Polar Bear Sensory Bin

Use a polar bear sensory bin for occupational therapy interventions

This polar bear sensory bin is an old one from The OT Toolbox site archives. This tactile sensory activity is a fun way to challenge sensory exploration with a variety of textures and materials. But more than that, this polar bear activity can be used in a therapy theme to address skills. The next part of the polar bear gross motor activity included a Our Polar Bear Sensory bin was cotton batting, tinsel, a stuffed polar bear, and a seal toy.  Little Guy glued some waxed paper to blue construction paper to make an ocean covered with ice.  We had a striped Christmas pencil for our “North Pole”. 

Polar bear sensory bin

Polar Bear Sensory Bin Materials

There are many ways to set up this sensory bin. Use items you have in your home or therapy space. Use some of the materials listed below. You DO NOT need all of these items. The nice thing about creating a themed sensory bin is that you can use what you have on hand. Some ideas for the sensory bin include:

  • Container or bin
  • Teddy bear
  • Tinsel
  • Cotton balls
  • Cotton batting
  • Tissue paper
  • Rice
  • Dry beans
  • Blue or white construction paper
  • Tape
  • Wax paper
  • Clear cellophane
  • Aluminum foil
  • Arctic animal figures
Make a polar bear sensory bin with figures, and sensory materials.

Other materials that you may want to add to the polar bear sensory bin to encourage fine motor skills and coordination skills:

  • Tweezers to pick up and manipulate materials
  • Small bowls
  • Tongs
  • Spoons or scoops
  • Chopsticks
  • Pickle picker
  • Containers
  • Counting cards (try the winter themed ones in the Winter Fine Motor Kit)

Fine Motor Skills in a Sensory Bin

Using the materials and tools above, students can work on fine motor skills to manipulate and explore the items in the sensory bin. Some ways to work on fine motor skills include:

Address in-hand manipulation by sorting items in the hands into containers or cups.

Work on hand strength and arch development by moving items with tongs, tweezers, or pickle picker.

Work on open thumb web space by pinching and pulling cotton balls.

Work on finger isolation by moving materials and items around in the bin.

Work on grasp and precision by picking up small items such as tinsel, mini-erasers, crumbled paper or tissue paper, etc.

Use a Sensory Bin for Visual Perception

This polar bear sensory bin can be used to address a variety of visual perceptual skills: visual discrimination, visual memory, visual attention, figure ground, and visual closure.

Ask children to locate specific items by color or texture. They can also recall items that they found in the sensory bin. Ask kids to locate items that are partially hidden by other objects or sensory bin filler materials. These are all ways to work on visual perceptual skills with this polar bear sensory bin.

Use a Sensory Bin for Eye-Hand Coordination

A sensory bin like this polar bear theme can be used in so many ways to address eye-hand coordination:

  • Pouring materials
  • Scooping materials like beans or rice
  • Using tongs or tweezers to pick up and move items like mini erasers
  • Sorting sensory bin items into piles or containers
  • Picking up and exploring various sensory bin items

Polar Bear Imagination Play

My kids had fun just imagining stories for the items in the sensory bin. We used the stuffed bear as a polar bear and a seal figure who was trying to escape into the ocean…Imagination play!  

Polar bear sensory bin with tinsel and arctic animal figures.

Baby Girl did NOT like the texture or “feel” of the tinsel. It got stuck to her hands and she would try to pull it off…The seal is another story.  She carried that thing around all day 🙂  

Kids of all ages can use the materials in the sensory bin to work on tactile sensory exploration, fine motor skills, and visual perception.

Looking for more Polar Bear play ideas??  We had fun with our first Polar Bear Theme activities day!   We should have more ideas up tomorrow to go along with the Polar Bear theme. 

You’ll also love all of the items in our Winter Fine Motor Kit. It’s loaded with coloring sheets, handwriting pages, puzzles, and crafts with a polar bear theme. There are sensory bin materials, polar bear finger puppets, lacing cards, and so much more.

winter fine motor kit

Click here to grab the Winter Fine Motor Kit.

