What do you need to do to make sensory bins? Is it hard? Do kids really like sensory bins? Sensory bins were a huge staple in our house for a number of years. They were a go-to play option that I could change up frequently, create new themes for and change with the seasons or holidays! Sensory bins are an amazing way to engage and interact with young children. The benefits of creating sensory bins in early childhood are numerous. Read our: All About Sensory Bins for more on these benefits. We have favorite fillers, themes, accessories, and more in our Ultimate Sensory play Guide too!

HOW TO MAKE SENSORY BINS FOR PLAY

How to Make Sensory Bins Sep by Step guide to make sensory bins

A STEP BY STEP GUIDE TO MAKE SENSORY BINS

With a few simple steps, you can have a perfect sensory bin for little hands to dig into! Let me start by reminding you that sensory bins do not have to be fancy, Pinterest-worthy creations. The oohs and ahhs from your child will be plenty! I have heard from many people that they feel intimidated by the process when they go to make a sensory bin! I hope I can clear that up and show you how to make a sensory bin in no time! Some of our favorite sensory bins are the least thought out ones!

WHAT DO YOU NEED TO MAKE SENSORY BINS?

There are only a few basic things you really need to make a sensory bin! Everything else will be extra depending on whether or not you have chosen a theme for your sensory bin! Some people enjoy making sensory bins to elaborate on a favorite book, we have a few book and sensory bin ideas here. Others like to make sensory bins for holidays and seasons, check out all of our seasonal and holiday sensory bins in our Ultimate Sensory Play Guide. Lastly, people make sensory bins purposefully for the sensory experience. There are so many ways to make sensory bins!

STEP 1: CHOOSE A GOOD CONTAINER

We have a few different sized and shaped options that we have enjoyed! A larger sensory bin is really wonderful for getting the hands right into the sensory bin filler without having to worry about to much mess. Read about mess here. Last resort, great a cardboard box or baking dish, or dish pan!

  • Long, under bed rolling container: perfect for the whole body experience or to fit a large amount of sensory filler. These containers are large but easy to store if you can roll it under the bed. Good for younger children who need more space to minimize mess! {not pictured but you can see my son playing in one at the bottom of this post}
  • Larger food storage containers from the dollar store work
  • Our favorite sensory bin container has always been the Sterilite 25 quart container {bottom} The sides are just high enough to contain the filler but not high enough that it hinders play
  • We also like the starlight 6 quart {right} for smaller bins or to take with us.
  • I made these mini fine motor sensory bins and these mini alphabet sensory bins in small containers
  • I do try to buy a few of the same size/style. This way our sensory bins stack well.

How to make sensory bins containers for sensory fillers

 

STEP 2: CHOOSE A SENSORY BIN FILLER

To make sensory bins you need sensory bin fillers. We definitely have our favorites! When you go to make a sensory bin, choose a filler that is appropriate to the age of the child and the level of supervision the child will receive when playing with the sensory bin. Click on the photos below to see our choices.

We offer 2 lists of sensory fillers, one that includes food items and one that does not!

non food sensory bins roundup10 Favorite Sensory Fillers

 

When you go to make sensory bins and chose fillers, keep in mind if there is a special theme you want to include! It’s super easy to dye sensory bin fillers. We have several sensory bin fillers that are easy to color quickly. Click on each of the photos to see how! Make and play the same day!

How to Dye Paste for Colored Pasta Sensory Play Colored Salt How T Dye Salt for Sensory Play Colored Rice How To Dye Rice for Sensory Play

 

STEP 3: ADD FUN TOOLS

One of the best parts of sensory bins is all the filling, dumping, pouring and transferring that takes place! What a great hands-on way to practice important skills while enjoying some awesome sensory play! Sensory bins can easily improve fine motor skills by the tools you choose to include. Make sure to check the dollar store, recycling container and kitchen drawers for easy items to add when you make sensory bins. We have a lot of fun tools and play items to try, click photo for list!

How to make sensory bins tools and play items

STEP 4: COMPLETE WITH A THEME {OPTIONAL}

If you have chosen a specific theme for your sensory bin, complete it with some of our fun play items from the picture above, click on photos for all the ideas!

For example if you are going with a rainbow theme sensory bin to explore colors…

  • choose a container size
  • make rainbow colored rice
  • find rainbow colored objects like plastic easter eggs, dollar store linking toys, plastic cups and spoons in different colors, and look around the house! I grabbed a pinwheel and an old CD!

rainbow sensory bin activity set up 2

Now you can easily make sensory bin for any play time with these four easy steps. The best part of being able to make sensory bins for your child, is getting to enjoy them with your child! make sure to dig your hands into all those great sensory bins. You are the best model for your child! Play, explore and learn right beside him or her.

VISIT OUR SENSORY PLAY IDEAS PGAE TO FIND INSPIRATION!

Kids Sensory Play Activities, Bins, Bottles, and Slimes

 

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2 Comments

  1. Hi,
    I would like to use sensory bins with my 2nd grade class. What is the purpose of the rice or sand? How does it add to the learning? If I add the items without the filler, am I missing out on an important part?
    Thank you,

  2. Hi Victoria, the filler is what makes it a sensory bin, the weight and the feel of the filler is most important whether it is sand, rice, or water. The feel of it as it touches the skin, the weight of it as you pour it, scoop it, or fill it! Adding the items to create a theme is really secondary to the filler but it is a great way to say combine learning letters with a sensory rich experience.

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