Stop Wasting Time and Start a Sensory Bin!

Have you ever noticed that children just love to get messy? If there’s anything they can get their hands on then they will grab it. My husband and I joke that our two year old looks like a mad scientist at the dinner table. She just loves to play around with her food. Sometimes I wonder if she is actually eating any of it! Don’t worry, we are trying to teach her table manners. We are doing that by teaching her that there’s a time and place to play and dinner time is not one of those times. However, there are a few places that she is allowed to get creative and messy. One of those is the sensory table. If you have a young child, even as young at six months old, then you need to get a sensory table right away because it is a big hit in our house!

Sensory bins don’t have to be costly. If you search pinterest you will find extravagant sensory bins. But don’t let that intimidate you. When I first started making bins I made them simple with things that I had around the house. But after I started doing more research I would see some really fancy bins and I would get discouraged that mine never look like that. With four children I don’t have time to make things fancy for children when they are just going to make a mess. I am happy to say that my children all have so much fun with what I present to them. They have never complained. I have always made it a point to keep things budget friendly because spending more money does not mean my children will be smarter. So remember that learning can be budget friendly while not taking up lots of planning time.

In this post, I will explain:

– What are sensory bins?
– How do I set up a sensory bin?
– What are some things I can put in a sensory bin?

What are Sensory Bins?

Sensory bins are large containers filled with materials or objects that engage the senses. Stimulating the senses helps children develop thinking, language and problem solving. It can also strengthen fine motor skills and encourage the use of imagination. Children learn by exploring the world through their senses by smelling, tasting, touching, seeing, and hearing. Even as babies you see them putting everything in their mouth because that is how they are exploring. Sensory play is beneficial to children because by using their senses to complete a task, they will learn from the experience and thus retain this new information.

Sensory Bins help with:

  • Fine motor skills
  • Gross motor skills
  • Sensory skills
  • Language
  • Problem Solving
  • Critical thinking,

How Do I Set Up a Sensory Bin?

Step 1: 

Get a container. There are sensory tables that you can purchase online. But if you want to save money you can simply get a large storage container such as an under the bed bin or small pool. The first bin I ever used was just a bin I had lying around. I then upgraded to a large storage container from Walmart and it worked really well.

Step 2: 

Get a container. There are sensory tables that you can purchase online. But if you want to save money you can simply get a large storage container such as an under the bed bin or small pool. The first bin I ever used was just a bin I had lying around. I then upgraded to a large storage container from Walmart and it worked really well.

Step 3:

Add tools so that your child can experiment and explore. Look below for some examples of tools. Sometimes if you have a theme you can add toys to the bin to make it more exciting such as cars, dinosaurs, magnets, ocean animals, farm animals, etc. These are my absolute favorite sensory bin tools to add to the bin. I recommend purchasing some. You can get them from Amazon.

What are some things I can put in a sensory bin?

Fillers:

  • Rice
  • Beans
  • Cornstarch and water
  • Cloud dough
  • Pinecones
  • Flowers
  • Acorns
  • Leaves
  • Ice
  • Stones
  • Shaving Cream
  • Baking soda and vinegar
  • Pom poms
  • Ribbons
  • Shredded Paper

Tools:

  • Tweezers
  • Cups
  • Spoons
  • Eyedroppers
  • Handy Scoopers
  • Measuring Cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Funnel

Themes:

  • Ocean- Water, ocean animal figures, sea shells, eye droppers, cups
  • Gardens- dirts, fake or real flowers, seads, shovel, spoons
  • Autumn Leaves- leaves, scissors, plastic yarn needle and yarn, hole punch
  • Spring- flowers, fake butterflies, fake insects, green colored rice
  • Volcanoes- dinosaurs hidden under baking soda, food coloring, vinegar, eyedroppers
  • Winter- Animal figures frozen in ice, warm water, eye droppers, wooden mallet, spoon

Tips:

  • Put a blanket under the bin or table for easy cleanup.
  • If your child still puts everything in their mouth then make sure you supervise them closely.
  • If your child is not used to playing with a sensory bin then you should sit with them to model how they can explore with it.

You can get creative with your sensory bins. Follow your child’s interest and make bins that you know will capture your child’s attention.

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