When you’re a homeschool mom, you know the challenge of keeping toddlers busy and out of trouble while you help the older ones with school. A great solution for this is creating DIY Sensory Bins. Here are some benefits of sensory play and then some ideas to get you started.
Benefits of Sensory Bins
Toddlers and preschoolers are developing and building their fine motor skills. While you may think that a sensory bin is solely for keeping them busy while you homeschool, it’s actually educational for your littlest ones!
By using their fingers to pick up and manipulate small items in the sensory bin, they’re giving their fine motor skills a needed workout. Plus, it’s fun.
Letting your early learners play with a sensory bin is also great for their senses, of course. In this Fruit Loop Sensory Bin, it’s even safe for your toddlers to eat the ingredients.
You can’t go wrong with creating these bins. Children are naturally imaginative and will create lots of ways to interact and play with this mini playground for their senses.
When you are finished with the bin for the day, just put the lid on and save it for another time. You could even create multiple bins so that you can rotate through them for some variety.
Creating sensory bins is easier than you may think. First, start with a filler ingredient that is safe for kids to play with. This will give them a tactile ingredient to explore with their hands.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Kool-Aid dyed pasta
- Kool-Aid died rice
- Cloud Dough
- Purple and Lavender Scented Sensory Rice
- Dried Beans
- Dried Split Peas
- Fruit Loops or other cereal
Then, add in toys and items for your child to use to play with and manipulate the filler ingredient. So, you might want to include things like spoons, measuring cups, bowls, plastic tweezers, vehicles, animals, shovels, and pipe cleaners.
Many of the materials you need can be found inexpensively at your local dollar store. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and find items in the kitchen, bath, or craft aisles too.
Your bins should incorporate all the senses. But you also want to keep this inexpensive. So as you’re looking for ideas, consider:
- adding essential oil for some wonderful aroma
- reusing items from around the house
- checking the dollar store for items
- look at clearance aisles after holidays
- make a few bins and swap with a friend
Themed DIY Sensory Bins
If you’re feeling especially creative, you can create a themed sensory bin. You can base it off the current season, holiday, or your child’s current fascination. Here are some themed bins to replicate.
Spring Sensory Bin – This bin incorporates Kool-Aid died rice along with plastic eggs, a shovel, watering can (no water though), and silk flowers. Your toddlers can enjoy the smell of the colored rice along with the texture and sound it makes when transferred from item to item. Plastic eggs filled with rice are like mini maracas!
Apple Theme Sensory Bin – This bin would be great for the fall as your kids “rake” the dried split peas and play with apples and buckets.
Cloud Dough – It can be expensive to purchase cloud dough. But this DIY version only takes a box of baking soda, a packet of Kool-Aid mix, and a little bit of water.
Dinosaur Dig Sensory Bin – Most kids have a dinosaur fascination at some point in their lives! This bin uses dry beans and glass beads for a fun dinosaur dig.
Ocean Sensory Tray – On those hot days when you want to get the kids outside, try this ocean-themed tray with colored water.
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