We are a sensory bin family, and I am here to tell you why you should be too.
For such a minor investment, these have turned out to be my children’s absolute favorite items to play with in our home. And, what makes them such a parent win is that they are so darn good for their development. Whenever they have friends over, the sensory bins are like catnip for young kids. They can’t get enough. (Even their older cousins were asking their parents to make them one!)
Sensory bins are an easy and fun way to engage your children with the world around them. You just start with a simple container (we love clear tupperware containers) and you fill them with a sensory experience. Our favorites are kinetic sand, water beads, dried beans, rice, and ice.
We started simple and introduced one material at a time. The boys loved to dig and scoop and touch whatever was inside. Over time, we expanded (and continue to expand) how we interact with our bins. We use buckets, scoops, and measuring cups from the kitchen to explore. We paint the ice and watch it melt. He hide their smaller toys, like figurines or cars, inside the beans and rice. They then use the grill tongs to get them out. We hide puzzle pieces and search for the them so we can complete their puzzles together. Their new favorite is using their trucks to scoop and flatten the contents!
I’m amazed at the amount of activities and engagement such a small investment has provided us.
I love watching my kids explore the world around them. Sensory bins allow for some wonderful independent play, and they are also a fabulous social outlet as well. The boys play with them alone, with friends, and with us. Each experience is unique and different and valuable in its own way.
There are so many great resources for sensory bin play on the internet. Our favorites are the Instagram accounts @dayswithgrey and @busytoddler. If you are looking for some summer at home activities with your kids then head to your favorite store, grab a Tupperware container and a bag of dried beans, and let the sensory bin fun begin.
Need more reasons to start? Here are a few reasons I love our sensory bins:
- They are a cheap investment.
- They help develop language skills.
- They encourage independent play.
- They are also great for social play.
- They allow your kid to use so many of their senses at once- smell, touch, sound, sight.
- They adapt to your child’s developmental needs.
- They help develop fine motor skills.
- So much STEM learning y’all!
- KIDS LOVE THEM!
But what about the mess?
The biggest complaint I get when I recommend sensory bins is the concern over the mess. This is one of the reasons we slowly introduced bins, materials, and extras to our kids. We taught them the rules of the bins before we added more flare to them. My boys just turned two, and they are pretty good about understanding that the contents stay in the bin, and that if they get too crazy, the bin goes away. They know there are only 2 areas in the house where they can play with their bins. That part takes some work, but it’s totally worth it. And, every once in a while, we are an hour into sensory play and the mess accumulates, but so does the curiosity and this momma just goes with it!
@literacyenrichmentandplay is a great resource for ideas but also for pre-made theme based sensory materials. They even have a monthly subscription that includes a book, Sensory Bin materials, homemade playdough and a literacy skills activity all to be enjoyed by children ages 2-6. Takes the prep work out of it for those interested in sensory play.