25 Unique Sensory Bin Ideas for Kids - Teaching Expertise (2024)

Stuck inside on a rainy day with the kids? Try a sensory bin! What is a sensory bin? It is a container filled with various textured items. It can be simple with just one texture, like oatmeal or dried beans. Or the sensory bin can contain a wide range of items like water with rocks, toy fish, and a net. When it comes to sensory bins, the sky is the limit! Check out some of the ideas below to deepen your child’s senses.

Water Sensory Bin Ideas

1. Pom-Pom and Water

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Here’s a cool water idea where your littles will get to fish for pom-poms! Simply fill a container with water and a whole bunch of colorful pom-poms before encouraging your class to use various tools to scoop, mix, and empty the container. If your little brainiacs are up for the challenge, you could even task them with matching pom-poms to colored pieces of paper.

Learn More: Learning and Exploring Through Play

2. Toys in Water

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Toddlers will learn about the properties of water when they see that some items sink and others float. All you have to do is put the toys they already have in the water! You can add water bottles or colorful water beads to this bin for some additional flare.

Learn More: Minnie Mama

3. Household Items

Once your child is a little older, you can make a water table with random household items, like this mason jar and funnel. Add in dish detergent to make this box for toddlers full of soapy water.

Learn More: Daniel Boone Regional Library

4. Colored Water Stations

Here’s an imaginative play activity. Have food color assortments to add to your water table. You can have the color purple, as shown here, the color yellow, or your toddler’s favorite! Bright colors are sure to add fun and excitement to this sensory box idea.

Learn More: Jady A.

5. Kitchen Sink

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Looking for accessory play ideas? Add any dish accessory or sponge to this kitchen sink and let your child run the tap as long as they’d like. The water basin holds enough water to allow your toddler to fill and re-fill the sink over and over.

Learn More: Lovevery

6. Measuring Cups

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Your adorable monster has never been cuter than when they are playing with kitchen items. This is an awesome multi-sensory activity that will help your child grab handles and learn how they can collect and pour liquids.

Learn More: Things To Share And Remember

Rice Sensory Bin Ideas

7. Colored Rice

This rainbow rice sensory bin is sure to excite all curious toddlers. Color sensory is great for toddlers’ developing eyes and is sure to create some happy toddler playtime.

Learn More: Pocketful of Parenting

8. Dry Rice Filling Station

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Take the colored rice you learned how to make above and add some household items. Although not pictured here, Ziplock bags can be filled with rice so toddlers can feel how it moves in contained spaces. Be sure there is always supervision when using plastic bags.

Learn More: Busy Toddler

9. Blue Rice

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Are you not wanting to get involved with food coloring? No worries, this kit has you covered! The shiny gems will provide color reflection sensory as your toddler engages in open-ended play with this beach theme kit.

Learn More: Amazon

Bean Sensory Bin Ideas

10. Assorted Loose Beans

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This Fall-themed sensory bin is sure to provide a soothing experience for your little ones. Simply fill a large container with an assortment of beans before inviting your kiddos to use tools such as scoops, tongs, and spoons to toss the beans around or add them to a sorting tray.

Learn More: Engaging Littles

11. Black Beans

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Holiday sensory fun with googly eyes! Because of the small pieces, this one is certainly for ages from toddlers and up. Spider rings can be added for insect sensory fun. Once this BINS for toddlers is done being played with, kids can play and can wear the rings!

Learn More: Simply Special Ed

12. Colored Beans

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Fantastic fun and learning start with colors! Whether you’re creating simple primary colors or the whole rainbow, dying beans are a great way to start. The rainbow beans pictured here can become a fun theme sensory idea with a cut-out of the sun, clouds, and some raindrops for an all around learning experience.

Learn More: Active Littles

Animal Sensory Bin Ideas

13. Baby Birds and Shredded Paper

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I love this autumn-colored shredded paper. Use crinkle paper as the bird’s nest and add pipe cleaners for worms! What a fun sensory experience for kids as they learn about a bird’s habitat. Add some sticks from the garden and find a real bird’s feather to add to the experience.

