Sensory Bin Tips and Tricks for Little Learners

It’s no secret that we are pretty addicted to sensory bins over here. Need to keep the kid busy? Sensory bin. Bored with your lesson for the day? Sensory bin. Didn’t get enough sleep last night? Sensory bin! They’re our go-to solution for just about everything, so today I’m sharing our favorite tips and tricks!

Choose Fillers You Can Use Over and Over Again

If you look through many of my pictures on Instagram, you’ll notice that we have several different fillers for our bins that we use over and over. Shiny dry black beans, dry brown beans, oatmeal and cotton balls are some of our absolute favorites! We love to use bright, seasonal manipulatives and they always look so pretty against the colors of these fillers. Also, saving money by reusing the same fillers repeatedly frees up your budget to grab new seasonal manipulatives!

Jan Sensory Bin1
Pick Age-Appropriate Manipulatives

While sensory bins are never an activity that LG gets to work on without supervision, it’s still super important for you to make sure you’re choosing age-appropriate manipulatives. LG’s first sensory bin looks very different from the ones she works with now.

For little bitties, be sure to choose large manipulatives that don’t pose a choking hazard. Items like oversize stickers or puzzle pieces are a great way to introduce bins. We even started off with water bins to insure she couldn’t put the filler in her mouth!

Now that she’s almost 4 years old, we use lots of fun little manipulatives like mini erasers and beads. However, her bins stay right next to an adult to make sure nothing finds its way into her mouth (or nose or ears)!

Reuse Manipulatives & Fillers Year After Year

I can’t tell you how long we’ve had these pompoms. I purchased this bag using a 40% off coupon at Hobby Lobby years ago and we still use it constantly! They store perfectly in a gallon size baggie for when we’re ready to use them again!

Reusing the same fillers and manipulatives every season helps so much with budgeting for bins. For example, we reuse tons of Fall sensory bin materials every year. They stay stored away in a bin during the other seasons and come out to play during Fall! This keeps me from purchasing new resources every year, and keeps the manipulatives new since LG only plays with them for several months out of the year!

Water ABC Sensory Bin

Keep Messes Contained

The biggest hesitation most people have with sensory bins is the amount of mess they can turn into. They can certainly get a little messy, but with the right containment you can keep the mess very minimal!

I love using these containers with snap-on lids. When our bins are not being used, I know that they are safe from spills and accidents!

Not excited about the sensory bin getting onto the floor? A small blanket or plastic table cloth are perfect for containing spills! We LOVE that if oatmeal or beans fall outside of our bins, all I have to do is pick up the blanket and dump the filler back into the bin!

ABC Magnets Sort

Use Your Bins for Multiple Activities

Want to make the most out of your bins after you’ve spent time putting them all together? Use them for as many activities as possible! With the sensory bin above we can practice letter matching, color sorting, letting sorting, name spelling and spelling simple words! Would you have guessed that so many activities could be done with ONE small bin?!

CLICK HERE to read about some of our very favorite sensory bins!

Counting Sensory Bin Matching Mat

Include Academic Activities

One of our newest tricks is to include our academic practice activities in our sensory bins! LG loves working through her activities this way because once she’s finished with her practice, she has a fun bin to explore on her own!

CLICK HERE for our best-selling Math & Literacy sensory bins!

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