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Winter Day Activity: Snow-themed sensory bin

A few months ago, A’s daycare was closed for teacher training. I took three days off work and hosted ‘Mom Camp.’ It was pretty awesome…until 3:30 on the first day when we had played with every toy in the house, gone to the park, run errands and read books several times. I was stumped and I still had two whole days to go! A. tore around the house for a while, full of energy after her nap and I put on my thinking cap.

A’s daycare is amazing and the teachers are super creative. I remembered a morning when they dug around with shovels and toy construction trucks in a bin full of coffee grounds. Inspired by this idea, I started digging through the cupboards to see what might make for a fun activity.

Luckily, we have a well-stocked pantry! I came up with a bag of rice, black beans and lentils. I lined up a few pie tins, poured in the rice/beans/lentils and handed A. some measuring cups and spoons.

She played with this set up for an entire HOUR.

Seriously. I was hooked.

Sensory bins are great for toddlers. The colors, texture and sounds stimulate little senses, encourage tots to explore and engage with different objects. Sensory bins give us a lot of options for play and learning. We can play together when we have some time before before school or open one up to keep her busy while we hustle to walk the dog and make dinner after a busy day at work. Contents can be just for fun or designed to encourage skills including sorting, color recognition and more.

I’d been mulling over ideas for sensory bins after finding this great one at Play Create Explore. My first theme was fall, but we’ve also tried ocean and forest themed bins. We woke up this morning to the first official snow of the season, perfect timing for the snow themed bin I created for A. yesterday.











Here are the items I used for this theme:

Plastic shoe bin with lid
White paper shreds
Snowflake ornaments
Bubble wrap
Clear glass scatter beads

For just a few dollars, I have a fun, flexible and engaging new activity for A. that we can use for many skills and free play. When we’re done with this theme, the snowflakes and paper shreds can be used for art projects. We’ll reuse our bin again for other sensory activities.

Have you tried any sensory bin themes that your little ones loved?

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