Learn More: Modern Preschool

14. Farm Animals

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Now, this is truly a fun idea! Use these farm gates to create animal mazes. The craft sticks pictured in the lower left corner are being used as a pig pen. Get your kiddo involved with painting the craft sticks before collecting colored pebbles for this sensory play idea.

Learn More: Living Montessori

15. Awesome Animal Zoo Sensory Bin

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This bright and colorful sensory bin is sure to be a hit with those little animal lovers in your class! Simply fill a container with four sets of colorful beans to represent four different animal habitats, from the African desert to icy Antarctica. Next, place toy animals like giraffes, polar bears, and tigers in each corner before inviting your tots to explore each habitat.

Learn More: Creative Projects for Kids

Food Item Sensory Bin Ideas

16. Jell-O Sensory Bins

Check out these cute dinosaur figurines! Fantastic fun and learning will occur as your child squishes Jell-O to get the toys out. Talk about texture overload! The best part? Kids can eat the Jell-O as they play in this sensory bin. You can do multiple colors as pictured here, or just one. Be sure to add the toys before placing the Jell-O in the fridge.

Learn More: Jady A

17. Corn Flour Paste

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This sludge paste can be made with items in your pantry. All you need is corn flour, water, soap, and food coloring. If you don’t have food coloring, that is completely fine; it just means your paste will be white. Allow your child to explore the feeling of the paste, or add toys for a more varied playtime.

Learn More: Pickle Bums

18. Cloud Dough

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Oil and flour are all you need for this sensory bin. This is the perfect non-toxic option for kiddos who are constantly putting things in their mouth. I would take this messy one outside on the deck for some cool springtime fun!

Learn More: This West Coast Mommy

19. Corn Pit

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Autumn colors unite! Use corn kernels for this fun and festive idea. Older kids can work on their chopstick skills as they try to pick up kernels.

Learn More: Still Playing School

Other Sensory Bin Ideas

20. Shaving Cream Sensory Bin

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Just a spot of food coloring here and there on dad’s shaving cream is all you need for this one. Kids will love the foamy texture.

Learn More: Taming Little Monsters

21. Artificial Flowers

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Check out these beautiful flowers! In this sensory bin activity, you’ll fill a container with a bunch of beans or rice before adding in a few artificial flowers. Your children are then free to scoop, pour, or sprinkle the beans around the flowers.

Learn More: Toddler at Play

22. Dinosaur Sensory

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This kit has everything you need to be an archeologist! Uncover fossils, feel the sand, and play with dinosaurs in this readymade package.

Learn More: Amazon

23. Beach Sensory Bin Idea

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The Beach theme is always in style! Gelatin, water, flour, oil, and coconut are all that is needed to create the blue jelly ocean pictured here.

Learn More: My Bored Toddler

24. Birthday Party Sensory

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Using rice as your base, add birthday candles and goody bag items to this birthday sensory bin. Make it a play station at your next birthday celebration!

Learn More: Made to Give Life

25. Scarves in a Box

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Take an old tissue box and fill it with silk scarves. Babies will work on their back muscles as they pull the scarves out of the hole. Try tying multiple scarves together to create one super long scarf.

Learn More: Mama OT

25 Unique Sensory Bin Ideas for Kids - Teaching Expertise (2024)


What are fine motor activities in sensory bins? ›

Sensory Bin Ideas For Kindergarten Kids

At this age you can include even more fine motor challenges to the sensory bin. Add tongs, sorting trays and strings for beads to your bins. SnowScape– dig through shredded office paper for pom-pom 'snowballs' and pick them up with tongs.

What is a Montessori sensory bin? ›

What Is a Sensory Bin? A sensory bin is a shallow container that combines filler material and various small odds and ends. You fill the bin with a filler material such as sand or rice, then add items from around the house such as spoons or measuring cups. Let your child explore the items and have fun playing.

