Sensory bin ideas for Preschool, Pre-K, and Kindergarten
What is a Sensory Bin?
A sensory bin is typically a plastic tub or container filled with materials and objects carefully selected to stimulate the senses.
Sensory bins can provide opportunities to stimulate some or all of the following senses:
- Visual (sight)
- Auditory (hearing)
- Tactile (touch)
- Olfactory (smell)
- Gustation (taste)
Why Use a Sensory Bin in the Classroom?
Young children learn best when they can touch and feel something, they learn with their eyes, ears, and hands.
When kids can see, smell, touch, and hear something – the learning experience is more meaningful to them, and therefore more effective.
Sensory play is open-ended, meaning there is no defined outcome of playing with the materials in the bin. Children use their senses and creativity to explore the materials in a sensory bin on their own.
To recap, sensory play is meaningful to young children and provides opportunities for open-ended play.
Sensory bins are not about keeping kids busy.
Sensory bins provide an opportunity for children to be successful, regardless of their language or cognitive abilities.
What Should I Put in a Sensory Bin?
The contents of your sensory bin should provide open-ended opportunities for children to freely discover and explore the materials.
Here are some items you may consider including in a sensory bin:
- Moon sand
- Colored pasta
- Colored rice (use rubbing alcohol and food coloring to color)
- Water with ice cubes for winter unit
- Strips of holiday wrapping paper and bows for holiday unit
- Dirt with plastic gardening tools, plastic pots
- Dirt with plastic snakes and bugs
- Insta Snow
- Colored pom-pom’s & plastic tongs
- Easter grass and plastic eggs with surprises hidden inside
- Packing peanuts
- Shredded paper
- Various sizes of gourds for fall
- Water beads
- Aquarium rocks
- Plastic pellets
- Colored chickpeas
DIY PVC Sensory Bin
Pictured at the top you can see our homemade Sensory Bin using PVC.
You can also see a student using Moon Sand in the Sensory Bin.
Note: If you have students who put things in their mouths then you will want to use careful supervision or choose a different activity.
Sensory Bin Tools
Here are some tools you can put in your Sensory Bin. The best place to find these tools is at the dollar store.
- Measuring cups
- Measuring spoons
- Turkey basters
Sensory Bin Resources
More Centers from Pre-K Pages