As the pandemic stretches on for what seems like forever, I’ve been thinking of creative ways to keep my son active and engaged at home. And while I’m not opposed to screen time, especially on the weekends, I’d still like for him to engage in learning activities too.
We are grateful that his daycare has remained open during most of the pandemic and one of my favorite parts about it is getting the pictures of him playing throughout the day. While it’s, of course, hard for me to be away from him at times, I love knowing someone is paying close attention to him and planning age-appropriate activities for him each day. One of the pictures I got recently was of him playing in a big plastic bin full of rice and dried beans. “Well, that’s pretty simple!” I thought to myself, wondering why I’d never thought of such an easy yet fun activity myself.
Many of the things you can add to a sensory bin may be items you already have laying around the house.
This bin of rice and beans is an example of a sensory bin or sensory activity. A sensory bin is a play area that is set up to allow a child to explore one or more of the five senses. It may involve different textures, tastes, sights, sounds, or smells so the child can experience these differences. Sensory bins are a great tool to help engage, focus, or calm a child too.
For example, for Christmas, I bought my son some colorful Play-Doh. The first few times I brought it out to play with him, he scrunched up his nose and said “yucky” when he touched it. This was him experiencing a different texture for the first time with his sense of touch. The more times I brought it out and engaged in it with him, the more familiar he was with that texture. Playing with slime is another popular example of a sensory toy that can be used to help a child explore a very particular texture.
I started doing my own research on how I can create sensory bins at home. Many of the things you can add to a sensory bin may be items you already have laying around the house. If not, they’re often pretty inexpensive to purchase, and (pro tip) you may even find some items at a local dollar store. When it comes to making a sensory bin, feel free to let your creativity run wild. As long as the objects are safe and age-appropriate for your child, there really aren’t any restrictions. You can even let mother nature help you out by using things like snow in the winter or mud in the spring.
If you’re looking to create a sensory bin at home for your kiddos, here are a few things I’ve found that may work for you too.
For Sensory Play