Learning and sensory play is a wonderful combination. After many days of rain in our part of the world we took advantage of a lovely sunny day and did an ocean sensory bin.
Set Up Your Sensory Bin
Choose a large tub or bin and place it in a safe area for water play. I moved our bin outside in the shade so that any water spillage would not be an issue. Besides my preschooler, I also have a toddler who loves to join in on the action and we all know how messy toddlers can be (and even the kids at preschool age!).
Fill the tub with water, just enough to cover the ocean theme items you are placing inside. Add a few drops of blue food coloring until the water is a lovely blue.
Now you can add items to the bin. I added 2 corals, various crabs, a lobster, turtle, shark, whale, dolphin, and a bunch of pebbles. I did not have sea shells or I would have added those, too!
Talk About Ocean Life
Here comes the learning part! Ask your preschoolers to name the ocean life as you add it to the water. Grab a sheet of paper and write down the names of the items in the bin.
Have some fun playing for a bit. Then go on an item hunt! How many crabs did you find? How many blue rocks did you find? Invite your preschoolers to sort the items they discover.
My preschooler seemed to think the lobster was rather tasty for the whale. This was the perfect opportunity to impart knowledge on what a whale eats. If you do not know, do a little research and talk about it the next time.
You can also incorporate fine motor into this sensory bin. Add scoops, spoons, or tongs. This Helping Hands fine motor tool set would be the perfect addition to this play scenario!
All in all this was an awesome sensory experience. My preschooler practiced his counting. His little sister also came along and dipped her hands in hunting for crabs (ocean life recognition!) They are learning without even noticing!
I hope you enjoyed this little ocean life sensory bin!
BIO:Do come visit Nicolette on her blog at Powerful Mothering. She loves to share simple and easy crafts, activities, printables, and learning ideas for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers! You will love her latest printable where you can add your child’s name to a printable name tracing sheet! She is also the author of: Rice Play and 99 Fine Motor ideas for Ages 1-5.