Have you ever wanted to make sensory bins but didn’t know what to fill them with for sensory play? Here is our list of our 10 favorite sensory bin fillers for you to try to make up a fun sensory bin any time of the year. We have quite a few resources to get you on your way to making awesome sensory bins for early childhood development.   Check out these best sensory bin fillers for multiple ages to enjoy playing together!


10 Favorite Sensory Bin Fillers


Sensory bins are wonderful hands-on fun for many ages, including toddlers, kindergarteners to preschoolers! Many early learning skills can be developed through sensory bin play including social and emotional communication, literacy, fine motor skills, and more!

Sensory bins provide an outlet for children to engage in a meaningful way and also receive sensory input that their little minds and bodies crave.

Exploring through touch and feel can be a positive experience for most children. Sensory input from sensory bins works with your child’s nervous system.  You may find your child prefers some sensory bin fillers over others, so don’t give up trying! Let your child be your guide!


 Do you have a favorite sensory bin filler?  We have gathered a collection of our favorite sensory bin fillers, that are easy to find or make, and inexpensive as well.  I like sensory bin fillers I can easily store after play time is done and are easy to take back out again.  These best sensory bin fillers don’t include ones that are too messy or or can only be used once, but we love those too!  These ones listed below are my favorite sensory bin materials for easy storage and re-use.


Colored rice is number one on our list of favorite sensory bin fillers! Find out how to dye rice for beautiful colors to fit your themes.  Here’s our resource for more than 50 rice sensory bin ideas for all seasons! Rice has to be one of the quickest and easiest sensory bin fillers out there!

rice is ready to play with in a sensory bin

Check our one bag of rice and 10 ways to play!

Easy Rice Sensory Play Around The house


Simple staples from your pantry can make quick and easy sensory bin fillers.  Check out our simple recipe for how to dye pasta for an inexpensive sensory bin filler.  add sensory bin fillers to your colored pasta


These brightly colored rocks make easy sensory bin fillers and are great for so many sensory play ideas! Check  some of the ways we used our aquarium rocks as part of our 20 books with sensory play activities!

20 books and sensory play ideas


Easy to find and easy to make, water beads make a great sensory bin filler!  They also provide a very unique tactile sensory experience!

Check out ways we have used our water beads: 

water beads are a great sensory bin filler


Colored craft sand is a fun sensory bill filler that reminds of outdoor sand box play!  Here we used our colored sand for a themed Christmas sensory box , a Valentine’s Day sensory bin and a sand sensory bin for spring.


Make sure of the mounds shredded paper you may have on hand.  Grab some from the dollar store or make your own, shredded paper makes a fun but messy sensory bin filler.

Paper sensory bin fillers


Salt is an inexpensive and easy option for sensory bin fillers.  Find out how to dye salt to make beautiful colored salt for hours of fun sensory play!

salt makes a great sensory bin filler


Have you ever thought of water as a sensory bin filler?  No wonder water is one of our favorite choices for sensory play!  There are so many things you can do with water, including freezing it and creating a fun ice melt play activity.

Check out these fun sensory play ideas with water and ice:  

10 Water Sensory Bin Fillers


All kinds of household dried beans and peas make a great sensory bin filler.  Plus, they store well and keep for ages!

Popping corn makes another fun sensory bin filler!

dried beans are great as a sensory bin filler


Cloud dough makes our list of favorite sensory bin fillers because it is so versatile for playing with.  It also keeps nicely for quite a while.

Check out our homemade Cloud Dough Recipe

Here’s a few variations for scented play with cloud dough:

Cloud Dough Activities Quick Sensory Play Ideas

These sensory fillers make awesome any day play and can be easily adapted to fit your themes, lesson plans or play ideas for toddlers, kindergarteners and preschoolers.


 What are your favorite sensory bin fillers?


Click on the image below or on the link for more fun sensory play recipes for kids.

Sensory Play Recipes for Kids Tactile Activities


  1. These ideas are great! I feel like I’m always using rice and pasta, so it’s nice to have a list of other fillers to refer to. Thanks for the ideas.

  2. Well I guess that is really up for you to decide as a parent and how much supervision you are going to give. My son did not put things in his mouth very much. We gave him a mini rice bin on his 1st birthday because we were comfortable with it. We didn’t look back after that. You could try large fillers and closely supervise. I always hesitate to use food since I don’t want to encourage eating sensory bin fillers. If the child is still quite mouthy you could go the treasure basket route!

  3. Ooh yes I have wanted to try epsom salts too! Oatmeal is also a good one we will be using very soon for a baking bin 😉 Thank you for the reply!

  4. You have a good variety of filler ideas here! Our regular sensory bins have Easter grass, blue rice and lentils in them. We have also used wheat, sand, dirt and water beads and I made green jello for a sensory bin once. And, of course, water is always a favourite 🙂 I really have to work on finding a better storage system for my bins though. I like your idea of using the freezer bags. Thanks for sharing!

    I found your post on the Bee Crafty Kids blog hop.

  5. I have used shredded paper from our school paper shredder – there is always lots of that around… and it’s free!

  6. We have used that too! Very fun and easy clean up. Great free resources are always the best. We hid pom poms in ours and use tweezers to sort and count.

  7. Wow, this is the most comprehensive list of ideas for sensory bins that I’ve ever seen in one place! I especially like that there is so much stuff for boys. I have a 4 year old girl and 2 year old boy who is always wanting to copy what his big sister is doing! Thanks for the great ideas! Pinning and “liking”!
    (Stopping by from KBN FB hop!)

  8. I like the ones that you have to hydrate. I buy them in the floral sections of craft stores. The already hydrated ones are ok too but don’t get as big!

  9. Wal-Mart sells 2.5 gallon Ziploc bags. These are perfect for most items. Including the filler.

  10. Yes, zip lock bags have been my friend for so many things. What doesn’t stay in a bin gets put right into zip lock bags!

  11. My preschool class loves the fake plastic snow, I usually pick it up after Christmas for less the 25 cents a bag. We put it in our sensory table with plastic snowmen one week and article animals another week. They also like bird seed, was that mentioned? I don’t remember it. I also love to pick up some cinnamon in bulk or cheap at the dollar store and add it to the oatmeal when we use it especially in the fall

  12. Well we had success with one bag for a very long time and it was awesome. We moved and decided it would be time to clean out the bin and get a new bag. Well that bag hatched some sort of fly/insect and it was so gross. I tried another bag and it did the same. It may just depend on how fresh it is where you are. An associate built his kids a huge sensory bin in the house and filled it with corn. It did the same thing to him and it was a huge mess. Hope that helps!

  13. If you freeze the feed corn in your freezer for a few days to a week, it will kill the eggs inside the corn and that won’t happen.

  14. Just wondering why you recommend not using animal feed corn for the bin. I was looking for a cheaper way to purchase corn and I though maybe animal feed but then I read this. Can you explain?

  15. Oops! I just saw another person asked the same question and you already posted an answer. I missed that comment the first time through. Thanks!

  16. We have had issues with bugs hatching in several of the bags we have purchased. Some bags were fine but others not so much. It happens overnight and it’s pretty yucky. We had no idea that it was going to happen either.

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