This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.
The Coral Reef is such an amazing habitat that is just bursting with life and colour. It also happens to be a really exciting sensory bin! Water-based sensory bins are always fun and provide so many sensory activities. For this one we focused on counting how many of each type of creature there was, finding certain coloured fish, lining them up in a pattern (fish, octopus, starfish - repeated) and naming them. We talked about the water temperature, why coral reefs are important for the ecosystem and why they are so fascinating to explore (the scuba diver did most of the exploring). J was here for this activity and it was interesting to learn what she already knew about coral reefs.
The set-up is simple. I filled the bottom layer of the storage container with small river rocks, then filled the bin half-way with warm water and added the fake plants. We used the Safari Ltd Coral Reef Toob and added a few other creatures from Safari Ltd Ocean Toob and other toys that we had that fit the theme. A towel under the bin also helps to catch water spilling out.
We have been reading Gail Gibbons Coral Reefs book and talked about the three different types of coral reefs there are. They decided this was a fringe reef, because the water was shallow like it would be near a shoreline.
They even found treasure that had been lost at sea!
When the bin was pushed gently back and forth it created waves and the fish and plants moved with the water.
These are the plants that the kids picked out at PetSmart. They have a weighted bottom that looks like a black rock, so they are perfect for our small worlds! (Also they were only .99 cents each!)
The fish and scuba diver did a lot of swimming around, but Munchkin did a lot of rearranging. This was not a calm coral reef. The habitat was ever-changing and he kept changing where the plants grew and piled mounds of the stones around the corners.
Occasionally he found a creature that he played with. This manta ray was a lucky one. :)
Please always supervise your children while playing and never leave them unattended.