ABCs of Sensory Bins: A-E

ABCs of Sensory Bins


Welcome to day 1 of my ABC series (just a week late).  Over the next 5 days I’m going to explore sensory bins and try to offer as many tips and tricks as possible!


Assembling the bins and knowing what to put in is half the battle.  I have a base, or template if you will, for each bin.  I always have rice, beans, or something similar that can be used for scooping and pour.  And naturally, spoons and/or cups.

Next I try to think of my goal with the bin.  I love themed bins so I decide on the overall color.  Right now I am working on a desert bin and I decided on brown as my main color.  I chose brown rice for the base and green cups to look similar to cactus.

Then I like to add some fun things like glow sticks, miniature animal figures, gems, etc!  At this point, your imagination is the limit!



Alphabet: The Adventures of Bear
Blog Me Mom

Arctic: The Adventures of Bear
In Lieu of Preschool

Angry Birds: 1+1+1=1
Counting Coconuts

Apple: Pink and Green Mama


What is the best sized bin?

I personally think the best sized bin is whatever bin you have available in your house already!  I’ve used these Under the Bed Storage Boxes, as well as much smaller bins.  Think outside the bin, though!  Use a bowl, or a tray!  As long as it “contains” the mess it is a good option for a bin!

Some great sensory “bins” are actually in buckets and others are in the bath!



Bugs: Play Through the Day
Living Life Intentionally

Buttons: 3 Dinosaurs

Birthday: Growing a Jeweled Rose
One Perfect Day
Hands on as we Grow
Counting Coconuts

Bees: Counting Coconuts

Butterfly: Hands On As We Grow
Jada Roo Can Do

Brave: Counting Coconuts

Birds: 1+1+1=1

Balloons: Teach Preschool

Beach: Mama Peapod
Growing A Jeweled Rose
Jada Roo Can Do

Bubbles: Hands on as we Grow



One of my favorite side benefits to sensory bins is the fact that they are naturally messy, and the natural consequence is for the kids to clean up!  This is a great lesson in cleaning up after you play.

While playing with a sensory bin I try not to be the “clean nazi” reminding my kids to keep everything in the bin.  Instead, I remind them that whatever comes out of the bin must be put back in when they’re finished, so they might as well try to keep the items mostly contained!

Counting: Connecting Family and Seoul

Candy:  Counting Coconuts

Camping: Jada Roo Can Do

Construction: Pink and Green Mama
Happy Hooligans

Coffee: Pink and Green Mama

Cloud: Happy Hooligans

Corn: Hands on as we Grow

Cowboy: Jada Roo Can Do

Dumping Out

So many people are concerned with their children dumping out the box – this is another one of those popular questions and/or concerns!

To date, my kids have never just dumped out a box.  We’ve had boxes split, but never intentionally dumped.  If they were to dump it out, we would clean it up and promptly put it away, and then try again another time.  Logi-Bear has not participated with many of our sensory bins yet, but we are working on integrating him into our sensory play.  To start, I keep his experiences with the bins short, so he does not get bored and start throwing everything.  While he is still in the learning stage, I have to keep a close eye on him anyway, so it’s easy to be there to intervene when any dumping or throwing begins.  In the event that something is dumped out or thrown, I verbally remind him that we do not throw/the contents stay IN the bin and direct him to clean up what has been dumped out.  If it continues I will warn him that we will have to put away the sensory bin, or just put it away if he seems bored or uninterested.

Stay consistent with the rules and they will not dump out the bins!

Dinosaurs: Royal Baloo
Mama Miss
Happy Hooligans
My Buddies and I

Doctor: 1+1+1=1

Ducks: Jada Roo Can Do




One of the questions I get most often about sensory bins is regarding the expense.  Aren’t sensory bins expensive?  Well, yes they can be!  But with a bit of thought and planning you can keep the expense to a minimum!

For most of my bins I try to use something very inexpensive and re useable as the base, such as beans, rice, dirt, and water.  If you plan ahead you can buy more expensive items that will be reused for multiple bins such as water beads, pom poms, rocks, and popcorn kernels.  You can also use small toys that you already own such as legos, beads, magnetic/wooden numbers and letters, buttons, and figurines!

As for the rest of the box, look for things you already own.  Every sensory box should include something to scoop and pour with.  You can use spoons and cups right from your cupboard!  Dollar tree (and other dollar stores), and the One Spot at Target are also great areas to look at for these items.  Add little toys, recyclable materials (old water bottles, toilet paper rolls…), and items from nature (leaves, rocks…).

Easter: 1+1+1=1
Jada Roo Can Do


Check out more ABC series from other great bloggers!

Learning Through Play:

5 thoughts on “ABCs of Sensory Bins: A-E”

  1. I still struggle with all the dumping and throwing around of stuff in the sensory bin. Aarya is 33 months and no matter how many times I take away the bins, he still does it. That is the only reason why I do not do many sensory bins with him. 
    Another thing I have noticed though is, when I "hide things in the rice or other things, he is oo caught up in finding it to really dump it all out – and that I do a lot with him 🙂
    Thanks for this list, I really need to restart the sensory bin experience – because it really helps in the language development and am taking lot of iedas from your blog.

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