Quick & Easy Sensory Bins
Today we are talking about sensory bins! Out of all the activity options and suggestions out there, sensory bins are by far my favorite. While it’s true that sensory bins can be messy, and may take a bit of planning to execute, I definitely feel like the benefits outweigh the work. Plus, we’re going to make things super easy for you with a quick cheatsheet of sensory bin fillers and tools for endless hours of sensory play (available at the bottom of this page).
Why Sensory Bins?
So you might be wondering what the big deal is about sensory bins. Without getting too far into developmental theory and the mass amount of information out there regarding Sensory Processing, we’ll give a quick layman’s terms overview of why sensory bins should be part of your dayhome program. First and foremost, sensory bins have the ability to elevate virtually any learning experience. Why? Because when we involve the senses we are providing for a richer and more meaningful learning opportunity. Engaging the senses allows for a more holistic approach to learning that can’t be rivalled by any lesson plan (no matter how good it is).
Think about it...
How quickly can you learn new information if it’s taught to you in a song? Engaging the senses activates the development of neural pathways – which by and large are the key to not only absorbing new information, but retaining it. While there are many different ways to create new neural pathways, engaging the senses is the quickest and most effective of the bunch (pun intended).
So how does this relate back to sensory bins?
Well, if you consider the various sensory inputs that sensory bins allow for, you can quickly see why they are so beneficial.
Each of these can be incorporated into a sensory bin, allowing for maximum sensory integration, and optimum neural pathway development. Throw in some child directed interests, and you have a recipe for success. Suddenly a simple interest in farm equipment turns into a deep exploration across all of the developmental domains (language, cognitive, physical, social and emotional).
So where to start?
Well, you definitely don’t need to make it complicated. Check out Pinterest for tons of ideas to get you started. We even have an entire board dedicated to sensory bins that you can find here. We’ve also put together a quick cheatsheet that will give you some quick and easy ideas for the various fillers and tools you can use in your sensory bins (you can find it below).
Don't over think it.
Seriously, if you just need somewhere to start – we’ve got you covered. I recently recreated our most popular pin – a flower garden sensory bin – and my kids had an absolute blast with it. It’s perfect for spring, and really easy to organize. I found all of the required materials at my local Dollarama and was able to make 2 full bins (with tons of left overs) for $27.
The best part? This activity took me less than 10 minutes to put together. All you need is a couple of bins, some potting soil, fake flowers, moss, and some decorative rocks. The rest is discretional! I added some garden plaques, biodegradable pots, and a few shovels as extras. You might even already have this stuff around the house! Using potting soil as the filler, this particular bin hits 4 of the 5 senses. Not too shabby!
Get the Cheatsheet
Without further ado, we’ve put together a quick and easy sensory bin cheatsheet that provides tons of ideas for sensory bin fillers and tools. You can grab the download by clicking on the image below. If you’re looking for even more support, we’ve also put together a sensory bin planner that is one of the many resources available within the Embolden VIP Membership Community. This plug and play resource will help you plan meaningful sensory bin experiences that tick the boxes on all of the senses, and developmental domains. You can learn more about Embolden VIP here.