Do you have a problem keeping your little one entertained at home?
Here’s a great idea that can be as simple or as complex as you’d like it to be.
Sensory play activities for kids at home should be your simple go to activity because they are simple, flexible, easily integrated with academic and developmental skills and are just plain fun for little ones.
Many parents who keep their young children at home struggle with how to balance teaching their little one the academic skills they need and providing fun stimulating experiences.
If you’ve been to a high quality preschool or kindergarten classroom, you’ll notice it’s usually buzzing with activity unless it’s nap time. That’s because children have many different options of hands-on activities to help them learn not only their academic skills but also develop their physical, social, emotional and language skills in the most fun way possible.
So how do you bring home some of the best practices you’ll see high quality experienced teachers use? Well you don’t have to do everything these preschool or kindergarten teachers do but you can take a few of their tried and true methods and approaches to help your child develop and keep you sane.
High quality early learning is child focused. By this I mean preschool and kindergarten teachers are always looking at a particular child and reflecting on what that child likes, needs or wants.
Conversations often center on questions like…
What does my student need help with?
How do I know when my student needs help?
What does my student enjoy doing?
What skills do I want or need to teach right now?
How can I help my student be independent – given their age and development?
Little children, especially those under 6, require lots of hands-on activities and can rarely sit in one place for more than a few minutes at a time. It’s perfectly normal and they’re actually doing exactly what they should be for their age and developmental stage.
The Sensory Bin Solution – A Tried and True Method
Sensory bins are a great way to include some preschool and kindergarten fun at home. Making a sensory bin activity is as simple as
Choose an activity
Grab a bin
Choose a sensory bin filler
Yes it’s that simple for your little one to have hours of fun. There are loads of benefits to sensory bin activities as well.
Sensory activities for kids often include items that young children are accustomed to seeing in their home, school or community but are repurposed.
Think of things you kid is not normally allowed to play but they would find interesting and combine it with one or more other items and voila! You have a super fun sensory bin activity.
Tip: For young children everything is new and interesting when presented in the right way.
Sensory bin activities for kids are used to teach a wide variety of academic skills. It is very easy to have a list of materials for sensory bins and rotate the sensory bin ideas with different skills. So if your child enjoys a specific sensory activity all you need to do is rotate the skill focus.
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Here are some sensory bin filler ideas to get you started.
Sensory Bin Filler: Soapy Water
Allow your child to practice some very important life skills by washing their toys. They can can their card, trucks, dolls, Legos/Duplos or toy plates. Almost anything that is water safe can be put in this sensory bin activity for hours of fun for your little on.
Tip: This is a great outdoor activity or for an area you don’t mind getting wet like the kitchen.
Feeling adventurous? Kick it up a notch with this great Rainbow Soap Foam Sensory Play activity from Active Littles.
Sensory Bin Filler: Beans
Dried beans are a great budget friendly sensory activity for kids. Keep a couple jars of different color dried beans that can be used for the sensory bin. Sometimes simply changing the color of the item in the bin is enough to revive interest.
Tip: Consider mixing beans (different colors, textures, shapes, sizes) to add another dimension to the conversation you can have with your child about their sensory bin activity.
Sensory Bin Filler: Soil/Sand
I don’t know about yours, but most of the kiddos I’ve met have loved to play in dirt and sand. They loved digging in it and getting their hands dirty. I must admit, they have the right idea.
There’s something wonderful about getting your hands in the earth. Well, the good news is it also makes a great sensory bin activity for kids. You can hide all manner of things in there for your little one to find or add some gardening tools and pots for them to use.
Tip: If you opt for sand, a fun activity is to have them use a brush like an archeologist to uncover buried treasure.
Sensory Bin Filler: Packing Peanuts
We’ve all received packages in the mail with those packing peanuts and had to toss them out but wait!
Next time keep them and add them to your collection of fillers for sensory play. They are another great item to put in the sensory bin. Add a small spade , spoon, straw to blow them around or tweezers for your child to use and they explore.
Tip:You can find some packing peanuts for this sensory bin activity at a local UHAUL (or similar moving store) or order some here.
Sensory Bin Filler: Shaving Foam
A tub of shaving foam is a dream for lots of little ones and the plus side is it’s easy to clean up. Kiddos have a great time with the unique texture of shaving foam and are easily entertained with this sensory play activity.
Tip:For those who prefer to contain the possible mess, placing shaving foam in a ziploc bag yields almost as much fun.
Sensory Bin Filler: Rice
A classic filler, rice can be jazzed up with different colors and is ideal for a variety of activities. Learning colors can be very fun through this sensory bin by giving your little one a specific color for each activity. Consider putting ocean animals in blue color rice for your little one.
Tip: Learn how to color rice from this great blog.