I have always seen cool ideas on Pinterest and Facebook for sensory bins and sensory activities for kids. To me, they always looked a little complicated, messy and like more clutter for my house. I want my kids to have sensory activities but usually leave that for playing outside. Then, after way too much time stuck inside due to a cold winter filled with too many sick days, I tried to make a few sensory bins. They were easier than I thought and the kids loved them. They can be a little messy, because seriously… who has a toddler that is going to not throw the beans? I am not promising you won’t need a broom when you are done BUT if you have big kids at home that can count…. offer them a prize if they can pick up and count 100 beans. Also, while I made these for my toddler and preschooler, my 6 and 7 year old loved these activities too. So here are my favorite simple sensory activities for toddlers and preschoolers:
3 Simple Sensory Activities for Kids
1. Animal Hide and Seek Sensory Activity
This is a really simple sensory activity. I bought 2 bags of dried white beans. I filled a plastic bin with some small animal figurines that we already had and poured the dried beans on top of them. Then I had the kids try and dig around and find the animals. You can also add in a little counting by saying “there are 10 animals hiding” and have them find and count up to 10.
2. Rainbow Noodles Sensory Activity
If you have bigger kids at home, here’s a way to make this sensory activity a science project for them first. Before you make the sensory bin, you have to dye to spaghetti. Here’s how to do that:
How to Dye Spaghetti & Make Rainbow Spaghetti
- Get thick spaghetti (any spaghetti will work, but the thicker, the less it will stick together )
- Cook the spaghetti 1 to 2 minutes LESS than al dente
- Drain and run really cold water over it
- Separate it into 1 gallon ziplock bags, 1 bag per color you want
- Pour in some vegetable oil, i’d say about 1/4 cup per half lb of pasta, but even a little bit will work
- Add in the food coloring and mix up the pasta, food coloring and vegetable in the ziplock bag. Add in more food coloring if the dolor isn’t dark enough
- Let it sit for about 10-15 min and then drain it and run more cold water over it. The more you run water over it and rinse it, the less likely it is that their hands will get dye on them while playing
- Now play and have fun!
It’s fun for them to see the colors lined up and then to mix up all the pasta and make it rainbow spaghetti. All of my kids (ages 2-7) loved this. The big kids dyed the pasta and then they all played.
3. Construction Site Sensory Activity
My kids love this bin! We actually made this one a few months ago and have played with it inside and outside. The beans are super light, so kids can easily use the scoop on their construction vehicles to actually scoop “dirt” and be like real construction people. It’s also really fun to fill the back of a toy dump truck with the beans and rocks.
Construction Site Sensory Bin Supply List:
- Dry black beans (I used 2 bags)
- A few large rocks
- Construction vehicles
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