One of my favorite things to put together for the girls is sensory bins! I love taking our theme of the week and pulling some simple supplies together to create an inviting bin that can be used to practice a variety of skills! Today I thought I’d share with you how to set up a simple FALL themed bin and how you might use it throughout the week to play and learn with your child or kiddos in the classroom.
First things first… put that bin together! Start by picking out your main base filler and adding it to a bin (big or small – you choose). For this bin, I used a mix of dried beans in “fallish” colors. I like using dried beans because they are easy to find, inexpensive, and can be used over and over! This bean mix includes dried chickpeas, green split peas, and pinto beans. I layered them for an inviting fall look and tossed in a few leaves and fall gems (because #whynot) and this bin came together in a matter of minutes! *Note the beans will get mixed during play and that’s OKAY!
Next, add in a few tools. Scoops, tongs, spoons, cups, bowls, basically scour your kitchen for things your littles can use to work on those fine motor skills and toss them in or add them to a play tray right next to it.
Time to EXPLORE & PLAY! At the start of the week, the first thing I do is just set the bin out and let the girls at it. No directions. Just a time for them to explore, play, talk, imagine and create. I’m serious, sit back and let them do this! There is so much learning going on. They are building fine motor skills with all the scooping and pouring, improving communication skills, practicing social skills as they work together, exploring textures, etc.
The next day I might start to introduce a few invitations to work on transfer skills, sorting activities, building, puzzles (just toss them in), etc. In this picture, my youngest is working on finding all the gems and transferring them to the bowl using tongs. This activity is a little more directed play, but still inviting and engaging.
The following days, after some time playing and imagining, I’ll use the bin to work on basic academic skills. Why? Because tossing letters, numbers, shapes, word cards, and MORE in the bin makes things more exciting and fun!
In the picture above you can see how I used a set of magnetic letters and this (FREE to e-mail subscribers) alphabet sound sheet to set up a simple beginning sound match activity. Toss the letters in and you’re all set! Snag this printable and MORE alphabet freebies when you join our e-mail community HERE.
In the picture below I chose to work on fall vocabulary with this fall read and color set. I placed vocabulary picture cards in the bin then asked my girls to pick a card, read the sentence, and match the picture. My girls really enjoyed this and it kept them engaged until all words were chatted about. Yay! Find my fall word cards and activities here.
Putting together simple themed sensory bins doesn’t have to be hard and once you get the basics down you’ll be set to put one together in no time. They are perfect for pulling out when you just need some time to get dinner on the table (and so BENEFICIAL – all the skills), but also, such great tools for making learning activities extra inviting for littles.
Are you a fan of sensory bins? What’s your take?
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