You know how your kids are getting more and more hyped up as the day progresses because it’s too yucky to go outside? It’s because they are craving some sensory input! You need some easy sensory activities for cold, winter days!
We’ve had more snow this year than the past several years, so that’s been fun for the kids. But we’ve also had many days of freezing fog and freezing rain, where we can’t get outside to play. So by the late afternoon, my kids are becoming more and more hyped up and seriously need an outlet!
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That’s why sensory bins are so great!! They provide the sensory input that your kids need and crave on days you can’t go outside.
So, to show you guys some easy and inexpensive winter-themed sensory bin ideas, I created a Snow Day Sensory Bin video! It shows how to make fake snow (guys! it only takes 2 ingredients!!) plus 3 other types of snow sensory bins. I’ve also included clips of my kids playing with the snow sensory bins in ways that promote their speech and language development.
Fake Snow Sensory Bin
Create some fake snow to promote tons of fine motor hand strengthening. It’s super easy! Stir together 1 cup of hair conditioner (I bought some from the dollar store to use for this project) with 5 1/2 to 6 cups of baking soda. (FYI, you can get big bags of baking soda at large box stores like Costco and Sam’s Club).
Yep, that’s it! My kids played with this fake snow sensory bin for over an hour and have asked to play with it every day since! This fake snow has the same texture as excellent packing snow!
One of my daughters has a really difficult time with tasks that require some hand strength, so I gave her a cookie scooper that she could use to make snowballs and snowmen with the fake snow. You could also use an ice cream scooper.
Frozen Glittery Snowball Bin
The main filler of this snow sensory bin is a snowball vase filler that I bought at a dollar store. They are mini styrofoam balls with big flakes of glitter on them. The snowflake table scatter are large, clear acrylic shaped snowflakes from a hobby and craft store. Look for table scatter in the seasonal or wedding sections of the store. My younger girls have Frozen characters that they wanted to play with. I also added in some tongs from the dollar store along with a couple measuring cups.
Snowmen at Night Sensory Bin
This snow sensory bin goes perfectly with our Primary Snowmen At Night Language Intensive Unit Study!
This bin has the same base fillers as the frozen glitter snow bin. However, I removed the dolls and added snowmen as well as battery-operated tea lights. In the book, Snowmen at Night by Caralyn and Mark Buehler, the scenes are lit with warmly glowing street lights, which the tea lights represent.
Arctic Animals in Snow Sensory Bin
This snow sensory bin starts with a giant bag of (400) cotton balls in a large plastic tub. I tossed in some foam cut-out snowflakes, a few diamond-shaped table scatter (from a hobby store) to represent ice, and some blue glass gems (from the dollar store) as water. For the arctic animals, I used the Safari Ltd. Arctic TOOB for the North Pole Animals and the Safari Ltd. Antarctica TOOB for the South Pole Animals.
Powdered Snow Sensory Bin
Use a small but deep tub for this bin, like a shoebox bin. Add in a bag of powdered snow. It’s very small pieces of lightweight non-toxic plastic. I also added some leftover iridescent snowflakes (Buffalo Snow brand) from last winter’s sensory bin. (I save my sensory bin items to reuse in different ways. It saves money and “feels” new to the kids because it’s presented in a differently.) I gave my kids a funnel, some small containers and a can strainer to make it “snow”.
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