How to Make a Sensory Bin for Kids with Objects from Nature
Want to familiarize your little one with the wonders of nature? Start with a sensory bin that incorporates foraged artifacts like leaves, twigs, stones, and sand.
Developing toddlers are just learning to master and indulge in their five senses. Touch, sight, sound, smell, and taste need exposure to develop, as do the fine motor skills that allow children to explore the world. This is where sensory play comes in.
Sensory play combines your little one's senses with important skills like movement, balance, and even independence—and a sensory bin is a perfect way to engage in this beneficial play while beginning a lifelong exploration of nature.
What Is a Sensory Bin?
A sensory bin is a tub or any shallow container filled with tactile items for your child to explore. Common iterations utilize kitchen staples like raw pasta and beans that are perfect for scooping, stirring, and more.
Natural sensory bins take this concept to an environmental level, incorporating foraged artifacts like leaves, twigs, stones, and sand into the mixture for a touchable representation of the planet's multitude of wonders and textures.
What Are the Benefits of a Sensory Bin?
The playtime container offers a simple, accessible, and safe means of embracing innate curiosity and fostering a connection with the natural world.
Whether you bring your child along for the collection process or simply allow them to enjoy the finished sensory bin, the activity serves as an entry point for communication (asking for and naming items), play and socialization (partake or invite friends over for the fun), new nerve connections in the brain, and more.
Read on for a few simple steps to get your toddler started on their journey of sensory play.
How to Make a Sensory Bin
1. Select Your Container
First, you need to find the actual bin for your sensory bin. The only requirements for this are that it be shallow and relatively wide, the better to spread out materials so that they are readily observable. Upcycle a baking pan or an old shoebox for an easy (and free) option.
2. Collect Your Natural Materials
Grab your family and head to your backyard or a local park to source your natural materials. Look for a variety of sizes, textures, and colors, the better to mimic nature's own variety.
3. Play Away!
Position your artifacts in your bin and let the play begin! Be sure to supervise—the better to avoid the ingestion of any inedible items, as well as encourage conversation and questioning.
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