Do you ever find yourself asking the question “what is a sensory bin?” I’m sure you see them all over Pinterest and Google but you really have no idea what they are and why people use them. Well here is a post for you – I’m going to break it all down for you and even show you how simple it is to make sensory bins home.Continue reading
It’s almost fall time! When I taught, I liked to add items to sensory bins that went along with the season. I put together a list for you of fall sensory bins and what you can add into them. Leave me a comment if I left some out!Continue reading
As a past teacher and now a mom, I understand the importance of sensory play. Some kiddos learn best by being hands on, and incorporating sensory play is a great way to allow them to do just that – learn hands on. If you’re wondering about the importance of sensory play, read on and learn!
Sensory bins are our go-to in our house. They’re so easy and they keep your kids so busy! Bonus – they can also be very inexpensive.
Sensory bins are life.
The Dollar Tree is also life. That is always my go-to when I need stuff (that they sell). My friends usually come to me first when they wonder if The Dollar Tree sells something in particular. What can I say? I’m cheap and everyone knows it.
I did a post a while back with sensory bins. I went through the aisles of The Dollar Tree and grabbed anything I could find that I thought would be good in a sensory bin. Thus, my first sensory bin post was born. And I can’t look back on it anymore because it makes me so sad to see D’s chubby little toddler hands! WAHHHH!
I also did some sensory bottles for the babe when she was tiny. We actually still use them!
You can also find the bins from The Dollar Tree – this is what I use
I had on my list to make a big giant list of all things sensory (and you can download the printable list at the end) so people can keep it on them and take it out when you need to. It’s a whole list of sensory bin ideas. You can take anything from column A (fillers) and add it to anything in column B (tools/toys). And they are all available at The Dollar Tree! (disclaimer, they are all available at MY Dollar Tree in Villa Park, Illinois) 😉
Here we go!
*Cut up drinking straws
*Clean mud (shredded bar soap, torn up
toilet paper and water)
*Shaving cream (will need new each time)
*Salt (table, sea or
*Battery powered Christmas lights (seasonal)
*Fake leaves (seasonal)
*Easter grass (seasonal)
*Marbles (NOT FOR LITTLES!)
*Pony beads (NOT FOR LITTLES!)
*ABC beads (NOT FOR LITTLES!)
Column B (tools/toys)
*Silicone pasty brush
*Fork/knife/spoon (play versions)
*Party favor cups
*Easter eggs (seasonal)
*Small ceramic pots (seasonal)
*Gardening tools (seasonal)
*Sand toys (seasonal)
*Gardening tools (seasonal)
*Small plastic storage containers
*Water balloons (seasonal)
If you’re ready for more education at home activities, you can find them here.
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I had way too much fun creating all of that! Use your noggin when it comes to things that are age appropriate, alright? alright. Have fun!
Check out all of my sensory and activity posts here.
D needs sensory stuff and sensory bins. And since we are inside, waiting for baby to arrive, I knew he needed a sensory bin day.
