week and I just wanted to let you know that she was over the moon with it. She showed her grandparents on Zoom (she’s reluctant to talk to them on a video call normally)! I was pleased too as she is not keen generally to do activities with me, particularly if I initiate them (she tends to be avoidant and lacking in confidence) but we have actually done the slime making already and I think she will be more open to do the other activities than she is normally when I suggest it. She got straight into the colouring too!
Hi I’m really sorry that this is late but i just wanted to say thank you for the wonderful activity pack that was sent home, my daughter goes to North ridge High school and like many children around the country has been home schooling due to covid. My daughter has a condition that affects her speach and learning in many ways and it was lovely to see my daughter’s face light up as we opened the activity pack and seeing all of the lovely things inside! It has been very hard knowing My daughter can’t understand why she isn’t going to school and why she isn’t seeing the only friends that she has but the day we received the activity pack was a good day it was lovely seeing her face light up.
my daughter has arrived home from school with a pack … now my girl NEVER sits long enough to colour or engage .. today she has sat and coloured and put the crayons back in the packet . She has bitten through the squeeze ball which has ended up in the bin , and now wants to do slime making . Today we have engaged and I am HAPPY … but most of all my daughter is happy .. THANK YOU EVER SO MUCH xx
I cannot believe it! I constantly try and find things for my lot to do, but they just roll their eyes!! This gift bag turns up and they are all over it. It was lovely to see them sharing and I got to have a cuppa in peace for once. Thank you so much x
Want to thank the people that organized the sensory packs literally things like this make such a big difference in lockdown my son is so happy with his stuff
A big thank you to all who put these lovely sets together, a lot of thought and love has gone into these
We are completely thrilled. To be honest, I cried a bit because it has been so hard for us in lockdown and this kindness just set me off. The kids love the bags
Here are some beautiful photos that parents and carers very kindly shared with us:
Much thanks to Manchester City Council’s Local Offer team for funding the packs and for co-producing the whole project with parents and carers.
We would also like to thank these partners for their involvement: