5 Sensory Bins to Keep Kids Happy

Kinetic Sand

Come on over, parent troop, we’re going to battle boredom, together! Imagine that I have donuts for everyone and there is an endless supply of coffee available in the kitchen. Let’s get to the ideas on how to keep your little ones happy by using sensory bins.

Sensory bin activities are designed to stimulate learning by introducing new sights, sounds, and textures through play. Sensory bin activities can also be used to stave off boredom, promote creativity, encourage relaxation, and are a great option if you are trying to avoid electronics or screen time. The kids get to be fully in charge of learning with these sensory bin activities.

Here are the basics that you’ll need to make these sensory bin activities work well. Purchase some stackable clear plastic bins with lids. You can find them at many places locally or online. Here is exactly what I am referencing and some places to find them: Walmart, Target, Amazon, and The Container Store. Other suggested additions are small toy animals for play and this fine motor tools set.

Water Beads

5 Sensory Bin Activities

1. Kinetic Sand – I love the bright color and the feel of the play sand we purchased, and it also comes with some sand molds. It’s heavier than beach sand and easier for me to see if any of it spills! If you need to do this activity indoors, just put it on top of a large beach towel. Either shake the sand off outside or funnel the excess back into the bin when they’re done playing.

2. Water Beads – These biodegradable water beads are so fun to play with and have a unique texture! One bag contains about 20,000 beads. I want you to take note of that because I did dump the entire bag in a bin the first time…things got crazy. It was like a slow explosion of rainbow proportions and by the end there were multiple bins being used to contain it all! The kids didn’t seem to mind.

3. Uncooked Noodles – They’ll love the sound of this bin! I went through my pantry and grabbed any bags or boxes of noodles that had a small amount left in them and put them all together in a bin. Some fun noodle shapes to look for are Conchiglie, Elbow, Farfalle, Fusilli, Penne, Rotelle, Orecchiette, and Alphabet pasta. You could also use uncooked rice and beans for this activity!

4. Homemade Play Dough – I always have some play dough from the store in my cabinet, but if you want a homemade one (to avoid gluten exposure) this is my favorite recipe. I usually add a few drops of extract, essential oil, or food coloring of my choice. We’re all about sanity, so do what works best for your family! Store bought or homemade, it will keep them busy!

5. Paper Scraps – Toss in construction paper of all colors, advertisements that come in the mail, paper of various thicknesses, give them a pair of scissors, and let them explore! My youngest is almost 4 years old, so it’s the perfect time for a new hand-eye coordinating activity. I love these scissors for kids young and old. For older kids, learning how to cut out shapes will become important for school projects. They can also fold the paper to make airplanes, snowflakes, etc.

Once these bins are prepped, you are ready to conquer the boredom battle! My kids are usually busy from 30 minutes to well over an hour with any one of these bins on the list. Let me know how these sensory bins work at your house!

Erin is married to her high school sweetheart and is currently in the chaos of raising two beautiful girls. She has a passion for coffee and photography. Currently, she is in the process of renovating her new farmhouse and also daydreaming about what fun animals will reside there too. For updates and more check out her Instagram @coffeemamabear.