10 Super Simple Rice Sensory Bins
Creating fun with what you already have around the house
My goal is to share with you how easy and inexpensive it is to make 10 different super simple rice sensory bins with just an empty container, a bag of rice, and objects/toys from around the house. These super simple sensory bins can provide hours of engaging fun and educational opportunities for you and your child.
Why a sensory bin?
Sensory bins are a great way to increase independent play, exploration and curiosity as well. Also, being a mother of a special needs little boy, these simple sensory bins have provided a great way for us to bond and engage in play together. Often, the rice bin serves as a great tool for practicing letters and numbers as well as sorting and matching!
This is my little helper Liam (3.5y) preparing our bin for all these great ideas! Even this is a fun experience for my little one. Let them help and keep a broom handy! Sensory bins and practical life skills (sweeping) go hand in hand!
Simply pick up a bag of rice at the supermarket and some sort of container and let’s get started! Each of these activities can be used by multiple ages at the same time, helping those moments when you just don’t have enough hands or you just need a few extra minutes to get something done! If you haven’t already, please check out an earlier post on GETTING STARTED.
Super Simple Sensory Rice Bin #1: Alphabet hide, seek and match!
This was our first go of alphabet hunting. I hid letter tiles and printed out a letter sheet. Super quick! If your child can do upper and lower case go for it. You could also use your scrabble game tiles or simply cut up a second printout to use for matching pieces. This could also be great for spelling sight words or whatever you are currently working on in your program. Your youngest child can dig and match while your oldest works on spelling.
We also hid magnets and hung a fun place mat on the fridge for him to match to but a cookie tray works well too!
In the photo above, we went fishing for letters to match to ponds that were spread out on the floor! (1+1+1=1 for pond theme print out activity)
We used tongs and a wooden puzzle for this alphabet hunt!
Super Simple Sensory Rice Bin #2: Construction Work!
For this super simple sensory bin, I got Liam his hard hat, construction vehicles and wooden blocks. He chose to pretend the rice was cement and he needed to first mix it and then build a wall using the rice “cement” between the blocks. He put great thought into his wall. We also suggested he could build roads and houses but he stuck with the wall idea for quite a while talking about it the whole time he was making it. Unfortunately, he was unable to find different ideas to carry out with the blocks but I am sure your child might come up with something. Different color blocks and different sizes would make for some nice building material and the rice creates great problem solving skills!
Super Simple Rice Sensory Bin #3: Kitchen Play
I simply went through my drawers and cupboards and pulled out items such as trays, containers, bowls and utensils that I thought would work well with the rice. I even had some empty spice jars that still had the spice smell! We have tons of play food and the kind with velcro as well. He was very excited to see his “kitchen” and thats exactly what he called it! I would have to say that Liam named this one!
Super Sensory Rice Bin #4: Puzzle Jumble
Super quick fun to mix up puzzle pieces into the rice. Play I spy with your child or let them work independently. Multiple ages can play with different types of pieces! Work together or work separately but from the same bin! Liam enjoyed his chunk puzzles and his small peg sound puzzles. Vehicles, tools, and animals!
Super Simple Rice Sensory Bin #5: Picture Book Play
I found these great print outs for different books at Making Learning Fun under book activities. You have a choice of full color or black and white that your children can color themselves. Older children may be able to draw there own. See what other items you might be able to find to go with the book. Read the story and have fun playing! Hopefully some independent play can follow after the story too!
Super Simple Rice Sensory Bin #6: Pinching Pennies
So easy and fun to do one afternoon! I originally put in 50 pennies but ended up throwing in 50 more after I saw what fun he was having with the whole thing! I had this great old fashioned bank for him to fill up and then we took them over to the table and counted one for one as we put them back in the bank. Double the fine motor practice and a ton of counting. Great for multiple ages and players! Use different coins for sorting and adding!
Super Simple Rice Sensory Bin #7: Colored Rice
Coloring rice is super easy and dries overnight! In a plastic container I add a cup of white rice, 1/2 tsp of vinegar and food coloring (no exact amount). Cover it and hand to husband to shake vigorously until it looks well mixed! I spread it on a paper towel to dry afterwards.
Super Simple Rice Sensory Bin #8: Nature’s elements.
Shells, nuts, smooth rocks, baskets, gems and his favorite stick!
He naturally took to sorting the objects. This is good for counting as well! I think it looks very soothing. I love the colors too. However, I don’t think this is his favorite because of the muted colors, but he likes the textures. Also nice for the ocean too! He likes to listen to the shells and have us listen with him.
Super Simple Rice Sensory Bin #9: Magnet Madness
A simple bin with magnetic items in it and a wand to go searching for the treasure. I gave him a bucket to put everything in as he dug it out until there was only rice left!
Super Simple Rice Sensory Bin #10: I Spy Bag & Sensory Bin Search
I used a freezer ziplock bag and filled it with rice and beads and trinkets. We used an alphabet check list sheet to cross off what we spied. At the end we dumped it into a baking dish and practiced fine motor skills!