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It has been a while since we’ve done a sensory bin (the last was a Mini Spring Sensory Bins). With Spring here I thought it was time to make a new one. The great thing about sensory bins is they are SO easy to put together. Honestly, the prep work is minimal. I didn’t plan anything in advance. As a matter of fact, all this was put together as a last minute activity! I’m so glad we did too, because my boys have been loving it!

The supplies are really just made up of whatever materials we have on hand. The beans and peas were recycled from our last sensory bin experience. If you don’t have beans, rice or shredded paper would even make good filler material! I threw in a few plastic spiders/bugs, our FANTASTIC scoop from Learning Resources (this set is one of my favorite products!!), and an ice tray. Everything was thrown together in our Mega Blocks building table. It’s shallow enough that you don’t need a TON of sensory filler, but deep enough to really dig in and play! If you don’t have this table, a rubbermaid box or even small shoe boxes will work (have you seen our mini sensory bins? They were quite a hit!)
Does the thought of the mess make you shy away from this? Try putting a table cloth underneath for easy clean up 🙂 And honestly, the mess isn’t something a broom or quick vacuum couldn’t take care of!
As we played we added a small cup, funnel, and a toilet paper tube to the bin. The tube was a fun idea because it made us think of the Itsy Bitsy Spider song! It was a great way to get our imaginations rolling. Soon my son was pretend playing with all the spiders and acting like they were members of our family! I just LOVED hearing him whisper funny tidbits and make pretend voices <3 
The great thing about sensory bins is that the play is open-ended. The benefits of this activity are far-reaching:
  • We had lots of pretend play (which is important for developing social skills and developing self-confidence).
  • The sensory experience of running the beans through our hands awakened the senses (he says it felt “coldy” when he did that!) 
  • He developed concentration as he played and interacted with the materials for an extended period of time. 
  • Mathematical awareness of concepts like 1-to-1 correspondence were reinforced as he placed each insect in an ice tray compartment.
  • Simple observational skills of the different types of insects in the bin promoted discussion about what we saw.
  • We worked fine motor skills through scooping and pouring the beans.

We had to put the bin away when it was time for lunch, but I’m honestly looking forward to taking it out again tomorrow and seeing how else we decide to explore and learn from the materials!

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