DIY Sensory Bin

L&L have had a sensory bin for awhile now, but I’ve never posted about it.  Due to an increase in their level of pretend play and them asking to play with the bin a lot more often, I’ve recently made them two additional bins.  I thought I’d start sharing our photos of what’s in them in case anyone else is interested.  They really are a lot of fun and great for the imagination!

Let’s start with our original bin from last summer.  These pics were taken in May 2011, so Luke was 3 years, 3 months and Lilah was 21 months.  

This bin measures roughly 12″ x 18″ and is roughly 12″ deep.  I filled it with rice from Walmart.  You can see there’s at least an inch or two of rice in the bottom so that things can be buried and found.

Underneath the bin, I have an oilcloth mat (like you would use under a high chair or easel where you’ll be painting).  It does NOT work that well for containing spills.  I’ve found that a fleece blanket or a towel is MUCH better because those materials “grab” stray pieces much better.  You can gather the material up at the end and dump any stray pieces back into the bin or shake it outside to avoid having to vacuum or sweep when play is done.

This was our very first bin and it didn’t really have a theme per say, but it was mostly plastic and wooden animals and a few people.  I also had at least one scoop in there: a metal measuring cup.  The kids mostly enjoyed burying all the animals and people and then reaching around in the rice to find them!



You may notice a few Fisher Price people and animals in the bin (see person, top right).  I do not recommend them for use with rice because the rice can get inside them and they become permanent rattles.


Why make a sensory bin?
They are loads of fun!  Not only that, they’re educational, too.  Kids can practice scooping, pouring, spooning, finding things that are hidden (buried), practice control, and use their imagination!  They definitely use most of the senses when they play with a sensory bin!

Stay tuned for more posts about our current sensory bins, as well as a Sensory Bin 101. 🙂

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Genny Upton

A former teacher turned stay at home mom to two preschool aged children. Creator (and writer) at In Lieu of Preschool and Parent Teach Play. Currently publishing my first children's picture book!

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