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Spring-themed Sensory Bins for Toddlers & Preschoolers

May 08, 2024    |   Outdoor & Sensory Play

Sensory bins are an engaging hands-on activity for young children that encourages learning through tactile investigation and exploration. Sensory bins offer a fun way for children to play and discover by using their senses to interact with a variety of textures. They also allow children to practice important skills that will become the foundation for additional learning and development. In this article, we highlight the connection between sensory bins and skill-building, and share some ideas for seasonal, Spring-themed bins you can make for the little ones in your care to enjoy. 

The Benefits of Sensory Bins for Learning & Development

Sensory bins engage young children in a playful activity that also encourages them to practice skills that will support healthy learning and development. The Occupational Therapy Institute at Pennsylvania’s Salus University lists the key development benefits of sensory bin exploration for young children, and offers suggestions for using sensory bins to support early skill-building: 

  • Fine Motor Skill Engagement. Sensory bins can help to strengthen small muscles in hands and fingers as children stir, scoop, dig and pour. You can include tweezers, spoons and funnels to encourage tool use and develop grasp patterns needed for handwriting and managing feeding utensils. 
  • Increasing Socialization with Peers. Sensory bins can support social skills, such as taking turns, teamwork, cooperation and communication when they are part of play with peers, siblings, and friends. 
  • Opportunities to Practice Language Skills. As children explore the various items in the bins, talk with them about the materials that they are discovering by introducing them to new words and encouraging them to practice communicating through conversation.

Spring-themed Sensory Bins for Toddlers & Preschoolers

You can make your own sensory bin by purchasing a large plastic tub or container and filling it up with interesting and engaging items for little ones to explore. You’ll find inspiration and ideas for creating Spring flower-themed bins below. Each of these are easily customizable, so you can add or swap in materials you already have on-hand and create a bin of your own!

Flower Sensory Bin with Black Beans 

For this simple sensory bin, you’ll need only a few materials: dried black beans, small terracotta pots (plastic potting containers can also be used for a more durable option), toy shovels, plastic tongs, and artificial flowers. Start by filling your bin up with the dried black beans. Add in the pots and flowers and then set the bin out for children to explore by using the shovels and tongs. Encourage children to explore the beans and the tools, and to plant the flowers in the pots.

Flower & Pom-Poms Sensory Bin 

This pom-pom sensory bin requires only a few items and can be set up in just a few minutes! All you will need are brown pom-poms, artificial flowers, and kid-friendly gardening tools. Fill the sensory bin with the pom-poms, and then add the flowers and child-friendly gardening tools. If you’re feeling extra crafty, you might line the bottom of your sensory bin with brown felt to mimic soil, but it’s not necessary. Once you have everything in the bin, encourage little ones to explore the differences in textures with their hands and to use the gardening tools to scoop the various items.

Flower Soup Sensory Bin

Flower soup is a sensory bin utilizing flowers, petals, and water. Start by inviting children to go into your yard and pick any flowers that they can find. If you don’t have any to pick, you can pick up flowers from the store, use artificial flowers instead, or use other items from nature such as leaves and twigs. Once you have your collection of natural items ready to go, place them into a large plastic container and then add water. Add plastic cups, ladles, large spoons, and any other items you have available to encourage little ones to scoop, mix, and pour. 

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