Writing Trays for Handwriting

Writing trays are sensory activities to teach handwriting

Writing trays are a fantastic way to help kids work on handwriting, letter formation, and pre-writing skills.  There are so many benefits to a sand tray (or other sensory writing materials) in helping with letter formation and handwriting. There is a reason that writing trays are a popular way to encourage fine motor skills and an introduction to handwriting; They use a tactile sensory strategy to encourage movement in learning in a multi-sensory way.  Writing Trays make letter formation fun and meaningful in a play-based manner.


Try this easy rice writing tray for a simple sensory writing experience.

Writing trays are sensory activities to teach handwriting

What is a writing tray?

I’ve used writing trays in my occupational therapy interventions and with my own kids for years. Writing trays are such a powerful tool to add a multi-sensory component and moveemnt to learning to write.

Writing trays are a dry or wet sensory material in a low tray or bin type of container. Children can use their finger or a tool such as a pencil, paint brush, or other item to draw, write letters, or form numbers into the sensory material.

Writing Trays are a creative way to help kids learn to write letters, numbers, shapes, and pre-writing strokes.  There are a ton of different ways that writing trays can be set up and used in letter formation. Essentially, a writing tray uses a low container (or TRAY) and a medium that can be moved and shifted for writing.

Sensory writing trays can contain sensory fillers of any type. If you are able to move the material in a way that letters can be drawn in the tray, then the sensory writing tray is a success. With a sensory writing tray, children can write letters independently or copy letters from a visual letter card.

You can find them used in schools, clinics, preschools, early learning centers, and homeschool dinging rooms.  

Writing tray sensory filler ideas for handwriting

Writing Tray Sensory Filler Material

Affiliate links are included in this post.

What is in a Writing Tray? (Writing Tray Fillers)

Writing Trays are filled with a filler that us manipulated and shifted so that letters or writing lines are visible.  Some ideas for filling a writing tray include the sensory materials listed below.


Sand
Colored Sand
Rice
Dyed Rice
Salt
Dyed Rice
Play Dough
Other Doughs
Sugar
Flour
Cornmeal
Slime (Check out the fun we had with slime in a writing tray!)
Spices
Crushed Chalk


While sometimes, a child can use their finger to form the lines in their writing tray, a writing tool is typically recommended. (More on that below.)
Use writing trays for handwriting and letter formation

Sensory Writing Tray Benefits

Kids can use writing trays to practice letter formation, or pencil control and stroke sequence in writing letters.  Typically, they will be provided with a visual cue or cue card for copying the letters/numbers/shapes.  Other times, kids can form the letter/number/shape independently when prompted to make a specific letter. This is a great way to work on visual memory and independent letter formation.
 
Be sure to verbally prompt children to form letters or build letters with correct stroke sequence.  This is essential for carryover of accuracy with letter formation in handwriting.  Otherwise, the child is simply playing in the sensory tray and not effectively using the writing tray as a tool for improved handwriting.  Encouraging the child who is learning pre-writing strokes and beginning letter formation can use a writing tray as a base for forming letters independently. Try using visual and verbal cues to promote correct letter construction.
 
A few more must-dos when using a writing tray for addressing letter formation:
  • Make sure letters are not formed in parts.  In other words, don’t allow kids to make a circle and then a line to form an “a”. 
  • Make sure letters are formed from top to bottom. 
  • Realize that the motor plan to form letters with your finger is different than the motor plan to form letters with a pencil or other pencil-like writing tool.

The nice thing about writing trays is that they are very versatile. Students of all ages can use writing trays to work on different levels of handwriting. Some ways to work on handwriting include:

  • Copying pre-writing lines
  • Copying shapes 
  • Letter identification
  • Uppercase letter formation
  • Lowercase letter formation
  • Letter copying
  • Letter writing from memory
  • Cursive letter formation
  • Cursive letter writing from memory
  • Word copying
  • Sight word writing
  • Spelling word writing
Writing trays for handwriting, letter formation, and fine motor skills.

