Calming Sensory Bin Play

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Calming Bean Sensory Bin Activity


Tactile Sensory Diet Play

Our son is a great sensory seeker mostly vestibular and proprioception but also tactile too! We have found sensory bins with a heavier weight such as rice and beans to be calming for him.  We have used sensory bins and sensory play since the very beginning and it has proved very helpful in all sorts of learning and play activities. Please check my page on Sensory Bin Resources for many ideas and also the new series, 40 Days of Sensory Bin Fillers!

What do I mean by Tactile Sensory Play?

Let’s make it really simple and easy to understand. I am just a mom with an SPD child, not a therapist! Please refer to professionals for the science end of it and any diagnosis questions! Most importantly let’s make it easy to do with your child or for your child! What is tactile sensory input? Detecting touch and textures is a very simple answer. Feeling textures, temperatures, vibration and more on the skin is all part of tactile sensory input! There are several way children can benefit from a sensory bin. First, is for calming purposes like this one here, second is for alerting purposes if you need to create focus, and third for engaging with others. I talk about how we connected through sensory play here! ALL CHILDREN can benefit from tactile sensory input if they are comfortable with it.

calming sensory bin hands feeling filler

Creating A Simple Tactile Sensory Bin for Calming Purposes At Home

calming sensory bin sitting on couch smiling

For this post we are talking about calming sensory bin play for tactile sensory input! How do you do it? What do you need? Again, this is what works for us right now. It has taken some trial and error to get this far! Often when I have learned a new trick to dealing with an issue, a new one pops up! What works now may not work a month from now and that’s all right. Prepare to be flexible and open to new ideas.

1. The right size Calming Sensory Bin.

For a calming sensory bin, I like to have a shoebox size to easily rest on the lap for the calming input of the weighted bin. Make sure the size and weight are appropriate and comfortable for your child. Also note that your child might prefer to stand or have the box in front of him instead of on his lap.

2. The sensory bin filler.

calming sensory bin set up

I like beans of all sizes. They are smooth and cool to the touch. Beans have a bit of weight that my son prefers. This weight helps also satisfy some tactile needs. I make sure it is filled enough for him to immerse his hands in all the way and cover them, so he can feel the beans on his skin! Other favorites for us are rice and aquarium gravel.

3. Include a very simple activity (or not).

calming sensory bin goodies

Our calming bean sensory bin does not have a theme or any large materials that take away from the nature of the sensory bin which is to feel the filler! I put together a simple search and find with a small jar to keep the treasures in or to fill with beans (baby food jar). I have about 20 small items, little things from around the house. Switch them out for the seasons, holidays or whenever you find something new! Your child may prefer nothing but the sensory bin filler and that’s OK too!

4. How do we use our calming bean sensory bin?

calming sensory bin sitting on couch playing

When we all need a break, I have Liam sit and give him the sensory bin. He can play with it as he likes until he feels satisfied and calm!

5. Independent play.

This makes a great starting point for independent play too. You might even have a few minutes to take some deep breaths on your own


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