If you’ve ever thought about making a Sensory Bin for your toddler or child but are a bit intimidated, don’t be! Sensory Bins are an amazing way to encourage play based learning in your child, and they’re so easy to put together using items you already have at home!
There are so many benefits to sensory play, but some of the biggest benefits are helping encourage the development of motor skills, building nerve connections in the brain & helping walk a child through experimentation and making conclusions. Sensory play stimulates a child’s sense of touch, smell, taste, sight and hearing.
It’s so much more than just playing with textures and shapes!
What you include in a sensory bin really depends on what you either have around the house, or what you think you’d like to see your child playing with. For example, we have it in good faith to suggest that some of our working moms here at Cara Supply will N E V E R let play dough enter their homes - they may opt for a different ‘touchable’ base element to their bins ;)
Some may take some of the teethers they have at home and ‘graduate’ them into a sensory bin for continued play (Yep! Teethers aren’t just for babies!). Some might want a theme, while others may just include whatever is colorful and interesting looking.
What you include in your sensory bin should always reflect what you’re comfortable with as a parent or guardian. What’s more? They’re so easy to put together! Have we sold you yet?? ;)
We’ve broken down an easy DIY Sensory Bin for you to base your own bin off of, and included ideas for what you can use for some of the different elements.
1. Play Base
Your Sensory Bin will need to have a ‘foundation’ for your child to build all their fun on top of. There’s lots of options! You can use the entire container you store your bin materials in as the Play Base, or include a mat for your child to start off from. A Play Base makes cleaning up a little easier, and helps your child to focus their play and attention to one area at a time. In our Sensory Bin, we’ve been able to use not only just the bin holding everything, but we’ve also included a Silicone Craft Mat.
Some other ideas for Play Bases? We found some super duper soft car wash mitts and our kids immediately thought they looked like a blue pool of water. It’s amazing how they see things! Sand paper, cardboard, terry cloth, felt, microfiber - you can find interesting play base textures everywhere!
2. Small Texture
Children (and let's be honest, adults too!) love to play with small textures. There’s a reason you momentarily want to dig your hands into a container of beads ;). We learn about texture from day one by using our touch and feel, and playing with small material or texture is a huge part of that development.
Including Texture in your bin is a great way to encourage that tactile development. We wanted to use something easy to find, so we chose to use Black Turtle Beans! You can use so many small textures! Dried rice, dried beans, water beads, buttons, feathers… the list is endless! *Always keep in mind the age and habits of the child that will play with your bin. If they’re quite young and willing to ‘taste’ all the elements, a smaller item like dried beans may not be the best material for them.
3. Medium Sized Fillers
Varying sizes and shapes is a great way to keep your Sensory Bin interesting to your child! We decided to mix up both the sizes and the texture of our Medium Sized Fillers by including a handful of Oval Faceted Silicone Beads (they kind of looked like rocks to us :P), soft colorful Orange Crochet Beads, and some fun character beads in the form of Car Accent Beads! A benefit to using silicone beads is that they can be washed if they were to get too dirty!
Some other ideas for fillers could be large pom poms, rocks, pipe cleaners, small pieces of wood, popsicle sticks, etc.
4. Large Open Ended Pieces
Based on what you may be able to find for your sensory bin, try to keep your eye out for larger items with unique textures! Open-ended play pieces encourage creative and imaginative play! We spotted these steel scouring pads in the cleaning aisle at the grocery store and they were perfect! Interesting enough to touch and feel, big enough to vary the sizes included in our bin, and weird enough looking to make a child curious ;)
5. Scoops & Cups
You’ve got a texture base that’s begging to be moved and scooped, so what do you use? Anything you can find! We found some small paper cups at our local grocery store and thought they were the perfect size for small hands.
Everything from coffee scoops to sandbox toys can be useful for your scoops, but make sure that they’re the right size in proportion to your texture base. Anything too big or difficult to work with will end up in a frustrated child and a way bigger mess than you bargained for.
Did you peep the cute silicone muffin liners in our bin? We thought these would make organizing a bin much easier and double as a fun cup for playing with as well!
6. Main Character or Play Item
If you started your Sensory Bin wanting a themed bin you probably already have a main character or idea picked out. We wanted to do a construction theme and found some little construction vehicles we know our kids will love. What kid wouldn’t want to load up a dump truck with black turtle beans??
A great way to graduate teethers already at home or to introduce a fun washable main character is to include a silicone teether in your Sensory Bin!
We have so many adorable teethers to set your child’s imagination on fire! We opted to include a super adorable Pastel Blue Car Teether in our construction theme.
Pinterest is a black hole for Sensory Bin Theme ideas - you can do anything from Glitter Unicorns to Farming Scenes to Pirate Treasures. The theme isn’t the important part though, so don’t stress if you aren’t inspired to make a themed coordinated bin. The important part is providing a fun and engaging play experience for your kids!
You’ll have so much fun putting together your Sensory Bin - we know we did! If you make a Sensory Bin using any of our supplies make sure you tag us at #createdwithcarasupply! We love seeing how creative you are!
Do you have a sensory bin material or item that you love? Any tips to share with moms looking for ideas? Pop your comments below on this post!
Happy Creating ;)
*The products, materials, and supplies sold by Cara & Co. Silicone Craft Supply are intended for use by adults and should never be left unattended with a child.
***Small objects and beads can present choking hazards to young children. Never leave a child unattended with beads or other products. Always dispose of any damaged product. No product is completely indestructible, and fully formed teeth could potentially damage product if chewed aggressively, so responsible attentiveness is needed for any user or purchaser. Customers should always inspect and monitor their products, discontinuing use at the first sight of damage.
****Once our products have been sold and shipped to our customers, Cara & Co Silicone Craft Supply Inc., waives all responsibility and liability from the use of our products. Customers are responsible that their final products made from our supplies meet the appropriate safety requirements for their region. Our buyers understand that by purchasing our products or using suggestions from the above tutorial, the buyer assumes any and all responsibility and liability for the use of the products.
*****Cords, clasps and pacifier clips are not intended to be chewed on and may present choking hazards.