 

Fine Motor Skills and Writing Trays

A writing tray can be an effective tool in boosting fine motor skills.  Kids can use their finger to form lines and letters while strengthening finger isolation and separation of the two sides of the hand, including an opportunity for the ulnar side fingers to tuck into the palm for a more effective pencil grasp when writing.
 
Children can also use a tool to form letters in a writing tray.  This can be an opportunity to develop pencil grasp.  However.  There are a few items that should be mentioned about using a writing tray to address pencil grasp and appropriate motor plan for letter formation.
 
Writing Trays are a common tool.  But if you just place a writing tray in front of a child, you will likely see an inefficient writing activity.  You will probably see most kids forming letters with an awkward grasp on the writing tool, a flexed and deviated wrist, an abducted shoulder, and generally ineffective positioning.  


Positioning absolutely carries over to letter formation and handwriting.
 
A writing tray can be used to address pencil grasp and handwriting needs.  However, it is essential to use the tray in a proper manner.  There are a few ways to do this:
  • Place the writing tray on a slight slant. Try using a DIY slant board.
  • Use a low edged tray.
  • Use verbal, physical, and visual cues for appropriate positioning. 
  • Position the writing tool in your child’s hand with an appropriate tripod or modified tripod grasp.
  • Show the child how to hold the tool at the end of the tool as if they were holding a pencil.
Once you’ve got your writing tray set up and positioning taken care of, it’s on to the fun stuff…making a writing tray!
 
 

How to make a Writing Tray

Making a writing tray to gain benefits of teaching sensory handwriting is easy. You can use materials found around the home. The options are limitless when it comes to writing tray combinations! You can create a writing tray in any theme or to meet any need. You’ll need just a few items: a container, a filler, a tool, and letter cards.

Writing Tray Ideas

First, you’ll need a low tray, basket, bin, or other container. We’ve used a variety of containers in our sensory writing trays. You’ll want a container that will hold the sensory writing material within its edges. In some cases, you can even scatter the sensory material on a flat surface like a table or a plastic table cloth on the floor. For example, we used dyed rice right on the kiddie picnic table for a pre-writing and hand strengthening activity.

Kids will be using a tool or their hands to write letters and the sensory material can scatter. Some specific ideas include:

  • Kitchen baking trays (jelly roll pan or cookie sheet with edges)
  • Food storage containers
  • Melissa and Doug wooden puzzle boxes
  • Cardboard boxes cut low on the sides
  • 9×11 cake pan
  • Shirt box
  • Tray
  • Low basket

Writing Tray Tools

Next, you’ll need a tool to use to write the letters. This can be items found in the home as well.  Some writing tray tools include:

  • Finger
  • Eraser end of a pencil
  • Paint brush
  • Feather
  • Straw
  • Pointer stick
  • Stick from a tree
  • Craft stick
  • Chopsticks
  • Toothpick
  • Craft pom pom attached to a clothes pin

Writing Tray Letter Cards

Next, an important part of a writing tray is the letter model. As mentioned above, writing trays are great for copying pre-writing lines, shapes, letters, numbers, and words. 

Cards can be used as a visual model for forming letters or words. Some cards include direction arrows. Others might include a sight word or spelling word for the child to copy. These cards can be positioned in different positions to address different needs. 

  • Position the letter cards right in the tray for near-point copying.
  • Position the writing tray cards in a vertical position near the writing tray to challenge vision shift. 
  • Hang the writing cards on a wall for far point copying to work on visual shift, visual attention, visual memory, and copying from a distance. 

