Do you have a junior astronaut? Need a quick sensory activity to go with your space theme unit? Kids love sensory play. Whether you want to explore a popular theme, like space, or find a way to sneak in math skills, create a space sensory bin! With a few tips, tricks, and ideas, enjoy sensory play all year long! Grab a free printable space color-by-number activity pack and our how-to-make-a-sensory bin guide!

Dinosaur Sensory Bin

Space Sensory Activities

Kids love to dig their hands into a newly made sensory bin, scoop and pour, discover, and carry out storytelling. Creating a space sensory bin with aquarium sand or gravel is a super fun theme for year-round play. We have fantastic space activities to try!

Below, you’ll find many resources to help you assemble an entire space theme unit. Your kids will have so much fun with the hands-on activities below.


Hands-On Sensory Play Suggestions

Add accessories and tools that encourage fine motor skills with the young age group for which a sensory bin is designed. This can be as simple as scooping the filler into a small container and then dumping it into another container.

For a more complex activity, provide kitchen tongs to grab objects and transfer them to a container. Read a story about astronauts in space!

How to Make a Sensory Bin Video

Free How to Make a Sensory Bin Guide

It’s as easy as 1-2-3-4 to make a sensory bin! Get started today with this simple sensory bin guide.

Space Sensory Bin Supplies

NOTE: This sensory bin uses aquarium sand. Additionally, you can use moon sand or aquarium gravel! I’ve added links below. You can purchase this material, but you can also make your own. We have moon sand, kinetic sand, and a cloud dough recipe you can try.

Optional Sensory Bin Fillers: You aren’t limited to the exact materials we have used for this sensory bin. Use the images below to guide the creation of a space sensory bin. Feel free to combine and explore materials that work for you in your setting.

Optional Sensory Bin Theme Items: Many items can be purchased through Amazon or at the local dollar store. Additionally, stores such as Hobby Lobby or Michaels Crafts are great resources for sensory bins!

The following links show a few suggestions from Amazon, but go ahead and see what you have on hand! I am an Amazon Affiliate and receive compensation for items ordered through these links.

SAFETY NOTE: We do NOT recommend using water beads due to extreme health risks. Please DO NOT use this as a sensory bin filler.


How to Set Up a Simple Space Sensory Bin

It’s pretty much a 1-2-3 process for setting up a sensory bin. Remember, it will never look quite as pretty as the moment before your kids dig into it! Don’t make it too complicated.

STEP 1 FILLER: Sand is a fantastic and highly reusable sensory bin filler for various themes. Spread it around the base of your sensory bin. Want to know more about choosing a sensory bin? Keep reading!

STEP 2 THEMED ITEMS: Place the other items on top!


STEP 3 BIG ITEMS: Add a scoop, kitchen tongs, and a container if desired.


ENJOY! All that’s left is to invite the kids to explore the contents of the space sensory bin! 

TIP: Always add a few themed books, games, or puzzles to the side of the bin as a nice transition between activities. Grab the free space color by number pack!

Free Dinosaur Color By Number

More Fun Space Activities to Try

The Best Sensory Bin, Tub, or Sensory Table To Use

Please note I am sharing Amazon Affiliate links below. I may receive compensation through any purchases made.

Start with the right sensory bin or tub when creating a sensory bin for kids of all ages. With the right size bin, kids will be at ease playing with the contents, and the mess can be kept to a minimum.

Is a sensory table a good choice? A more expensive, heavy-duty sensory table, such as this one, allows one or more kids to stand and play comfortably. This was always my son’s favorite sensory bin, and it works just as well for home use as it does in the classroom. Roll it right outside!

If you need a sensory bin set on a table, make sure the sides are not too tall so kids do not feel like they are struggling to reach into it. Aim for a side height of around 3.25 inches. If you can place it on a child-size table, that makes it much better. Under the bed storage bins also work well for this. Grab a plastic kitchen sink dish pan from the dollar store if you need a quick, cheap alternative!

Unless you have space restrictions, try to pick a size that gives your kids room to play around without continually knocking the contents out of the bin. These more compact sensory bins with lids are a good alternative.

Sensory Bin Tips and Tricks

TIP: Due to various sensory needs, some kids may feel more comfortable standing to engage in the activity. Sitting on the floor or kneeling in front of a sensory bin may also be uncomfortable. My son’s sensory needs made standing the best choice for us.

TIP: When designing a themed sensory bin, consider how many items you put into the bin versus the size of the bin. Too many items may feel overwhelming. If your kid is playing happily with the sensory bin, resist the urge to add just one more thing!

TRICK: It’s important for the adult to model the appropriate use of sensory bins and to keep a close eye on young kids who may want to throw the filler and items. Keep a kid-size broom and dustpan handy to help them learn how to clean up spills.

Learn more about sensory bins here!

Homemade Sensory Play Recipes

Printable Space Projects Pack

With 240+ pages of space theme fun, you can easily explore classic space themes with your kiddos! Celebrate the 1969 lunar landing with easy-to-do activities at home, with groups, at camp, or in the classroom. Read up on this famous event and learn more about Neil Armstrong.

  • Moon STEAM activities combine science, technology, engineering, art, and math with supply lists, set up and process photos, and science information. Craters, fizzy moon rocks, edible moon phases, watercolor galaxies, a DIY planetarium, bottle rocket, and so MUCH MORE!
  • Printable Moon STEM challenges that are simple but engaging for home or classroom. Also included, is a Moon theme STEM Story with challenges perfect for going on a STEM adventure inside or outside!
  • Moon phases & Constellation activities include charting moon phases, oreo moon phases, moon phases mini book, and more!
  • Solar System activities include a solar system lapbook template and plenty of information to learn about the solar system and beyond!
  • Moon extras include I-Spy, algorithm game, binary code project, 3D rocket building, thaumatropes, and MORE!