We are big fans of sensory bins at our house and I thought these spring sensory bins were so fun!
Why We Love Sensory Bins
- When my oldest son was one year old, he refused to eat any solid foods due to reflux and sensory sensitivity and had to go to feeding therapy. He hated to touch any food that was sticky, wet, or messy in any way. Even once we were able to get him to eat, he still did not like his hands to get dirty when he played. When I started doing sensory play with him, about a year ago, our first experience was with foamy bubbles. He put his hand in once and refused to touch it again. Slowly, as I have introduced more and more sensory play to him, he has become more and more comfortable. Just last week we played with shaving cream and he had it all over his hands and up his arm and was happy as ever, driving his monster trucks all in it. I was one proud momma
- Sensory play and bins are great ways to increase fine motor skills, gross motor skills, problem solving, and cognitive development and so much more.
- I selfishly love them because it keeps my boys entertained and playing independently for long periods of time. They can also be so quick and simple to set up! There are many days when I simply fill a bin with beans and throw some trucks in and my son can keep himself entertained for a very long time.
Here are two examples of spring sensory bins:
Garden Sensory Play
This sensory bin took about five minutes to set up. The majority of the supplies came from the Dollar Tree.
I let my oldest play with real gardening tools for this but if you do not feel like this would be appropriate for your child, you can use play gardening tools, or things from the kitchen such as spoons or measuring cups.
You can see in the pictures that I removed my nice bowl and put down our play tray. I quickly realized that the garden tools would scratch the bowl. The tray we use is the Fun2Play Tray from Amazon. I highly recommend this tray! We use ours multiple times a week for any play that can get messy such as painting, sensory play, playdough, oobleck, and so much more.
What You Will Need:
Beans, gardening tools, mini flower pots, bowl/tray, play carrots
Simply throw all of the supplies together and play! It’s as simple as that!
This sensory bin took a bit more prep time than the garden one, but both of my boys loved playing with it!
How To Color Rice
There are two ways to color rice:
- Using Food Coloring: mix 1 cup of rice, ½ tablespoon vinegar, and a few drops of food coloring in a large food storage bag. Mix together by closing the bag and squishing/shaking it all around. Open the bag and let it dry (can also pour it out onto a baking sheet to let it dry).
- I like this method because it is taste safe but the downside is that the vinegar has a strong smell.
- Using Paint: Simply add rice and a few drops of paint to a large food storage bag. Close the bag and squish and shake until the rice is covered with paint. Open the bag and let it dry (can also pour it out onto a baking sheet to let it dry)
How I Made This Spring Sensory Bin:
First, I colored the rice using the techniques listed above.
Next, I paint an egg carton green. After painting the egg carton green, I used an exacto knife to cut small slits into the top.
Thirdly, I drew, cutout, and painted carrots.
Next, I wrote numbers on both the egg carton and the carrots.
Then, I drew, cutout, and painted little bunnies for extra decorations. My one year old actually ended up using these bunnies as scoops.
Lastly, I placed all of the materials into a cardboard box. I taped the flaps down on the bottom of the box so that the rice would not fall out.
With this activity, my three year old enjoyed matching and identifying the numbers. My one year old enjoyed using the bunnies as scoops and scooping the rice. I had my one year old sit on my lap so I could watch him closely so he would not eat the rice.
What You Will Need:
Rice, paint, cardboard, egg carton, scissors, cardboard box, exacto knife
- Color the rice (Instructions found above)
- Prepare cardboard box by taping the bottom flaps down (this will prevent the rice from falling through)
- Paint egg carton
- Use exacto knife to cut small slits on the top of the egg carton
- Write numbers on the egg carton
- Draw, paint, and cutout cardboard carrots
- Draw, paint, and cutout bunnies
- Add everything to the cardboard box and enjoy playing with your new spring sensory bins
Inspired by: Taming Little Monsters