Kids can search for the stars while learning the letters of the alphabet with this simple nighttime inspired sensory bin. This activity would be perfect to add to a solar system or space theme, learning about day and night, or anytime kids feel like reaching for the stars!
Why Use a Sensory Bin in Preschool?
Sensory play is open-ended, meaning there is no clearly defined outcome of playing with or exploring the materials inside the bin.
Children use their senses and creativity to explore the materials offered in a sensory bin on their own without the expectation of an end product.
To recap, sensory bin play is meaningful to young children and provides opportunities for open-ended play.
Open-Ended Exploration with a Sensory Bin
A sensory bin is not about keeping kids busy. Instead, sensory bins provide opportunities for children to be successful, regardless of their language or cognitive abilities.
A child who struggles to express himself with language, may touch play snow for the first time and attempt to communicate how it feels.
When the materials inside sensory bins are offered to children without an expectation of a finished product, children use their imaginations and creativity to make sense of the materials in their own way. This experience is often referred to as open-ended exploration.
Alphabet Star Letters
Looking at a page full of letters can be stressful for young learners because as you know, there are 26 uppercase letters and a second set of lowercase numbers which is a lot to learn. By placing the letters in a bin and inviting kids to find them, their attention is focused on just one letter at a time while playing and exploring.
Alphabet Stars Sensory Bin
To add another element to this activity, you can some add tongs for kids to pick up the stars instead of using their hands. Tongs will add an extra element of fine motor skills to your sensory bin. If you notice that a child is having difficulty using the tongs, set them aside for another time or activity.
To Prep The Alphabet Stars Search Activity:
To prep the activity, write letters on the stars and add the black beans to the sensory bin.
I used a star-shaped hole punch to make the stars for this activity because it was faster than cutting out stars by hand – remember 26 stars is a lot of points to cut around.
You could also use glow-in-the-dark plastic stars, star shaped beads, or craft foam stars too. Hide the stars in the beans and your sensory bin will look like night sky.
Alphabet Stars Search
We used a small baking pan as our sensory bin, which made the stars easier to find. My kids loved digging their hands in the black beans and feeling around for a star. You would have thought they had just won a prize every time they discovered another star.
Once a star is found, help the kids name the letter. Feel free to add an alphabet chart to this activity so kids can place the letters on the chart as they find them. Another option would be to make two sets of letters and kids could find and match them up. Once all the stars are found, kids can return them to the bin and go star searching again.
BIO: Katie stays busy homeschooling her two kids and sharing their fun educational activities, cute crafts, and free printables at A Little Pinch of Perfect. One of her kids’ favorite shapes activities can be found here, Sorting Shapes Activity + Free Printable. Join her community of parents, caretakers, and educators who enjoy having fun and spending time with kids on Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram.
More Sensory Bin Ideas
Halloween Sensory Bin With Spaghetti- Need Halloween sensory play ideas for your preschool classroom? You can make this easy colored spaghetti for a super fun Halloween themed sensory bin. This squishy Halloween sensory spaghetti is sure to be a big hit with your kids!
Halloween Black Bat Sensory Bin – Your little learners will have a blast with this black bat sensory bin for Halloween! It’s super quick and easy to set up for your preschool classroom or in your own home.
Easter Sensory Bin For Preschool – This Easter sensory bin is super quick and easy to set up at home or in your classroom. With plastic eggs and fun shredded colored paper your students will love this!
Dinosaur Sensory Bin – This super simple kinetic sand recipe is easy to make for the sensory bin or table in your classroom. Your little paleontologists will love roaring and stomping their dinosaurs through the sand!
Christmas Water Beads Sensory Bins – This Christmas sensory bin uses green, red, and white water beads. Children will enjoy handling, scooping, and pouring the beads to enhance their fine motor skills and improve hand-eye coordination.
Fall Sensory Bin – No matter where you live, your little learners will have a blast with this fall themed sensory bin! It’s super simple to set up at home or in your preschool classroom.
Follow my Alphabet Letters Pinterest Board for more great ideas!