Set up a winter sensory bin in minutes and let your child explore many different textures through play! Sensory bins are fun and easy to set up. More importantly, toddlers and preschoolers ADORE playing with sensory bins. We usually leave sensory bin out for a couple days until our kids become bored and then switch it for a new themed sensory tub.
As you can see from an image we had lots of different textures and materials inside – we had rice, cotton, plastic and much more!
SUPPLIES WE USED FOR WINTER SENSORY BIN
What I find as a great advantage of sensory bins is that you can fill them up with whatever you have on hand! So, nothing that ended in our winter spark sensory bin was purchased for this activity, we all had it on hand. However, we’ll provide some links for you here in case you would like to stock up with some of the items we used:
- white rice, uncooked
- cardboard roll penguins (make at home)
- cotton wool balls
- blue marbles (find here: United States | Canada | United Kingdom)
- large jingle bells (find here: United States | Canada | United Kingdom)
- snowflake shaped buttons (find here: United States | Canada | United Kingdom)
- sparkly blue gem buttons (find here: United States | Canada | United Kingdom)
- cookie cutters in star and bear shapes (find here: United States | Canada | United Kingdom)
- plastic yogurt cups – from recycle bin
- sparkly leaves
- metal spoons in 3 different sizes
- several odd items we had – button tree, tiny metallic snowman and Santa
HOW TO SET UP WINTER SHINE SENSORY BIN?
Sensory bins are super easy to put together:
- Grab a plastic container to serve as a sensory bin.
- Pour rice inside.
- Add bits and bobs and arrange them on top of the rice base.
- Ask kids to come. And, that’s it!
HOW TO ENGAGE YOUR TODDLERS TO PLAY WITH WINTER SHINE SENSORY BIN?
First time I showed my toddler this sensory bin, she was quite afraid to touch anything inside! So, mom had to sit down next to her and show here what she can do with all the items inside! I’m sure this will not be a problem next time! It’s probably just that this was so new to her and all of the sudden, after we have told her so many times not to make any mess, she was allowed to play and make a mess!
We have placed a blanket underneath our sensory bin so we can easily collect any rice that was out of the box. Part she enjoyed themost involved scooping rice with different spoons. She kept trying all of them and decided for smallest at the end. Scooping rice is great for hand-eye coordination, balancing and fine motor skills. Wouldn’t believe how slippery that rice can be! And she was happy to fill in and pour out rice in and from the cup!
Another activity she enjoyed was to get her hands inside cups and try to get out all the tiny items – snowflake and gem buttons that ended inside and remove it from the rice she collected in a cup.
We ended the daily play with pouring rice from cup to another cup. She didn’t really try to be too careful as you can see by the amount of the rice that ended on the blanket! But she loved it!
In next several days she played with this sensory bin, my daughter used paper roll penguins to stuff them with cotton wool balls and then push them out. She tried pouring rice on top of different items from this bin to see what kind of sounds she would get. She tried to make shapes using cookie cutters.
Overall, this simple and inexpensive sensory bin brought 5-6 hours of play in 4 days time!
LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES WITH WINTER SENSORY BIN
- fine motor skills development
- hand-eye coordination
- promotes imaginaton and creativity through storytelling
- new tactile sensory experiences
- language development – introduce new words and sounds
- problem solving
FAVORITE BOOKS ABOUT WINTER FOR EXTENDED PLAY
The Snowy Day features simple but timeless story about a boy waking up to discover that snow has fallen during the night. The little boy celebrates the snow-draped city with a day of humble adventures–experimenting with footprints, knocking snow from a tree, creating snow angels, and trying to save a snowball for the next day. Find the book here: Unites States | Canada | United Kingdom
Introduce your baby or toddler to arctic animals including polar bears, whales, caribou, walruses, seals, and more in this adorable lift-a-flap board book. Simple sentences reinforce future language structure while grasping and lifting the sturdy flaps helps develop fine motor skills. A perfect first book! Find the book here: United States | Canada | United Kingdom
One cold day Mouse and Poppa venture into the clear white world. From sledding down hills, to skating across the ice, to meeting fluffy snow angels, Mouse finds that wintertime is full of surprises. And before it’s time to go home, Mouse just might have time to “make” a special new friend! Find the book here: United States | Canada | United Kingdom
Adorable illustrations and wonderful sounds to watch and listen in winter! Winter wonderland engages child’s tactile and auditory senses. This book has sound, beautiful illustrations, holes to peep through and finger trails to explore! Great book to have throughout Christmas and winter seasons in your home library. Find the book here: United States | Canada | United Kingdom
WHAT TO PLAY NEXT?
You can try some of the following winter themed play ideas with your toddlers and preschoolers:
We also recommend to check out our list of the best winter board books and enjoy reading them with your kids. Also, we have a pack of winter themed coloring pages you can download for them to color and work on their fine motor skills such as pencil grip and working inside the lines.