Sensory bins allow children to explore, create, and imagine all while engaging their senses. These bins are especially perfect for young children, such as toddlers or preschoolers. If you are looking for sensory bin ideas for the young ones that use safe materials but will keep them engaged, here are some ideas:
Note: Although these sensory bins use edible materials to prevent children from eating dangerous materials, they still should be under adult supervision. Additionally, make sure that whatever you add into your sensory bin is big enough not to be a choking hazard for the children’s age. If you want any of these sensory bins to be totally edible, replace any plastic animals/insects with candy animals/insects.
Pond Sensory Bin
Water beads make for a pleasant sensory experience. However, most water beads that you buy online can be an issue if toddlers try to eat them. Therefore, you can use this resource by Fun Littles to make edible water beads from tapioca just to be safe. For this activity by Fun Littles, simply fill up a bin with your water beads, some foam lily pads, plastic or foam frogs and bugs, and anything else to make the pond more engaging. The young ones will love exploring the pond habitat while playing with the bouncy water beads.
Bugs Sensory Bin
This is another sensory bin that uses a few edible materials to make the activity safe for toddlers and preschoolers. This activity by My Bored Toddler, uses a plastic bin with edible dirt made from flour and cornstarch (If you’d like, you probably could use crushed Oreos instead) and plastic bugs so the children can dig through the dirt to find the bugs. The edible soil can crumble like dirt and hold its shape if packed down, just like real dirt!
Baby Bird Eats the Worm
Need a sensory bin that practices fine motor skills and sorting? This one by Modern Preschool is perfect! It uses plastic birds of different colors, coordinating pipe cleaners (cut like worms), and bowls for sorting. The children are then able to pick up the colored “worms” and sort them to the bowl with the matching colored bird to feed the birds. There are also different ways to play this game for different ages of children, making it perfect for all ages!
Ice Cream Sensory Bin
This sensory bin by Learning Resources is brightly colored and only uses a few supplies. The base of this activity is rice (dyed ahead of time by the adult with food coloring) that can be scooped into paper or foam “ice cream cones” using paper cups. These ice cream cones can also be decorated with pom-poms or “sprinkles” made from cut pipe cleaners. Additionally, this sensory bin practices fine motor skills. It can also help build up muscle memory to help with handwriting skills!
Farm Animal Sensory Bin
It is no secret that children love playing in the dirt. This is a sensory bin from Coffee Cups and Crayons that uses our edible dirt to keep the young ones entertained. Provide a container full of edible dirt (made from crushed Oreos or the recipe from the bugs sensory bin). This bin should have plastic farm animals in the dirt. Then, get another container full of water and washcloths, brushes, or sponges. The little ones can take the “dirty” farm animals and wash them off in the water bin. This is also perfect for a warm, sunny day!
Sand and Rocks Sensory Bin
This one is perfect for the little ones that love trucks and rocks! For this sensory bin by Frogs and Nails and Puppy Dog Tail, you can substitute sand for brown sugar to make it safe. Fill up a tub with the sugar, rocks, and plastic trucks and bulldozers. The website also used PVC connectors to create tunnels for the trucks, but cut paper towel rolls would probably work just as well!
Pasta or Rice Sensory Bin
When all else fails, and you need an easy sensory bin with things you already have at home, My Bored Toddler’s pasta sensory bin will work just fine. Fill up a tub with pasta of different shapes and sizes. You can also fill up a tub with rice instead of pasta, or a mix of rice and pasta! Add some toys or keep it how it is. The possibilities are endless. It will provide just as much of a sensory experience as any of the other sensory bins.
Any of these sensory bins would be perfect for the young ones, and you won’t have to worry about the materials being used because most of them are edible! Remember, you can substitute any of the materials used in these sensory bins for completely edible alternatives.