Sensory Bin Curiosity & Worries
I have been curious about sensory bins/learning for a while. There seems to be a lot of buzz around sensory bins, apparently they are pretty awesome. To me, all I saw was the mess potential and none of my kids were the right ages for it. Or so I thought, but we’ll get to that.
Our current youngest is just about the busiest little guy I have ever met. I’ve had toddlers before (three, to be exact), but this kid takes the cake. Literally, if you don’t watch him.
He’s a sweet little booger, but he gets into everything. All the time. My older three toddlers would actually sit and do things. Not this guy. He prefers climbing, exploring everyone’s stuff, and being outside (preferably with Daddy). And he is the cutest little copycat there ever was…
One day it dawned on me. THIS! This is why people are so crazy about giving toddlers things to explore intentionally. This is why sensory bins, water tables, and tot school came about!
Because if I don’t give him something he CAN do, I’m just following him around all day saying, “No, no.”
Introduction to Sensory Bins
One of my blogging friends, Sharla, wrote an ebook called Sensory Bins. When I saw it, my interest was piqued, but still…the mess potential. And then, along came a suggestion from my friend Becky and BAM! Sensory bins were doable!
So I bought the ebook. And read it. And loved it.
There was something mystical and complicated about sensory bins to me before I read the ebook. Sharla did a fine job of explaining what a sensory bin is, why you should bother with them, and how to put them together. For my fellow list lovers out there, she even includes some lists for you. Be still my heart.
Add a bag of lentils from my freezer, a recently vacated plastic tote, some various kitchen gadgets, Becky’s tip, and Sharla’s encouragement, and you get…
Our first sensory bin experience! He actually sat still for over 30 minutes!! Major exclamation points!! I was also wrong about not having kids that would enjoy sensory bins, my older three also enjoy playing with this.
Sensory Bin Ideas
We tried rice, but that didn’t excite him nearly as much because, apparently, our little guy doesn’t appreciate things sticking to his hands. The rice did this more than the lentils. In hindsight, I should have let the rice reach room temp in the open air. I keep it in the freezer, too. I think the condensation as it warmed made it stickier faster than the lentils.
I am really looking forward to trying out more sensory bin ideas as our little guy grows. I’ve started a Pinterest board where I am collecting ideas, but I thought I would share a few links to some that are on our more immediate “must do” list:
- transportation/car wash sensory bin
- the construction bin in this coffee sensory bin post
- construction sensory bin with rocks
- fall cornmeal sensory bin
Sensory Bin Resources
If you are interested in learning more about sensory bins for yourself, here are some resources I recommend:
Sensory Bins Ebook
Sharla’s ebook will help take the mystery out of sensory bins and encourage you to do what you can. She also has a large selection of sensory bins on her blog. Start with her round up post of their 25 favorite sensory bins.
Sensory Material Storage
If you intend to do this regularly, you will want to keep your materials organized so that you don’t have a cluttered mess floating all over your house and you will be able to easily find what you are looking for. Be sure to check out sensory material storage from Play Create Explore
Sensory Play Pinterest Boards
And don’t forget my new board, Homeschool :: Sensory Bins.
Ideas for Sensory Bin Materials
Look around the house for things you may already have to make your first bin. Here are a few ideas of things to look for:
- cotton balls
- little animal figurines (Toobs are great for this)
- trucks and cars
- scoops, spoons, and measuring cups
Our first bin was lentils with some measuring cups/spoons, funnel, and a couple random animal toys. I was more interested in seeing if this could actually work than creating a specific theme.
You also want to keep an eye out in clearance aisles. I found a pack of colorful plastic insects for 20 cents at Kroger on clearance.
If you order items from Amazon, be sure to sign up for their Prime program. You get a free 30 day trial that gives you free 2 day shipping (great for holiday shopping, just sayin’).
My Conclusion & Invitation
Overall, sensory bins are NOT that complicated. I intend to use them more in our homeschool, particularly to occupy the little guy while we do group work.
Do you use sensory bins in your home? Do you have a favorite? Please tell me how you use them in your home(school) and leave a link to your favorite bin in the comments so we can see it!
I’m sharing this post a few places and you may be interested in checking them out, too: