Sensory bins are simple to put together but provide a big “punch” in terms of benefits. Improved fine motor skills, sensory input (tactile, visual, proprioception, and sometimes auditory and/or gustatory), communication skills, and hands-on learning are just some of the opportunities that are presented to a child with sensory bin play.
If you’re new to creating sensory bins for your child or classroom, I’ve put together a Sensory Bin Starter Kit guide for you.
Here are some ideas to help you put together your own sensory bin starter kit:
Sensory Bins eBook
The Sensory Bins book includes idea lists, storage tips, money saving hints, information on sensory processing in how it pertains to sensory bins, and sensory play recipes. It’s a great place to start.
This stuff is so fun! It kind of moves which is just super neat. I discovered it just last year. It makes a great sensory bin filler and is so versatile. You can see a video below of the pluffle in action.
Learning Resources Helping Hands Fine Motor Tool Set
Sensory bins are a wonderful way to improve fine motor skills. This tool set includes large Gator Grabber tweezers, a Handy Scooper, Twisty Dropper, and Squeezy Tweezers. These are all designed for fine motor skill development.
Adding one or more of these into a sensory bin will offer more ways to play and explore. I especially like the Handy Scooper for water bead sensory bins.
For similar effects, you can also add kitchen tools such as measuring cups, measuring spoons, tongs, scoops, ladles, strainers, small bowls, and spatulas. These are great for scooping, pouring, measuring, moving, pinching, and grabbing.
Water beads are such a versatile sensory item. They make an easy sensory bin filler. I’ve used them in so many of our sensory bins.
Small Toys or Items for Play
One of the things I use most in my sensory bins are little toys found in these things called Toobs. I’ve used the space set, human organs, ocean animals, in the sky, arctic, insects, fruits and vegetables, penguins, dinosaur skulls, and many others.
Small toy cars, miniature trees, pompoms, and mini figures are other common items we often use in our bins. If you have all of these basic components and add them to a bin, you can create all kinds of wonderful sensory bins for your child to explore!
As with all sensory play, adult supervision should be used at all times.
Mary Ann Loreng says
I absolutely love your sensory tools and ideas! I use them with my preschoolers!
Maryrose Molnar says
I love these ideas! I have made sensory bottles in the past but nothing like these.
Pat Goudreau says
I use sensory bins in my classroom. The kids love them and they are so effective for sensory input, fine motor skills, and helping kids to self-regulate, Of course, with all the covid concerns, I’ve had to get creative and make smaller individual bins, but the plus is that I can tailor them to each kid’s unique needs and preferences.
I LOVE the “Minute to Win IT” ideas in your email!
What a great idea to create individualized smaller bins for kiddos! More work, for sure, but safer!
barbara Sanders says
thank you for these ideas!
Cindy Cline says
Great ideas for sensory bins. These are thing that can be used at home during remote therapy sessions. Thanks for sharing.
These are all amazing. My 3yo is special needs and always looking for new ideas to help him develop. Thank you for today’s chance. We’d love to give them a try 🤗 good luck to everyone 💫
Have a Beautiful day!!!!
Debra Miller says
We could always use new ideas for sensory bins. Would love the book to use with my kiddos in class! Thank you
Dana Lloyd says
I hadn’t thought of using mostly pompoms in a sensory bin but I have your fine motor tools for picking them up!! We’ve just used rice or beans and I have water beads ready to play with now!!
Would like to do this but never knew how to put it together. Thank you!
Sensory bins are so valuable to our special Ed classroom. We have kinetic sand and bean boxes but I would love to have other things for my students to try too. Thank you for offering us this information!
I love the water beads, regular beads, rice and beans. All super fun ideas to use.
Jane Maritz says
buttons, glass beads, little animals
Natalie Wahl says
My favorite sensory bin tools are easy to clean up. I learned to put a mat like the ones used for sun bathing underneath and have scoops and small brushes and dust pans. We like small balls with different fillings, shapes and densities, cute erasers and play dog tools for just a few other suggestions.
Angie Cox says
Such neat ideas
Mary Ann Loreng says
My two favorite sensory bins include water beads and kinetic sand!
Lindsey Peterson says
I love getting new ideas for sensory bins that my preschoolers will love!
Anna W says
I love using water beads, rice, pom poms and water in my sensory bins.
Thanks for introducing me to pluffle! I am always looking for new ideas for sensory bins. My kids love water beads and kinetic sand.
Michelle J. says
I have only ever used rice or beans.
Stephanie E Owen says
I love using ground corn cob for a fall sensory bin.
Yvonne Scott says
Great sensory ideas! Will have to try out some Pluffle, that’s a new one to me.
Shiloh Olson says
My favorite sensory bin fillers are colored rice or beans. I’ll have to try pluffle.
I love the water beads and the kids love them also.
Catie Barker says
I love sensory bins! I try to have one for every month and the students LOVE them! I have never heard of Pluffle, something new to add to my sensory toolkit.
I made “touch boards” on manila folders this year for each student to have in their desks since we are limiting shared equipment this year. I glued various things to each folder: lace, wax paper, sandpaper, duct tape, felt, velcro, rhinestones, etc that all have different textures. I introduced it during our lesson on the sense of touch.
Sharla Kostelyk says
That is an AMAZING idea!
Laura A says
Love sensory bins…so many ideas to try!
Love these sensory ideas.
Nia Petrovic says
I hope to win the box as I think my little one would really benefit from it!
Stacy S says
Kinetic sand, different kinds of scoops, ribbons of different textures.
Beth Steese says
Sensory bins are a favorite in our house and my classroom
Amanda Whitley says
we love to do water beads in the water table with sea creatures.
Ginger Holley says
I love all of your sensory bin ideas!!!
We had fun in the fall with acorns we found outside and fake fall leaves. My boys also really love the instant snow!
Carla Myers says
Love the sensory activities! I incorporate them in my OT sessions!