Sensory Bins for Toddlers and Preschoolers

In my quest to feel like I’m a good mama (seriously) I’ve been trying to do more hands-on activities with my kiddos. I’m a working mama, so our evenings are packed pretty tight with dinner, bath, and our bedtime routine with not much time for play. However, with a couple of snow days under our belts, weekends, and a week-long winter break looming, some fun and different activities aside from our usual toys have been needed.

I know sensory bins are nothing new, but they are very new to us. My boys, ages four and two, have been LOVING them and it makes me wish I had done them more with my oldest son when he was younger. I bought a large plastic tub with a lid at good ol’ Target for about $5 and have been putting it inside our baby pool in the living room so clean up is quick and easy. Here are some fun things we’ve done lately:

1. Valentine’s DayAs I wrote about here, I bought a bunch of goodies from the Dollar Store and filled the bin with pink, white and red materials that the kids could scoop, pour and explore. You can create a sensory bin to go with almost any holiday.

2. Snow – On a snow day this week, I filled the bin with snow from outside, some cups and spoons. You’d think the kids would want to be more creative, but they pretty much just ended up eating the snow.

3. Rice and Beans – This is an old favorite! The kiddie pool has been a life saver so we’re not vacuuming up rice for days. A 10-lb bag of rice was about $8 from the store. I threw some dried beans in for a color pop, some old snakes and spider rings from Halloween and some other random trinkets that have been misplaced from their original toys that they can “find” in the rice. Some shovels and plastic cups round it out and make the rice fun to pour.

4. Kinetic Sand – This was new for us and a lot of fun. I only had one box, but will definitely go out to get more because it wasn’t really a lot when poured in the bin. This sand is a cool texture where it stays “clumpy” for lack of a better word and doesn’t dry out. I got some summer sand toys from the basement and the kids had fun building and mushing it between their fingers.

5. Water Beads – Another mama friend introduced us to these and, wow – what fun! I got a bag from Amazon, but you can also find them at some Dollar Stores or Michael’s in the floral section. They are the tiniest beads you’ve ever seen and you put them in a big bowl of water overnight and – voila! They blow up to these marble-sized, squishy, and soft beads that the kids LOVED pouring, smashing, and dropping in the bin. *Make sure to supervise children while using water beads because they could be harmful if ingested.

Do you do sensory activities with your child(ren)? If so, what’s in their sensory bin?

One Response to Sensory Bins for Toddlers and Preschoolers

  1. These look like so much fun! And great idea keeping the bin inside a kiddie pool to help keep messes contained.

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