Sensory Bins for Toddlers, Preschoolers and Big Kids

May 10, 2019

If you’re struggling to keep your little ones busy while you work, don’t worry, I have a way to keep them busy and challenged without handing over an iPad or turning on the TV. All three of our kids LOVE sensory bins!


A sensory bin is a Play Present that focuses on activating multiple senses at once. Most use seeing, hearing, smelling, and feeling. You can even make edible sensory bins that use tasting! They’re important because kids learn through their senses and older kids destress with sensory activities.


Five easy steps to set one up:

1.  Find A Location  Sensory bins can be messy if you don’t prepare. Find a spot outdoors with a kid-sized table or soft space to sit. Grab towels and a bucket with water for easy cleanup. If you’re inside, lay down a sheet, oilcloth or tablecloth (we love the flannel backed vinyl ones). Afterward, you can gather up the sheet and pour any spills back into the bin or shake it out or wash it. Keep a dustpan and brush handy or damp towel.

2.  Choose A Theme & Characters  What your child into right now? I’ll bet there’s a television show or book series that’s captured their attention lately. Or maybe there’s a color, holiday or seasonal theme you could use. Use people or objects that can turn Into people that your kids like and add them in for longer play with sensory bins.

3.  Gather the Base  A sensory bin base is really just a bunch of small, loose parts from three categories: the kitchen, home decor, or nature. Dried pasta, beans or rice, flower beads, artificial leaves or grass, balls, dirt or sand, water, or twigs.

4.  Find A Bin  Depending on if your base is wet or dry and how much of it you have, find a container that works. Our favorites are under-the-bed large plastic containers for two kids, plastic shoeboxes or scrapbook boxes, small art bins or art or kitchen trays. If there aren't wet or sticky items, natural baskets add to the sensory experience.

5.  Add Fun Play Items  What else can you collect and add in to make it even more fun? Add items for scooping, dumping, stirring, brushing, picking up or building structures.

What kind of sensory bin will you try first? Check out the video for a recap and to see three example bins:

Thank you for watching!



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