20 + Sensory Bin Fillers ideas – organized by age!

It can be overwhelming looking for sensory bin fillers. I’ve put together a big list of sensory bin fillers for you, by age!

White bin filled with fake green, yellow, orange and red leaves, 2 small cars and a child's hand. Text overlay: 20+ sensory bin filler ideas by age.

To get a quick review (or learning session if you don’t already know) on sensory play and the what and why, check out my main sensory play post here.

Now that you know all about sensory play (ha!), let’s dive right into the best part of it all – getting creative and choosing a filler item, or base. Before you get into it, I have to remind you to BE SMART. Don’t give a baby a bucket of marbles. Be very mindful of choking and don’t leave kiddos unattended. One of my favorite tips for babies is take your sensory bin items and put them into a double bagged ziploc bag and tape off to seal. Or you can put it into a water bottle and hot glue it shut.

Want 50 sensory bin ideas? 50 sensory bin ideas right at your fingertips! Stop mindlessly scrolling Pinterest for sensory bin ideas and take action!

Admittedly, I didn’t do a lot of activities at home with my second child when she was a baby. My first was in preschool starting at 7 weeks old so they did lots of stuff with him. Sensory play is one of the easiest things to do with babies. They learn how to make movements on their own which translates to so many other skills to help enforce then even more skills.

What do you fill a sensory bin with?

Sensory bins can be filled with a lot of different items, but it’s important to take your kiddos’ age into consideration. For example, if your child still puts things in her mouth, consider larger items (Duplo blocks, Mega blocks, large cars, etc) or edible items (crushed up cereal, oatmeal, yogurt, etc).

What age are sensory bins good for?

Typically, I say to start bins after age 1. Before age 1, I encourage sensory bottles or sensory bags because of choking hazards. But always, always keep an eye on your child when giving them toys and/or sensory bins.

What are sensory bins good for?

Sensory bins have so many benefits! Children learn through play, not “drill and kill” activities like flash cards and workbooks. Sensory play allows them to be very open about their play and where it’s going.

You also can finish a cup of hot coffee nearby, start dinner, or have a conversation with your spouse while your kids are busy with sensory play!

10+ sensory play benefits by age

Arial view of a sensory bin with cotton balls, plastic penguins, laminated penguins, blue child sized tongs and a gray child sized serving spoon.

How big should a sensory bin be?

This is another area in which you can be creative. I’ve seen people use giant 32+ gallon tubs and I’ve seen people use small, shoebox size boxes. The giant tubs are great for your movers and shakers – the kids who love to be involved in large motor play.

Arial view of a clear shoe box sized bin with blue water, ice cubes, blue and white foam snowflakes, white pieces of foam, plastic penguins and gray child sized tongs.

For infants and toddlers, I recommend keeping them in a sealed container – so a gallon sized bag that is taped shut or a sensory bottle. You can also use a balloon and make sensory balloons.

Sensory Bin Fillers

  • Ages 0-1
    • Shredded paper
    • Water
    • Feathers
    • Cut up sponges
    • Cotton balls
    • Baby cereal
  • Ages 1-2
    • Dry pasta
    • Dry beans (these are NOT consumable!)
    • Uncooked rice
    • Large pebbles/rocks
    • Pom poms
    • Cooked spaghetti noodles
    • Fake leaves
    • Oatmeal
    • Cut up plastic straws
    • Sand
    • Fake flowers
  • Ages 2-3
    • Fish tank pebbles
    • Shaving cream
    • Dry cereal
    • Foam cubes
    • Soapy water
    • Tissue paper
    • Plastic grass
  • Ages 3-4
  • Ages 4 and up
    • Glass floral gems
    • Water beads
    • Marbles
    • Bird seed
    • Jelly beans

Grab your list of sensory bin fillers right here!

Have you worked with any of these? Head over to Instagram and tag me in your story or feed! @mostlyundercontrol

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2 thoughts on “20 + Sensory Bin Fillers ideas – organized by age!

  1. Hello; I really enjoy your webpage. I find many of the activities are very simple and easy to do. My name is Sandra Kelly and I teach pre k age 3 to five children on the Autism Spectrum. I have to be careful with small items during sensory many of them like to put the stuff in their mouths. Thanks for all your hints and ideas


    1. Hi Sandra! I’m so glad you’re enjoying it! PreK is such an important job!

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