Sensory bins make great activities for home and the classroom. Not only are they entertaining for the kids, who love exploring with the different textures and sensations, but they can be used to build numerous other skills. You can create sensory bins from many different materials. Here are a few ideas:
Noodle Bin (wet or dry)
Ideas for your sensory bins
Pouring: Place various different cups and containers into the bin for your little one to practice pouring into. This is great for bilateral skills as well as coordination and visual motor skills. It is also good for developing hand and upper body strength, especially when using larger containers and heavier materials.
Scooping: This is great for practicing using a spoon and for tool use in general.
Tongs: Use tongs to pick treasures from your sensory box
Sort: Place objects of various shape, size, and color and have your little one sort the objects they find. You can also have your child sort the objects by texture.
Clothespins: Place smaller items in your sensory bin and have your child pick them out using a clothespin to strengthen fine motor skills.
Hidden Treasure: Hide various treasures in the sensory bin for your little one to find. Challenge him to dig inside the bin and find the treasures with his hands instead of his eyes in order to build tactile discrimination skills. You can also hide objects that are the same color as the materials in the sensory bin to challenge tactile and visual discrimination skills, such as hiding white bouncy balls, q-tips, and white buttons into a cotton ball bin. You can incorporate counting by hiding 10 of a certain object, along with various other objects, and see who can find all ten!
Feel and Find: For older kids, you can also hide wooden or plastic shapes and letters inside your bins. Challenge your child to dig and identify which letter or shape they are holding before pulling it out of the bin. You can also give them a certain letter or shape to find and have them use their sense of touch to feel around in the box and find the right one. One more idea is to place several of the same shapes and one different shape in your box and have your child find which one is different based on feeling alone!
Building and Games: You can hide game pieces, such as Candyland cards, inside your sensory bin so that your little one must find a piece before each turn. You can also use the bins during building games by hiding legos or building block pieces inside. Foster creativity and imagination by having your child place the piece onto their work of art before finding another piece. They can figure out what they are making as they go along!
One more idea. This is one of my favorite sensory bins, water pearls and packing peanuts:
This is a great wet/dry texture combination. It is also great for fostering fine motor manipulation skills and creativity. When the packing peanuts get wet, they begin to soften and stick together very easily. They also become very sticky and are great for tactile play. Have your little one pick out the peanuts one by one and put them together to see what they can make!
Have fun and share your ideas, I’d love to hear them!