West Bloomfield resident Zena Samona-Ibrahim was raised in metro Detroit and attended the University of Michigan-Dearborn where she received both a Bachelor’s degree in secondary education and psychology, as well as a Master’s degree in education. After working as a middle school science teacher for 15 years at nearby Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic School, she became a stay-at-home mom.
“But I knew I always wanted to continue doing something in education even if I was not going to work inside the classroom,” Samona-Ibrahim said.
Until she figured out what she could do, she began teaching her young children (now 5, 3 and 2) and finding fun ways to incorporate learning into their day-to-day lives. In October of 2019, she decided to share with others the educational activities and lessons she was making for her own kids via an Instagram blog: @edukidsmom.
One post that yielded many likes and comments was her dinosaur-themed sensory kit. A sensory kit is a bag, box, crate or container that holds a variety of sensory tools, which can be used to both calm and stimulate a child’s sensory system.
“Some of my followers started asking me if I could make and sell them,” explained Samona-Ibrahim. “I then started making different sensory kit themes, and they became very popular.”
As an Usborne Books and More Team Leader, it was only natural that she began pairing her sensory kits with books, and now most of her kits revolve around a book theme.
“I think it is important for young children to learn through play, and reading should be fun and relatable,” she said. “It also gives children an opportunity to use their imagination!”
DIY Dinosaur-Themed Sensory Kit
Plastic kit container
Play-Doh or kinetic sand
Dinosaur cookie cutters
Mini rolling pin
Rocks, mini eggs, vase filler, mini wood logs, tree figurines, etc.
Step One: Make or buy Play-Doh or kinetic sand.
Step Two: Add some dinosaur cookie cutters and a mini rolling pin.
Step Three: Throw in some mini dinosaurs.
Step Four: Sprinkle in some loose parts: rocks, mini eggs, vase filler, mini wood logs, tree figurines, etc.
Step Five: Get a tray for messy play and all the loose parts.