Easy Sensory Bins to Build at Home

Easy Sensory Bins to Build at Home

A sensory bin is typically a large container of some sort filled with selected materials and objects to stimulate the senses. Toddlers, preschooolers, and even older children will benefit from the hands on learning and exploring time! It can give parents a time to breath without turning on the TV, or be an excellent quiet time activity. Sensory bins give the opportunity for imaginative play, fine motor skills development, and more.

We have several bins in our home right now, ranging from water beads to rocks to dyed pasta and all three children (ages 14 months, 5, and 8) love play time with the sensory bins. Some items we’ve purchased from other places but the majority time, it’s just thrown together with items around the house. Which do the kids like best? All of them!

It’s super easy to set up a sensory bin! All you need is a container, filler items, and maybe a towel or blanket underneath for easy clean up. (Or use your bins outside!) We like to use oversized plastic bins, like Rubbermaid – the shallow, rectangular type bins are best. We also like using under the bed type storage bins. Deeper bins work too! It depends on the age of your child, what materials you might want to use, and what you have available. Don’t have plastic bins? Try a cardboard box, and cut off the sides. Don’t have a box? Use the bathroom sink, or the bathtub.

As for what to include in your sensory bin – the sky is the limit! Themes are so much fun, and simple is usually the best route. Start with a base, and add accessories. Remember to consider your child as well. For example, water beads are not recommended for ages 3 and under, unless carefully supervised. A great alternative would be a mixture of oatmeal and Cheerios for little ones who may want to taste, or water play.

Base Options for Sensory Bins:

  • Sand
  • Dirt
  • Rocks
  • Birdseed
  • Shredded paper
  • Moonsand
  • Rice, pasta, beans (can dye)
  • Easter grass
  • Water
  • Ice cubes or ice blocks
  • Epsom Salt (can dye)
  • Water beads
  • Shaving cream
  • Soap Foam
  • Marshmallows
  • Wooden beads
  • Dry cereal

 

Accessories Options for Sensory Bins:

  • Shells
  • Driftwood
  • Clear or regular beads
  • Easter eggs
  • Scrabble tiles
  • Small toys (like trucks, dinosaurs)
  • Play bugs
  • Legos or Duplos
  • Shapes
  • Cookie cutters
  • Pinecones
  • Rocks with letters or numbers painted on
  • Pom-poms
  • Cotton balls
  • Frozen veggies
  • Fruit slices

 

Don’t forget the fun utensils needed as well:

  • Scoops or spoons
  • Small containers/cups
  • Small tongs
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Empty salt or spice containers
  • Empty water bottles
  • Empty egg cartons

 

Theme Ideas for Sensory Bins:

  • Rainbow
  • Beach
  • Construction
  • Nature
  • Seasons
  • Holidays
  • I Spy
  • Zoo
  • ABC or numbers

The Dollar Store can be a great place to find cheap and practical additions to a sensory bin, as well as themed ideas. Browse the drawers and cabinets in your home too. There’s really no wrong way to make a bin! Use what you have. Check out our Sensory Bin Ideas on Pinterest, including DIY table builds. Our Amazon Store (affiliate link) also has some great options.

This sensory bin was made for our 14 month old. Items include: leftover cereal (Fruit Loops and Cheerios), oatmeal, numbers from a puzzle, tablespoon scoop, and three medicine cups.

This sensory bin was made for our 5 year old. Items include: rocks, sand, trucks, Scrabble tiles, oversized popsicle sticks, toliet paper rolls, and three cups.

This sensory bin was made for our 8 year old. Items include: cotton balls, feathers, Eater grass, Easter eggs with multiplication and division facts to match, three cups, tweezers, and a large scoop.

For those looking to purchase sensory bins, tables, and fillers, here are four local businesses to check out and support:

Radish Builds or radishbuilds@gmail.com

Casita Curated Play

Masterpiece Art Mama

Busy Mom School

Click here for more at home ideas for the family!

Author

  • Jana is a homeschooling mother of three children, and lives in Scottsdale with her husband, Chris. She enjoys traveling, reading and coffee. Follow @phoenixwithkids on Instagram for daily photos around Phoenix!

Jana is a homeschooling mother of three children, and lives in Scottsdale with her husband, Chris. She enjoys traveling, reading and coffee. Follow @phoenixwithkids on Instagram for daily photos around Phoenix!

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