Learning Through Play with 60+ Sensory Bins

Looking through the features for this week, we noticed a running theme.  It seems lots of folks are enjoying their days with their kiddos by doing fun and educational…

Sensory Bins!

If you’ve been following this blog for any amount of time, you probably know that we love any sensory inspired play and sensory bins are one of our favorites!  We’ve done holiday themed bins, educational learning bins, color themed bins… There is no limit to the type or learning aspects you can develop through sensory bins.

So what is so great about Sensory Bins?

Sensory bins are a fantastic way for young children to explore their senses.  Kids, especially the younger set, learn through touch…picking up an object, manipulating it’s weight, exploring it’s color, texture, and size…and comparing the object to others.  Sensory bins allow a child to use all of their senses when exploring objects.  They can feel the different textures, see the contrasting colors, smell rice/corn/paper/whatever, hear the crunch of materials, even taste the objects.  And then there is the proprioceptive and kinesthetic senses that come into play when the child picks up and manipulates the items in relation to his body.
While all of this sensory stuff is completely awesome for little ones, don’t forget the learning that happens when a sensory bin is explored: colors, shapes, matching, comparing/contrasting, language development, sorting, counting, and fine motor skills, language development, and imagination skills.
The topics of sensory bins are limitless.  You can build a bin around a science theme, a specific letter of the alphabet, a holiday, or just throw some black beans in a bowl and add a few spoons and cotton balls…FUN!
Let’s see what super fun and imaginative sensory bins our featured linkers came up with this week:
Alphabet Learning Through Play by Little Bins for Little Hands
(ten completely fun and educational alphabet themed bins!)
Bird Seed Sensory Bin by Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails
(we love playing in a bin of bird seed in this house!!)
Ocean Sensory Table by Stir The Wonder
(oh, our kids would love this one!)
(perfect edible sensory play for babies!)
Zoo Sensory Bins by Fantastic and Fun Learning
(Such fun with this collection of sensory bins!)
40+ Farm Sensory Bins by Living Montessori Now
(…we made the list…YYYEEAH! Seriously, there are great ideas in this post!)
Some of our favorite Sensory Bin posts:
 You may want to see more of our Sensory Bins here.

Driveway Sensory Drawing: Wet Chalk fun!

We played outside one cool morning and discovered something really fun…We had left a couple of pieces of chalk outside during an overnight rainstorm. 
The texture of wet chalk is so cool! It smears on the driveway so easily and is the neatest texture. 
There was only red and blue that were soaked through, but they combined to make a pretty nice rainbow!


 
 
We played with this for a while…the chalk drawing even started to dry on the driveway.
I LOVE this picture!
Baby Girl loved this messy play.  She got her hands right in there and covered them with the chalky mess.


Outdoor Sensory Play

What a great sensory experience!  Check out how Baby Girl is on her hands and knees…She’s putting weight through her upper body and down to the hands, and strengthening her shoulder girdle which is so important for fine motor dexterity.  All this while exploring the texture of the chalk, manipulating little pieces of chalk, and having fun with her sister!
We kept tracing over the rainbow lines until the chalk became so small…great for working on that tripod grasp!  Big Sister was really aware of the lines of the rainbow when she was tracing.  This is fun for a new hand writer who is learning to place letters on the lines of paper ((line awareness)).
Tracing the big arch of the rainbow allowed her to cross midline on a fun activity.   Why do kids need to cross midline?? One reason is so that hand writers efficiently allow the dominant hand to do the work during handwriting while moving left to right across the page in a smooth manner.
And of course, you MUST add raindrops to the rainbow 😉