Sensory bins can be so much fun to put together. Maybe it’s just me but I get so much enjoyment out of brainstorming ideas for items to include in a sensory bin and then setting it up so it looks colorful and appealing. Putting together the apple bin was especially satisfying for me because I had everything on-hand except for the cereal. I don’t know about you but I really don’t like dragging all the kids to the store to find a zillion different items for an activity. Keeping it simple is really, really important. Remember that. Simple. If you don’t keep it simple it could turn into a nightmare. I happen to know this from experience.
Anyways, here is a brief description for those of you who aren’t familiar with sensory bins and are wondering,
“What is a sensory bin and what is the purpose?”
A sensory bin is a fun way for children to use their senses to learn. It’s a group of materials that are put in a bin or large container to allow young children to explore and experiment while using all their senses. They can touch, feel, smell, hear, and sometimes taste the items in the bin. Children can also pour, mix, pretend, create, play, count, move, match, stir and more.
Sensory bins can be used to further develop these and other skills:
- Fine Motor (ex: use tongs to pick up apples and transfer them)
- Counting (ex: how many red apples, how many green apples, etc.)
- Sorting and Classifying (ex: sort apples into other bowls, ice cube trays by color/size)
- Patterning (ex: red, green, red, green)
- Matching (ex: find the apple erasers that match)
**Note: Sensory bins often include items that are a choking hazard for young children (rice, beans, popcorn kernels, etc.) so please always keep a close eye on your child while they are exploring (I know you know this already but it’s makes me feel better to say it anyways). Our own little Kitty Cat poured rice into her mouth while exploring a sensory bin when she was about 18 months old. I was right next to her and able to help her so she was okay but it was scary nonetheless.
Here is a glimpse of our children interacting with the apple sensory bin.
Using fine motor skills and counting…..
Note: Affiliate links to follow.
Here are the items I included in our sensory bin:
- Apple Jacks cereal (I used Apple Rounds from Aldi)
- A is for Apple flash cards
- Small green and red apples and tweezers from the Learning Resources Super Sorting Pie
- 5-part apple from the Learning Resources Counting Fun Fruit Bowl
- Apple erasers
- Real apples from my parent’s apple tree
- A large green apple that looks real but isn’t (this was a great purchase from Crate and Barrel during Snootz’s fruit obsession. So perfect – a piece of fruit that looks totally real but doesn’t bruise when it’s dropped.)
- Cinnamon sticks
- Plastic apples from a couple of different play food sets
- A wooden apple from the Melissa and Doug Cutting Food set (this is not in the first picture because I added it later)
- Spoons and scoops from our play kitchen toys
- Ice cube trays
- A mat to put underneath the bin and for the children to sit on in order to contain any mess
If you are interested in learning more about sensory bins and how to put them together you may want to consider purchasing this eBook called Sensory Bins: the What, the How & the Why by Sharla Kostelyk at The Chaos and the Clutter.