Kids love sensory bins, but what do you fill the bins with? Sensory bin fillers don’t have to break the bank. You can fill sensory bins with everything from sand, dirt, or water to common, household items like cotton balls and more!
This list below will give you some ideas for filling your bins at school or at home with materials that are engaging and fun for kids.
What is a Sensory Bin?
A sensory bin can provide opportunities for children 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 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.
Sensory Bin Filler Ideas
When it comes to ideas for filling your sensory bin, you’re only limited by your imagination. Get creative, think outside the box!
If you’ve never branched out beyond sand and water I challenge you to pick just one item from this list and give it a try – I bet you’ll be surprised how much your kids enjoy it!
What Do You Put Inside a Sensory Bin?
The possibilities for materials you can use to fill sensory bins are endless! Here are just a few of my favorite sensory bin fillers listed for you below.
- Easter grass and plastic eggs with surprises hidden inside
- Aquarium rocks
- Plastic pellets
- Colored Rice (use rubbing alcohol and food coloring to color)
- Colored Pasta
Sensory Bin Fillers for Preschool
There are so many sensory bin tools and materials you can use to fill a sensory bin in your preschool.
Sensory Bin Filler Ideas
- 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 water
- Water with dish soap to make bubbles
More Sensory Bin Fillers
- Kinetic Sand
- Packing peanuts
- Various sizes of gourds for fall
- Colored chickpeas
Certain early childhood programs prohibit the use of food items for play in the classroom. Choose items wisely from this list that best meet your needs and those of your students.
Note: If you have students who put things in their mouths then you will want to use careful supervision or choose a different activity.