What are the life skills of sensory bins? ›

Practical Life Skills: Sensory bins provide a safe and controlled environment for children to practice practical life skills. Pouring and scooping materials like liquid or grains using cups, spoons, or tongs helps develop hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, and concentration.

How are sensory bins educational? ›

Sensory bins provide children with the opportunity to explore and learn through hands-on tactile play that engages their senses. These bins encourage and support various types of development and are great activities to have in your home. Sensory bins can be themed for holidays, seasons and academic skills.

What are some activities that support fine motor skills? ›

Provide interesting experiences which help children practice fine motor skills. Cooking, gardening, sewing, fixing and making things are all good examples of activities that involve using tools and small movements with accuracy and precision.

What are the activities for sensory enrichment? ›

Tips for Using Sensory Enrichment at Home:

Set up your child's play environment with various textures, music, and colorful artwork. Wrap your child in a warm towel after they bathe. Before bed, play instrumental or other peaceful music until they fall asleep. Massage your child's hands with a scented lotion.

What are examples of sensory motor learning? ›

Examples of sensory-motor skills include catching a ball, riding a bicycle, or typing on a keyboard. Sensory-motor skills are typically developed through central-nervous system integration and are refined over time through practice, feedback, and error correction (Asan et. al, 2021).

What are the learning outcomes of the sensory bin? ›

Sensory bins promote language development.

Toddlers and preschoolers can learn about basic concepts such as full/empty, up/down, above/below, or same/different while they are pouring, sorting, and moving the objects in the sensory bin.

Why is Montessori against plastic toys? ›

Why are there no plastic toys in Montessori? Montessori favours toys made from natural materials like wood, metal, cotton and glass for a few reasons. Unlike plastic, these materials inspire a connection to nature and the real world, while the different textures offer a sensory experience and encourage exploration.

Why are sensory bins so popular? ›

A sensory bin is a great way to introduce sensory play, allowing children to explore objects and develop sensory skills through tactile play. They also promote the development of other crucial skills for a child's development. The best part is that they have unlimited use.

What are the 5 sensory play? ›

Introducing preschoolers to the concept of the five senses at an early age is not only fun but also immensely beneficial for their cognitive and sensory development. Understanding the five senses – sight, touch, taste, smell, and sound – helps children make sense of the world around them.

What are the 5 sensory capabilities of a child? ›

Children will learn that their bodies have many different parts, each with special functions. They are eager to hear, touch, see, smell and taste to help them make sense of and be a part of the world.

What are examples of sensory skills? ›

Sensory skills are those such as vision, touch, smell, taste, hearing, vestibular (for balance movement and head positions) and proprioception (position and movement of the muscles and joints). Sensory skills are responsible for receiving information from the environment and from the body.

What are the rules for the sensory bins? ›

Use visual supports to help your learners remember the rules for the sensory bins (use hands only, put on lid when finished, complete seek and find, raise hand if you need help, keep the materials in the box.) Use a visual timer to help your students transition when the time comes.

What do you put in a sensory pack? ›

Here are items you can put in it:
  1. Earbuds, folding headphones, or earplugs to help make noise less overwhelming.
  2. Sticky notes to put over sensors for automatic flushing toilets and hand dryers.
  3. A small bottle of hand lotion to soothe your child's need for touch.
  4. “Smellies” (like scented lip balm)

What do you put in a touch and feel box for adults? ›

Dish scourers, paint brushes, loofahs, feathers, sheepskin etc. Bubble wrap, survival blanket, lycra 'body sock' or 'dance sack' • Tubs of 'slime', lentils, sand. Can of shaving foam or moisturising mousse etc.

What to put in an autism sensory box? ›

Dish scourers, paint brushes, loofahs, feathers, sheepskin etc.
  1. Bubble wrap, survival blanket, lycra 'body sock' or 'dance sack'
  2. Tubs of 'slime', lentils, sand. Can of shaving foam or moisturising mousse etc.

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