Writing Tray Fillers

You’ll also need a sensory material to act as a filler. This is the material that the child will actually “write” in. When we say “write”, they are using the tool to form letters as the sensory filler moves in the tray. They will not actually write a letter with a pencil or other marking device. Sensory filler material can be as creative as you let it. Some writing tray fillers include these materials:

Click each link for ideas on how to set up these creative writing trays.

 
 
 
 
Dyed Rice
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
 
As you can see, the ideas are limitless when it comes to sensory handwriting! Use a theme or materials that meet the needs of your child or client and are motivating and fun!
 

More sensory Handwriting Activities

Sensory Writing Bag

Sensory Handwriting Camp at Home

Teach letters with sensory textures

Pencil pressure activities

 

 

 

 
 
 

 

Colleen Beck, OTR/L is an occupational therapist with 20 years experience, graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 2000. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. As the creator, author, and owner of the website and its social media channels, Colleen strives to empower those serving kids of all levels and needs. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.

Thanksgiving Sensory Bin

Thanksgiving sensory bin

This Thanksgiving Sensory Bin was a fun way to foster imaginative play and develop motor skills through a sensory, textural experience. The sensory bin is a Thanksgiving activity that we enjoyed, but it would make a fun Fall sensory bin too, as it used many colors and textures of Fall. Adding in field corn, dry leaves, feathers, textured materials adds opportunities for scooping, pouring, and exploring with a Thanksgiving theme!

Thanksgiving sensory bin for kids to play and explore textures while building fine motor skills.

Thanksgiving Sensory Bin

Sensory Bins are so great for exploring textures and fostering imaginative play.  They are so easy and inexpensive to make up  and can go in any theme…If your son loves superheroes, throw Spiderman figures into a bin of rice with a couple of Halloween spider rings, and you have an instant play area that can last all day long!  Use items and toys that interest your child’s passions for a sensory play experience that can also build skills.

While the kids are exploring, imagining, fostering creativity, they are learning so much…building their confidence,  language skills, fine motor dexterity…and SO much more!    

This holiday sensory bin offers a chance for kids to talk about Thanksgiving and discover items that foster thought, creative thinking, or family-centered materials. Items in the Thanksgiving Sensory bin can inspire gratitude and can be centered on what’s important to your family.

Thanksgiving sensory ideas for sensory play and exploration, using many Fall materials.

Thanksgiving Sensory Bin Base Materials

Sensory bins can be made from any dry or wet material, water, shredded paper, packing peanuts…The possibilities are endless. Here are sensory base ideas to start with.

To make this Thanksgiving sensory bin, you can use materials that you find around your home or outdoors. Other items can be found at the dollar store.

Start with your Thanksgiving sensory play base material. Some ideas include dry field corn or regular popcorn, rice, dry beans, split peas. Non-food sensory bin materials can include shredded paper, feathers, or Fall leaves from outside. Dump the sensory bin base material into an under-the-bed-storage bin or other large, low bin or tray.  

NOTE: Be prepared for corn/rice/split peas to scatter all over the floor.  Ignore it. Play with the kids, they can help clean up later…working that pincer grasp to pick up grains of corn from the floor 😉   Or not… Either way, enjoy the play/learning/growth experience with your kids and don’t worry about the mess. Brooming up corn into a dustpan is another fantastic occupation for kids. 🙂

If keeping the spill factor to a minimum is a must, try using a tablecloth under the sensory bin. Or, take the sensory bin outdoors if you like.

Thanksgiving sensory play ideas for kids include making a sensory bin with turkeys, wheat stalks, gourds, and more.

Add Thanksgiving Items

Next, add materials to manipulate, find, hide, scoop, and pour.

Make the Thanksgiving sensory play meaningful by adding items that foster gratitude and thankfulness. One sensory bin item can include gratitude leaves like we made for our Thanksgiving tree. Cut paper leaves and each family member can write what they are thankful for. Scatter the leaves in the sensory bin. Best of all, you can reuse those gratitude leaves after the sensory play is done. Make a Thanksgiving tree like we did, or hang them on a Thanksgiving garland.

