A sensory bin is a box filled with different textiles to help kids learn through touch, sound, taste, and smell. It’s a great indoor game, which can help them calm down when life gets stressful and you can use it as a learning technique too.
Today we want to dive into the butterfly theme. Butterflies are a great way to talk about change, spring, and colors, so use one of our bin ideas to explore these concepts.
Fabric Bow Ties
Our first suggestion is very simple. Grab everything you can see which looks like a butterfly, and pop it into a box. That’s it.
From this image, you can see fabric bow ties, foam butterflies, plastic butterflies, and hollow or stick butterflies too.
There is also a magnifying glass, so kids can look in detail at their finds.
This box is perfect for helping kids understand different textures, and enjoy rummaging in the box to find their favorites.
A Butterflies Home
The next sensory box is more natural and less directly connected to butterflies. The kids can help create this box, which can add to the fun!
All it needs is leaves and petals of different types. We also suggest adding tongs and mirrors so the kids can use the tools to better understand their finds.
You can use this box to help the kids learn what butterflies would eat. Let them rip the leaves, break the stems and get to know the plants in detail.
Big Bin Ideas
Our next bin idea uses the same concept as the last but goes into more detail. Again we are exploring what butterflies eat and interact with, but this time we have plastic butterflies to play with, roses and flowers to learn about and even food that we can munch on.
Some of the flowers are in the water, while others are lying down. Here the kids can learn about adding flowers to vases.
The basket can also be used to explain where scientists put butterflies when they are studied. They can trap some of the butterflies in the netting.
Outdoor Butterfly Homes
If your sensory bin stays outside, or your kids like to get mucky during their sensory play, then this might be the activity for you.
Here we have the flowers, petals, leaves, and plastic butterflies like before, but we also have other bugs, bark, and mud.
In this box, you can use fake moss or real grass cutting to create the grass floor effect. Then add in plastic or paper butterflies, and cuttings of wood.
Ideally, the wood cuttings should be different shapes so your kids can explore how the density changes along with the toughness when the sizes are different.
If you can get different types of wood, that would be even better.
Play Doh Ladybugs
In this butterfly bin, the real stars of the show are the Play-Doh ladybugs. You can make them with your kids and then add them to this pot as a full-day activity.
Or, you can search for different types of ladybugs, dragonflies, and butterflies to add to the pot.
The grass is made from dyed rice, and the flowers are rice paper. Ideally, everything in the sensory bins should be edible, especially if your child is young. That way they can mouth the toys without worrying you.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
In one bin, we have a list of bugs that live in the grass, along with a fun mouldable tall grass for the bugs to play in, and rocks.
In the second bin, we have dyed rice and creepy crawlies for the kids to discover. This sensory bin is all about textiles as the kids go from the smooth silicon grass to the crunchy rice grass.
We call this one the Very Hungry Caterpillar box because you could substitute the silicon grass for all the food the caterpillar eats, so the kids can create the story themselves.
Sugar Puff Sensory Bin
Sugar puffs look surprisingly like stones. If you add them to your box along with some fake plants, butterflies, and rocks. Your kids can eat away at the “little pebbles” and don’t have to worry about how tiny they are.
All you need to do is keep an eye on the larger toys you add to the box, but the rest is fine.
This box is probably the best for kids to love to get their hands in a sensory box and do nothing but move their fingers around.
From a distance, this sensory box might seem like an expensive endeavor, but in reality, you’ll just be using cardboard boxes and paper to make these shapes.
Although this technically isn’t a sensory box, many young kids just want to eat everything they get their hands on. This game can let them do that without missing out on the sensory fun.
As you’ll notice, some elements of the butterfly contain food, others have cones, and most importantly they are all different colors. Let the kids explore the light and the dark.
A Small Patch Of Land
If you haven’t got a lot of room, you can still create a sensory bin. Here we have a small patch of plastic or fake grass.
Inside there are tiny flower heads and tiny bugs (we can replace the ladybugs with butterflies). Most importantly though, there is a separate box and tweezers.
The kids can use the tweezers and put the bugs into the box. This helps with their fine motor skills and their concentration.
You can make a sensory bin out of anything. All you need is an idea and a local crafts shop. Hopefully, these images and concepts have inspired you.
Now get crafting and watch your kids enjoy these butterfly sensory experiences.
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