ABCs of Sensory Bins: U-Z

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Welcome to day 3 of the ABCs of Sensory Bins: K-O!  In case you missed previous days, here they are:
ABCs of Sensory Bins A-E
ABCs of Sensory Bins F-J
ABCs of Sensory Bins K-O
ABCs of Sensory Bins P-T

Or you can find links to all the days on the main page!

image Understanding:

Sensory bins can provide a lot of opportunity for understanding different concepts.  For younger kids, simply scooping and pouring can help them understand volume.  While transferring beans from one cup to another they might think “these cups are completely different heights, but the beans fill up the same amount of space”!

For older kids, the opportunities to understand advanced concepts are endless, depending on what is in the bin!  They might test rolling marbles down a small ramp (a ruler perhaps?).  Maybe they will mix dyed ice cubes to see what color mixtures they can come up with.  They might separate a bunch of gems into equal piles and get a head start at multiplication. 

Vocabulary:
I talked a bit about vocabulary in the language section, but I wanted to cover it a bit more (and frankly, vocab fit so well in the V spot that I couldn’t ignore it!)
I’ve found that a lot of new vocabulary words for my kids are glossed right over.  Unless I give them a lot of examples and show them real world application, they just don’t get it.  But sensory bins help to solidify it.  Some words I may never have a chance to show them in the real world, but in a small, pretend sensory bin or small world scene, we can act it out in a fun way!  And they retain this information much better than most other methods.
So the next time you’re having difficulty with a vocab word, think about how you could mimic it in a sensory bin!

Valentines: Happy Hooligans
                 Pink and Green Mama

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Who, what, when, where, why?:
Who are sensory bins for? Everyone!  Pretty much all children can benefit from play with a sensory bin!

What are sensory bins? Small bins (tubs, boxes, etc) that provide an opportunity to explore the senses.

When should I use sensory bins? Whenever it works for you!  I like to pull ours out when I’m in need of some quiet play, like during naptime!

Where should we play with our sensory bin? Tough question!  If the bin is particularly messy, I suggest bringing it outside or using a large drop cloth or table cloth.  If it’s not messy, but there are a lot of small parts that could potentially be spilled, play in an area that you can easily sweep up the contents.  I cannot tell you how many times I’ve swept up sensory bin contents and dumped them back in! (That’s not as easy with a vacuum)

Why make a sensory bin? I think of sensory bins as an easy way to provide a great sensory experience!  Our kids learn through their senses and providing them with ample opportunities to explore will just assist them more!

 

Winter: Happy Hooligans
            Pink and Green Mama
Weather: Glittering Muffins
               Counting Coconuts
Wizard of Oz: Counting Coconuts
Worm: Teach Preschool

eXamine:
Sorry, I had to cheat a bit here.  I know examine doesn’t start with X.

However, my X word IS examine.  I’m going to encourage you to let your child really examine the parts of a sensory bin.  Don’t try to rush them to perform a certain activity or notice a certain item.  Let them take their time to notice and examine each individual piece!  They are learning!  We might see a pile of beans or sand or water, but they see the effect of pouring water over the sand!  Give them time and they will teach themselves!

X-Ray: Royal Baloo

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You:
You!  Are sensory bins for you?  Maybe!  and Maybe not!  As much as I love sensory bins, I’m not above admitting that sensory bins are NOT for everyone.  Some kids just don’t like them!  Some parents cannot stand the mess.  Don’t feel embarrassed or ashamed if they don’t work for you!  There are many many ways to explore the senses that don’t involve bins or mess.

But maybe sensory bins are for you!  I highly recommend giving sensory bins a shot, at least one, and seeing how it works.  If it works for YOU, that’s great!  If it doesn’t work, no harm no foul – just move onto the next project!

Yellow: Counting Coconuts

Zippers:

Sometimes it’s fun to throw in an unexpected item into a sensory bin – like a zipper.  Zippers can be pretty inexpensive at a craft store like JoAnns (espcially if you have a 50% off coupon!) and they would make great tools in a sensory bin!  They are bumpy and have moveable parts!

If you have something unusual lying around, throw it in a sensory bin and let your kids learn about it from all angles!  Zippers, old fabric, buttons, and scratched CDs/DVDs are great examples!

If you have something to throw away, look at it first to see if you could turn it into a sensory material!  You never know what you might find!

Zoo: Pink and Green Mama

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Today I’m linking to the bloggers in the Arts and Crafts category!

 

At the end here I just have to say that I really enjoyed doing this 5 day series.  It was a good bit of work to get each letter covered and to find these awesome examples of themed sensory bins.  I hope everyone enjoys the series!

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