Other Thanksgiving Sensory Bin materials include:

  • Fabric scraps
  • Gratitude leaves
  • Fake leaves
  • Real leaves
  • Paper leaves
  • Fall décor
  • Feathers
  • Acorns
  • Scraps of paper
  • Gourds
  • Decorations
  • Turkey figures
  • Wheat sprigs
  • Pine cones
  • Acorns
This Thanksgiving sensory bin offers opportunities for fine motor skills.

ADD Sensory Bin Scoops

One final piece to a sensory bin are tools to scoop, pour, and sort. These items help to develop areas like fine motor skills, dexterity, eye-hand coordination, and bilateral coordination.

Pouring and scooping are an oppourtunity to work on refined motor skills as kids pour the materails without spilling. They can explore how much to tilt the container or how much precision is needed to scoop the materials they want to manipulate.

Some manipulating items to consider for a Thanksgiving sensory bin include:

  • Cups
  • Tongs
  • Tweezers
  • Baskets
  • Small cups
  • Spoons
  • Small bowls

  And baskets for sorting!  

Use baskets, cups, and scoops to help kids build fine motor skills in a Thanksgiving sensory bin.

  Baby Girl thought it would be more fun to climb INTO the corn bin!  

Sensory bin ideas for toddlers

  It feels great on the toes!    (Yes, I stuck my toes in the corn with the kiddos… NO, I will not harm your eyes with THAT picture!)  

    Cute baby toes, YES, we need more pictures of those!   

Thanksgiving sensory bin for toddlers using materials to explore sensory.

    Big Sister started the sorting game.  She collected all of the flowers into this pot.  

Thanksgiving Sensory Bin for Learning

Work on specific concepts with your sensory bin, including:

  • Sorting by colors
  • Adding or subtracting
  • Sorting by patterns or textures
  • Sort by type of object
  • Spatial awareness
  • Size awareness
  • Sort by texture
  • Shapes

Use a sensory bin to help kids learn to sort by color.

Sorting by Color…

Sorting by Object…

Little Guy thought we needed to sort the socks… 🙂

Sensory bin ideas for Thanksgiving include sorting items by texture, shape, and color.
Thanksgiving sensory ideas include this sensory bin with items to scoop and manipulate.

  Everyone enjoyed talking about and feeling the objects… Scratchy wheat stalks:  

    Soft feathers (these were cut from scraps of fabric I had around the house):  

A toddler sensory bin can include different materials and items to explore.

 Little Guy thought it would be pretty fun to lay IN the cool corn to see how that felt: “It’s pretty comfy, Mom”!  

      How many kids can you fit into a bin? It looks like the answer is three. 🙂  

Sensory bin materials include dry corn, fabric swatches, feathers.

      There were lots of colors and textures to explore in this sensory bin!    

Thanksgiving theme sensory bin for exploring colors and textures.
Thanksgiving sensory bin to manipulate and build fine motor skills.


 Scooping, sorting, exploring the senses, fostering creativity, building language skills, working on fine motor skills…We did so much more than just playing with this fun Thanksgiving Sensory Bin! I am Thankful for Today!    

Have you made a fall themed sensory bin? 

More Thanksgiving activities

Colleen Beck, OTR/L is an occupational therapist with 20 years experience, graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 2000. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. As the creator, author, and owner of the website and its social media channels, Colleen strives to empower those serving kids of all levels and needs. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.

Kindergarten Sight Words Cloud Dough

We’ve done quite a few sight words activities on this site.  What’s cool is that the activities that we did with my now second grade daughter are still fun and working great with my kindergartner son this year.  Today, I’ve got a sensory sight word activity using Cloud Dough.


Adding a tactile (and sensory) approach to sight words may just help the memorization of words “stick”.   We made this cloud dough that was brightly colored and smelled great using a few materials we had in the house.

