Make some of these sensory bins for your kids to explore and give yourself a well-deserved break while they play independently.
If you are wondering why you would ever want to give your child such a messy invitation to play, read how beneficial sensory bins are to a child’s development here. Check back for more ideas as this page is updated regularly.
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Holiday Sensory Bins
For this simple bin, I used a plastic serving platter from the dollar store as a container. I colored rice green, pink and purple. Then I added in a bag of pink, purple and mint green pompoms and a bag of sparkly mini pompoms from the Valentine’s day section of the dollar store.
St. Patrick’s Day
This bin is all from the dollar store and only cost $5 to make. Your kids will definitely play with it longer than they do an expensive store-bought toy! This bin is a plastic dishpan; colored rice, green glass gems and tiny green rocks from the floral section. Finally, toss in a few glitter foam shamrocks from the St. Patrick’s day selection at the dollar store.
Easter bunnies and chicks
My preschool kids loved hiding bunnies, chicks and rice in the eggs. This sensory bin has blue, purple, green and pink colored rice along with small plastic bunnies, flowers, and Easter eggs, all of which I bought at the dollar store. The chicks came from Hobby Lobby and are similar to these.
Bunnies hiding in Easter Grass
This is a super simple sensory bin! All items are from the dollar store, so it’s super inexpensive, too! A multi-colored bag of paper Easter “grass”, a package of plastic bunnies, and Styrofoam glitter eggs combined in a plastic tub. Pastel colored paper run through a shredder would work in place of the Easter basket grass.
Red rice and green dyed pasta are the base of this Christmas sensory bin. Next, add in some Christmas shaped pencil top erasers, drum ornaments, pompoms, mini bows, and plastic ball ornaments to complete this bin. You can purchase all of the items for this bin at the dollar store.
Seasonal Sensory Bins
Cut up a few sheets of yellow and orange tissue paper into strips, about 1 by 2 inches for the base of this fall sensory bin. Add in some real leaves or grab fabric or felt leaves at the dollar store along with Styrofoam acorns and gourds. This is a great bin to add some scent to either with cinnamon essential oil or my son’s favorite, sunshine spice oil blend. To make it smell like pumpkin spice add a teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon from your spice cabinet into the bin and stir. If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice, just use equal amounts of cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. You can also put a couple of drops of vanilla extract onto the leaves and tissue paper. Every time your kids play with the bin, it will make your house smell like fall!
Unit Study Sensory Bins
Any color of rice or beans would work for this simple bug sensory bin. Add in some bug counters, or more realistic ones like these, or small plastic bugs from the toy section of the dollar store. The dollar store often has bug catching tools in the summer that would be a fun addition to this bin.
This outer space sensory bin starts with glow in the dark aquarium gravel in an aluminum foil roasting pan. (I used a
Astronauts on the moon
I re-used the glow in the dark aquarium gravel from the outer space sensory bin. But if you don’t want to purchase the aquarium gravel, black beans would work just as well. If your kids aren’t allergic to gluten, plain flour would be a fun substitution for the surface of the moon. We used the “Out of this World” TOOB toys, although you could use whatever astronaut/space shuttle toys you already have.
I made this dinosaur sensory bin as a small world for imaginative play. I used boot tray (from Amazon or a local hardware store) as the base because I wanted a larger play area than I usually have for my sensory bins. I added in small pea gravel as the main sensory element. I cut out a river and pond from blue craft foam and placed a few blue gems on top. You can find the gems at the dollar store in the floral section. I also put in a few strands of fake grass (also from the floral section of the dollar store), but you could easily just use real grass. Some green leaves and toy dinosaurs along with the toy tree and rocks that came with some of the dinosaurs complete it.