We have been using Sensory Bins as a way to incorporate the Season or Holiday into our daily routine for awhile now. However, I have not been very good at documenting them until recently. Buga really enjoys playing with different nicknacks in a tub filled with something tactile - I mean, who wouldn't? It's a great way to add texture while exploring a subject through excavation and discovery. Sometimes she mulls through the bin on her own and sometimes we work on it together, incorporating more conversation as she explores. Either way she is learning some very important lessons: physics, gravity, volume, shape, size, sound, how things fit together, similar and different, size relation...the list goes on.
I usually try to incorporate something that show size relation :
Small, Medium, Large
Small, Smaller, Smallest
I almost always include a Magnifying glass as she is big into "investigating".
We talk about what we see - the finer details.
There are always some kind of scoops, cups, spoons to help with studying volume.
I usually include some kind of funnel or, in this case, paper towel tube -
What fits in? Where does it end up? Does it go fast or slow? Does it get stuck?
This is an Eye Spy picture of the goodies included in this bin:
- Christmas Erasers -
I liked that these had a rubbery texture, were colorful, and had two of each character in a pack so we could work on making matching pairs.
- Bells -
I liked these because there were a bunch (I think 12) in a pack. I liked that it added a sound to the bin. I liked that it provided a good end number to count to.
- Candy Canes -
She has been really interested in Candy Canes because this is the first year she was able to eat them, so I thought it would be fun to have some to play with in the bin. She would often take them out and put them on our Christmas Tree as decorations. We also used these to count.
- Ornaments -
Most of the ornaments in the bin are little tiny ones I wouldn't even put on my Christmas tree. I liked that it provided another counting tool. It also provided a sorting tool as it came with about 4 or so of each color. I added 2 larger ornaments from the Tree to give i
t another learning dimension : Size Relationships.
- Red Bows -
This provided yet another counting tool but one very different in color and texture. They were shiny red bows, very festive...soft, yet prickly. They slide through the tube pretty well, too!
- Wooden Snowman - Wooden Tree -
I thought these made a fun imaginative addition. We used them to make "Snow
Scapes" with the cotton balls as snow. They also provided a story telling conversation starter. She has been very interested in playing "boys and girls" ie. using her dollhouse. This was a holiday extension of that in her sensory bin. This is one of the products I sold in my shop this season....and as many of you know, she gets to be my product tester!
If your little one is too young for small objects, then use a bigger tub, with some bigger object. When Buga was little I used an "under the bed storage container" and filled it with Cheerios so if she decided to eat the "Sensory Material" it was completely safe. I liked the size because she could actually get in and sit down in there. Sometimes I saw it as more of a trough than a play box....but she absolutely LOVED it. There was not a single day that went by that she wouldn't sit and play in there - pouring, scooping, placing, shaking, eating...the Cheerios. And I just covered it up when we were done.
(This was the trial run, before I decided the Cheerio Bin would be around to stay. That's when I upgraded to the "under the bed storage container with the lid".)