Sight word sensory bin with cloud dough made with baby oil and baby powder

 Cloud Dough Recipe for Sensory Exploration

To make the cloud dough, we used just a few ingredients (Affiliate links are included in this post):
3 cups Baby Powder
1/2 cup Baby Oil
2 sticks of Sidewalk Chalk

Mix the baby powder and baby oil with your fingers.  Use a Kitchen Mallet
to crush the chalk into dust.  This is an EXCELLENT proprioceptive activity that the kids really got into.  Smashing that chalk into smithereens requires a lot of muscle power and “wakes up” the muscles to the heavy work of pounding that hammer.  Try this pounding activity before a quiet and calming activity like writing.

Sprinkle the chalk dust into the cloud dough and mix by hand.  You can play with the cloud dough without the chalk dust, but we wanted a bright blue color.  

It took us a little bit of experimentation, (and blue hands), but we found out that mixing liquid food coloring into the cloud dough (even mixed into water or mixed into extra oil) will not give this sensory dough a bright color.  Instead, you’ll end up with dyed hands.

Now, start playing!


Cloud Dough Sight Word Activity

Cloud dough is very fun.  It’s moldable and a great sensory dough to explore.  We decided to add sight words to this sensory bin.  I used bright index cards to write out Kindergarten sight words.  We cut the words into smaller sizes and hid them in the cloud dough. 


To play sight word games with Cloud Dough:

Sight word sensory bin with cloud dough made with baby oil and baby powder
Write two sets of sight words.  Play different games.  Some of our favorite games to play with sight words can be done right in the cloud dough:
  • Play Memory with the sight words in the cloud dough.  Hide and turn the sight word cards in the dough.  Take turns looking for matches.
  • Scatter one set of sight words in the dough and the other set outside of the sensory bin.  Take turns quickly looking for matches of words.
  • Create small balls of cloud dough.  Push the cards into the dough and stand words up.  Ask your child to read the words and smash the cloud dough balls. This game is always a hit with the kids.
  • Play Hide and Seek for sight words in the cloud dough.
Sight word sensory bin with cloud dough made with baby oil and baby powder
Sight word sensory bin with cloud dough made with baby oil and baby powder
Looking for more Cloud Dough recipes and activities?  Stop by and see what the other bloggers on the 12 Months of Sensory Dough Team have created:

Taste Safe Gingerbread Cloud Dough | Lemon Lime Adventures


Hot Chocolate Cloud Dough | Study at Home Mama


Christmas Inspired Cloud Dough | Squiggles and Bubbles

Cotton Candy Cloud Dough (Taste Safe) | Powerful Mothering
Sight Word Cloud Dough | Sugar Aunts

We love creative sight words activities!  Here are some of our favorites:

                                    Sight Words Ping Pong Bounce Game
                                                   Sight Word Scooping 

Sight word sensory bin with cloud dough made with baby oil and baby powder

Love this idea? Share it on Facebook!

Sensory Bins for a Year

We are guest posting for our friend Blayne over at House of Burke! She’s super busy right now after just having her second baby boy.  What an exciting time for her and the Burke family!  We were honored to put together a post of sensory bins for her while she recovers.  If you don’t know the House of Burke blog, then you NEED to check out this blog.  Sensory and craft activities galore happen over there!  This round-up of sensory bin ideas will take you through the year with each season set for you.  Read more on House of Burke’s page.

 

Sensory Bin Base Ideas

If you read our blog, you’ll see that we are both huge fans of sensory play.  Sensory bins are such a fun way for kids to explore textures and the senses while learning about the world and themselves.  Sensory bins can be tailored to any learning theme and are just fun for exploration. 
We wanted to put together a collection of sensory bin base ideas.  These are the materials that you start your sensory bin with.  Add letters, numbers, animals, sight words…the possibilities for sensory play is endless!
Add to these base materials for sensory bin play.