I could not WAIT to get to Dollar Tree and try all of these sensory bins. I went armed with a list – HA! That was funny that I actually thought I would follow a list. The list also was for under $20. Again – HA! Mine was $40, BUT I bought some stuff that wasn’t for my sensory bins and since everything was $1, it was easy for me to take it out of my total and get a new total. Here is how I started:
Sensory Bins Shopping List
- 6 bins (I know I said that this would make 6+ – sit tight, we’ll get to that)
- 2 bags of cotton balls (I ended up using only 1)
- 2 bags of dry beans (again, I ended up using only 1)
- 1 bag of pasta (I bought Ziti)
- 1 bag of creepy crawlies
- 1 bag of lizards / frogs (obviously these and the previous ones can be switched out with anything – this is just what D likes)
- 2 sets of 3 rubber ducks
- 1 set of play kitchen tools
- 1 set of tongs (D calls these “pinchers”…he loves to play with ours at home)
- 1 box of baking soda
- 1 bag of decorative rocks
- 1 bag of decorative sand
- 1 bag of decorative pebbles
- 1 set of coffee scoops
- 1 set of 3 toothbrushes
- 1 container of oatmeal
- 1 bottle of vinegar
- 1 set of funnels
- 2 cans of shaving cream
- 1 foam alphabet set
Again, you can pick other stuff. If you have a girl and want fake jewelry, whatever. Use your imagination! 🙂
Here is a breakdown of my sensory bin items:
The shaving cream is part of the “+” of my bins. I will get into that also 🙂
Here are the items that will be in the bins:
And then here are the tools that he’ll use (he LOVES tools):
So first I am going to show you the 6 bins that I made, then I will give you ideas for the “+” bins. I will have to run to the Dollar Tree again and pick up 1 or 2 more bins that will act as “messy bins.” The bins that need to be switched out and can’t hold certain stuff (ie, clean mud, shaving cream, water, etc).
The first one I tackled was rocks and sand. I was super excited about this one because of the pretty colors I picked out. 🙂
I let D pick out which toy he wanted to put in this one and he chose the creepy crawlies.
In true boy, sensory seeking fashion, he could not WAIT to get his hands in there. His imagination went wild with this one. They were all on a mission together to save the good guys and fight the bad guys! Kids can learn colors, numbers, get their sensory output fix for the day, whatever.
Next one was the rocks and D actually had the idea of what to add to the rocks. I have to admit, those construction vehicles were not purchased at the Dollar Tree. But how could I say no, when it was his idea to toss them in after seeing the rocks? I just couldn’t.
Next, we loaded up the bin with dry oatmeal. You could very well use wet oatmeal, but don’t reuse it. You would have to toss it out after you played with it but I bet it would be very fun.
I was going to write numbers under the creatures bellies but there just wasn’t enough time with this guy digging in.
Next up was beans! I don’t know why, but beans are my favorite sensory item. Maybe it’s because it was one of the first that I used when I was a developmental therapist? They are heavy but not too heavy and they’re cold. I even like playing in the bean bin! We added the toy kitchen utensils and a scoop in this one. D loves the kitchen utensils so he enjoyed this bucket.
Next was cotton balls and rubber duckies. I wrote numbers on the bottom of the rubber ducks because we’ve been having some problems with a few numbers. He wasn’t too thrilled with this one, (probably because it makes the least amount of mess) but he’ll come around 🙂
Finally, we did dry pasta and a mini foam board I found that he could put the letters into. I love this one! We are trying to learn the difference between numbers and letters and this one is awesome because it has letters and numbers.
As for my “extras….”
*Baking soda and vinegar is just awesome together. I’ve never shown D before but I will. It’s a really cool reaction, so this will be in my “messy bin” (the bin that needs to be cleaned out after every use!)
*Shaving cream is also awesome and will be a part of the messy bin.
*The toothbrushes will be in a soapy water messy bin with his cars so he can wash them.
*The funnels can really go into any bin. D found a home for them in the oatmeal bin!
Other things we will do in the messy bin:
*Clean mud (shaved bar soap and torn up toilet paper mixed with water)
*Baking soda and water (3:1)
*Play dough (homemade or otherwise)
*Water beads (these are found at most craft stores and some dollar stores)
*Cooked spaghetti noodles
If you are looking for a printable shopping list of over 50 sensory bins and fillers, grab your free copy here by signing up for my mailing list. I promise I won’t overflow your inbox 😉
I also share lots of easy, educational activities in live videos on my Facebook page, so head over and give it a “like” and make sure you turn notifications on!
The opportunities for sensory play are ENDLESS! You can also add any small plastic toys really to these sensory bins. I could go on for hours on sensory activities.
Please feel free to ask questions about sensory bins and activities. It was my FAVORITE part of teaching.
Check out all of my sensory and activity posts here.