How to Make a Sensory Bin

Happy children play with sand and water in sensory baskets on the outdoor sensory table,
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Sensory bins are excellent sensory tools that give children an opportunity to learn through tactile play (and sometimes visual and olfactory too). These bins engage their senses and support various other developmental skills like hand-eye coordination, exploration, and using both hands simultaneously. These play tools are very effective at calming and engaging your child while building their concentration level.

Benefits of Sensory Bins

Sensory bins come with multiple benefits. From providing your child with an opportunity for sensory exploration to improving their fine motor skills and social skills, sensory bins are truly hands-on tools for children.

  • Sensory bins are excellent tools to stimulate multiple senses like sight, touch, sound and smell at the same time. So, if you are looking for an opportunity to explore their senses, there are so many options with sensory bins.
  • Stirring, scooping, digging, pouring, etc. are parts of sensory bins. Therefore, playing with sensory bins can improve your child’s hand-eye coordination and finger strength. Here, you can include some more tools like spoons, tweezers, tongs, etc. to develop their grasp patterns. Improving your child’s fine motor skills helps improve your child’s handwriting and grasping skills.
  • Sensory bins can improve social skills in children. Children who are drawn to sensory bins can learn to work together on the same activity. Engaging activities, like sensory bins, can make developing social skills like teamwork, taking turns, cooperation and communication, much easier. While using sensory bins, encourage your child to play along with their peers like siblings or friends.
  • While playing with sensory bins, children can sort hidden items according to their size or colour. Thus, sensory bins are great for cognitive development in children. Here, you can put letter or number shapes into the bin and ask your child to sort them out. This is a great technique to teach color, alphabet and numbers to children.
  • While playing with sensory bins, encourage your child to talk about hidden items. This is a great technique to improve their language skills along with vocabulary.
  • Sensory bins are great as a calming activity. They can provide your little one with a quiet activity and let them play independently.

A Step By Step Guide To Make Sensory Bins

Sensory bins do not have to be fancy. You can make a perfect sensory bin for your little one with a few simple steps. You only need some basic things to create your child’s favorite sensory bin. Everything else will be extra, depending upon the theme of the sensory bin.

The steps discussed in this article are super easy and fun. Create your own sensory bins and let those little hands dig into a tub full of sensory experience!

Step 1: Select a Good Container


The very first step for building a perfect sensory bin is to choose a good container. Containers of different shapes and sizes are available in the stores. When choosing a good container, you may want to consider the following points.

Number of Children

Pick the right one, depending upon how many children will be playing with that bin.

Small sensory bins work well for one or two children. Here, you can make use of items such as a shallow cardboard box, foil roasting pan, small baking dish, a Tupperware container, or a dish tub as a container.

However, if you are worried about the mess this sensory play creates, get your hands onto a larger container. With larger sensory bins, you can pour as much filler as you want without worrying about the mess.

Age of the Child
If you are making a sensory bin for a younger child who needs more space, go for a long, under-bed rolling container. These containers are great for providing a whole-body sensory experience. Additionally, these containers fit a large number of sensory fillers and minimize mess.

You can also make use of a medium storage tub with high sides to build a functional sensory bin. These containers keep fillers contained and define the learning space for children well. These are better for 4-6 years olds who have longer arms so they can reach over the sides of the container.

Transportable

If you are making a sensory bin to take along with you while traveling, select a container with a lid. For larger sensory bins, lunchbox containers, large cardboard boxes, or shallow storage containers make perfect tubs so that children can enjoy.

Step 2: Choose A Sensory Bin Filler


A sensory bin is incomplete without sensory fillers. Though there are multiple filler options available, it is important to choose a filler according to the age, need, and interest of your child. Also, consider the level of supervision your child can receive while choosing the fillers for the bin.

The filler or the base must be interesting to touch and look at. To make these items appealing to your child’s senses, choose textured items. Items that make nice sounds too can make great fillers.

For example, you can make use of some kitchen cereals like dry pasta, coffee beans, lentils, or rice that can be used as fillers in sensory bins. To make them look interesting to your little one, color them out. Apart from kitchen cereals, you can also use sand, mud, shredded paper, stones, colored ice cubes, and water beads as fillers.

You can also add essential oils into the fillers to add an additional sense, of smell.

Step 3: Add Fun Tools


As mentioned above, sensory bins allow your child to get involved in activities like dipping, filling, pouring, and transferring, including tools and instruments that make these activities fun and easy for your child. Incorporating these tools enable your child to have a hands-on way to practice fine motor skills while enjoying some great sensory play.

To keep the sensory bin party hopping, add some fun tools like tongs, tweezers, scoops, small spoons, measuring cups, syringes, and magnifying glass in the bin. These tools are designed to strengthen your child’s fine motor skills along with hand-eye coordination. Adding an assortment of these tools and instruments will take your sensory bin to a new level.

Step 4: Choose a Theme


To make your child’s sensory bin more interesting and colorful, choose a theme for it. The theme must be something that your little one is passionate about.

You can also opt for a new theme every time to offer lots of opportunities to learn from. Ocean, farm, and construction are some of the popular sensory bin themes for preschoolers. You can also choose themes according to the upcoming holidays like Christmas or Halloween.

It is simple to create themes by using different items like small toys, animals, characters, vehicles, and other interesting items to make it more appealing to your child. A good theme makes a sensory bin complete and fun.


Now that you know how to make a perfect sensory bin for your little champ, get your hands on the mentioned items above and let your child develop different skills while enjoying the sensory play.

The best part of building a sensory bin is that you get an opportunity to enjoy them with your kid. Just like your child, ensure you dig your hands into that bin. Remember, you are the ideal model for your child and they love to mimic your activities. So, to make them explore their senses, consider playing alongside them.

Resources:

13 DIY Sensory Bins Get Little Hands Digging Through New Textures. (2021). Retrieved 24 November 2021, from https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/life/parenting/g33241051/sensory-bin-ideas/

How to Make the Best Sensory Bins: Everything You Need to Know. (2021). Retrieved 24 November 2021, from https://happyhooligans.ca/sensory-bins/

Sensory Bin Basics: What You Need to Have – Busy Toddler. (2021). Retrieved 24 November 2021, from https://busytoddler.com/2016/04/sensory-bin-basics/

How To Make Sensory Bins Step by Step Guide. (2021). Retrieved 24 November 2021, from https://littlebinsforlittlehands.com/how-to-make-sensory-bins-sensory-play/

Salus Health – Six Developmental Benefits of Sensory Bins. (2021). Retrieved 24 November 2021, from https://www.salusuhealth.com/Occupational-Therapy-Institute/Resources/News-Events/News-Stories/Six-Developmental-Benefits-of-Sensory-Bins.aspx

Therapy, L., & Therapy, L. (2021). Occupational Therapy: Sensory Bins — Lumiere Children’s Therapy. Retrieved 24 November 2021, from https://www.lumierechild.com/lumiere-childrens-therapy/2018/02/19/occupational-therapy-sensory-bins

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