Sensory bins are one of those open-ended “toys” that grow with a child. I have personally supervised children as young as 4 months and as old as 7 years playing happily with a sensory bin. Sometimes the contents can be altered to ensure safety for the younger children or to help facilitate the advanced play for older children, however for the most part the bin itself is the same and it is only the way they play with it that changes.
This was the favorite bin of both LittleMan and SunnyGirl last autumn. Simply dry pasta, corn kernels, measuring cups, silk foliage, pine cones, and feathers.
And this was her reaction whenever I put it in front of her.
She was only 10 months at the time.
Much of the focus of her self-directed play was exploring textures and colors with some scooping.
Compare that bin from last year to this bin we currently have in rotation.
The same dry pasta (If you store it properly, you can get a ton of use out of your sensory materials!), dry pinto beans, acorns, magnetic letters, a horseshoe magnet, kiddie chopsticks, a small container of pony beads, and a tray of 3 plant pots.
Her reaction to a new bin is still the same as it has always been.
Because these bins are used by both LittleMan and SunnyGirl, I try to leave the door open for both of them to explore different concepts. Like I included acorns of three different sizes and pasta of three different colors in the same bin as three pots so they could do some sorting if they wanted.
These magnetic letters are also perfect for a variety of learning levels. There is one for each vowel (a, e, i, o, u, and sometimes y) as well as one for color of the rainbow (red/orange/yellow/green/blue/purple).
I also included a small clear container with a screw top lid.
Inside of that container was 6 pony beads, one for each color of the rainbow, which could be matched with the magnetic letters.
Despite getting older and mastering more complex motor skills, the simple act of scooping and pouring is fun no matter the age.
Comparing these images really drives it home for me how far my baby has come in only one year. I wouldn’t wish away this time for a stack of gold, but I’ll admit to being curious about how her sensory bin play will look next autumn.by