Sensory Bin Base Ideas

Add colored noodles to a bin and add cups, spoons, funnels, and more for fine motor play.  Crayon Box Chronicles made this concept sensory bin in their dyed noodles sensory bin.

Shredded paper makes a great sensory base.  Save the junk mail and send it through the shredder to make a shredded paper reptile sensory bin from Crayon Box Chronicles.

Something as simple as rocks can make a great base for a sensory bin.  We make this rock sensory bin and explored the senses.
Explore letters in like in this rock letter sensory bin.

The dollar store has a vast amount of ways to incorporate learning into sensory bins.  Crayon Box Chronicles made this colored hay sensory bin.  How fun!

Colored water is an easy way to create a sensory bin.  We made this dyed water swamp sensory bin and explored colors, animals, and more in a swamp theme.

Have you ever made snow dough?  Seriously the coolest stuff!  This snow dough Arctic Circle sensory bin is one of my favorites from Crayon Box Chronicles .

It doesn’t take much to make a sensory bin.  This letter sensory bin required nothing other than the letters for learning and play.

Dirt makes a great sensory bin base.  How many ways can you think of to play?  I love what Crayon Box Chronicles did with their dirt monster truck sensory bin.

Many sensory bin bases can be found in your pantry.  We used split peas as the base in our split pea sensory bin.

Sand is one way to create a simple sensory bin.  A few ingredients is all it takes to make the sand into sand dough link in this sand dough beach sensory bin from Crayon Box Chronicles.

Water Beads can be found in the floral section of many stores.  The non-toxic material makes a great base for sensory play.  We had a blast with our waterbead sensory bin.

Jello is such an interesting material to eat…and to play with!  The texture is perfect for sensory exploration.  Crayon Box Chronicles used it to create this jello iceberg sensory bin.

Sight Word Sensory Bin

 We’ve used a lot of fun and different materials to practice sight words this school year.  Sight Words with Ping Pong Balls and Sight Word Practice with string are just two fun ways we’ve practiced the work list that comes home with Big Sister each week.  Just recently, we got a note from her teacher saying “Awesome job on the sight words!”  This was a pretty proud mama and all of our practice is paying off! 
 
This sensory based activity is a Sight Word Sensory bin…and just one more creative ways we’ve been practicing homework words.  Putting a creative spin on the practice makes repetition fun and easy.  You can find more links to our other creative sight word activities at the bottom of this post.
 
 
Kids can practice new sight words with a sensory bin.

 

Sight Word Sensory Bin

I had this sensory bin ready to go when Big Sister came home from school one day.  It was a fun way for Baby Girl and Little Guy to play while they waited for their sister to get off of the school bus.

Kindergarten sight words in a sensory bin with shredded paper.

Put those paper shreds to work and use them in fun play.  Shredded paper is a great sensory bin filler.  We’ve used it a few other times and it actually about today because Little Guy remembered doing this Snowy Farm Sensory Bin activity and asked if we could pull out some shredded paper again.  The shredded paper can even be dyed to give your sensory bin a colorful spin.  We dyed shredded paper pink in our Valentine’s Day sensory bin.

Use Sight Words in a sensory bin to enhance reading for young kids.

Big Sister played in the sensory bin and said the words as she pulled them out.  We made sentences together with the words from the bin.

Shredded paper makes a great sensory bin filler for kids' sensory bin activities.

Big Sister wanted to add her entire sight word collection to the sensory bin.  It turned out to be mostly sight words!  I think we’re on to a new sensory bin filler 😉

Looking for more sight word activities for beginner readers?  Try these fun ideas:

Sight Word Sticky Easel
Sight Word Manipulatives
Sight Word Scavenger Hunt
Beginner Sight Word Letter Match
I Spy Sight Word Sensory Bottle
No-Mess Sensory Sight Word Spelling
Sight Word Bottle Cap Stampers

You may also want to follow our Sight Word and Beginner Reader Pinterest board:

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.