Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Sensory Bin Supplies

Sensory bins are fantastic! They keep Munchkin and Bean busy for hours. I try to change it up on a daily basis, so they don't get bored playing with the same thing. But we aren't on any kind of schedule. I keep all the supplies in separate Ziploc bags and let Bean pick out which one she's in the mood for. There are tons of things you can add to sensory bins, the list is practically endless. Just keep in mind that what may be fine for one child to use might not be ideal for the next. Example, my son Munchkin loves to put everything in his mouth, so obviously I wouldn't add anything he could choke on. In the same sense, you don't want to add anything that could make them sick if they ingest anything. So if you decide to add something like potpourri as a natural filler, just be sure that it's non-toxic and that the scents or ingredients don't cause an allergic reaction. We do use potpourri but I make it myself using all natural ingredients.

Here's a list of some things you can use to fill the Sensory Bin:
Rice (dye the rice using food colouring or liquid watercolours if you are working on colour themed bins)
Beans (different kinds of beans can be used to represent things like baby dinosaur eggs and can be used to sort different colours and shapes)
Dried peas
Oatmeal (perfect for 'real food' play, but also good as 'construction site' material)
Flour (mixed with a small amount of oil makes it moldable like wet sand minus the gritty feeling and is quite soft. When added with water, you can use food colouring and make paint.)
Foam (scraps from foam sheets are often used as sprinkles or added to texturize our homemade playdough)
Shredded paper
Easter basket plastic filling
Rocks (a favourite for our dinosaur home, Bean builds caves out of rocks and uses shells as nests with beans for eggs)
Tea, spices
Natural things like grass, leaves, branches, flowers, but they can also be fake
Shells (great for water tables and add plastic fish and water plants for an aquatic home)
Play Dough
Fish tank gravel (just be sure to wash it before playing with it!)
Feathers, faux fur, leather
Water (we sometimes add food colouring and bubbles)
Plastic animals, dinosaurs, birds and fish will really bring the Sensory Bin environments to life!

Just get creative and ask your little one what they want to add. :)
Picking a theme first may help you decide what to add to your Sensory Bin.
Here's a few suggestions:
Ocean - fish and sea creatures, fish tank gravel, plastic plants, boats, fishing rod (use small magnets on the hook and fish), water
Jungle - animals, trees, leaves, dirt/sand, branches
Jurassic - dinosaurs, sand, gravel, trees, excavation tools (shovel, paintbrush, magnify glass)
Baking/cooking - colander, dried pasta (or even cooked), sauces, spices, tea, cups, plates, utensils, mixing bowls, wooden spoons, measuring cups, play dough for molding food
Dress-up - jewelry, shoes, scarves, hats, dresses, costumes, face paint
Farm - barn, animals, vegetables, beans, popsicle stick fences
Pirate - water, pirate ships, sand, plastic gold coins, plastic jewels, treasure chest, buried treasure map
Fairy Houses - bark, branches, leaves, rocks, sand, mushrooms, tree stumps, plastic fairies

There are so many Sensory Bin ideas!

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