We’ll be at the beach (aah!) the week before Easter, so I put the girls’ Easter sensory bin together a bit early. I wanted them to have some time to explore and play with it for a while before we leave for our trip. It’s bold and full of sparkle, and they LOVE it! There’s also a lot of opportunity for learning and sensory discovery embedded in this small…but very full..bin.
Most of the items in this bin were purchased from Target, Walmart, or the Dollar Tree. The kids were so excited about the novelty of using a different type of bin like we did with our St. Patrick’s Day Sensory Bin, so we tried out a couple different options for this bin, too.
First I tried to find a woven basket large enough for our materials, but we didn’t have any here at the house. Then we spotted one of the girls’ baby cradles, and I thought that might make for a cute bin. After setting everything up in the cradle, it seemed a bit cramped. I almost took everything out and went with our traditional plastic bin. However, the girls were very excited to rock the baby chick and baby bunny, so I left the bin alone and stepped aside for them to play.
- Pink paper shred as the base
- Colored buckets
- Various plastic Easter eggs with different shapes, colors, and textures
- Foam Easter egg ornaments
- Foam letters (SPRING) and flowers
- Assorted Easter theme erasers
- Flower-shaped table scatter
- Small bunny and small chick
- Flower ice cube trays
- Pick-up sticks game in a carrot-shaped container
- Glittered cutouts (bunnies and eggs)
- Cupcake liners
- Cupcake picks
- Jelly beans (okay, there really aren’t jelly beans because a certain Daddy might have eaten them before they made it into the bin, but there should be jelly beans.)
Ways We Will Extend the Use of Our Sensory Bin
Starting this bin a while before Easter will give us many opportunities to use it in different ways.
As with any bin, I always let the kids explore freely on their own before introducing any learning activities. This self-directed learning and sensory exploration is the primary focus of sensory bins. The kids will feel the different textures, observe the objects, and begin to experiment with the materials in different ways. During this time I will also watch to see what they are naturally doing with the objects so I can decide which activities we might do next.
Once I see that the kids are done freely exploring the bin, I will start using some of the options below for extending its use. These are more adult-directed than free exploration, but they will allow us to focus on specific skills. The bin will also remain out and available for free exploration. We might just use it for various activities throughout the day.
If you are familiar with our sensory bin posts, you will notice that these ideas for extending the learning are almost exactly the same. Using sensory bins we are able to practice important developmental skills over and over again. By adding a little novelty with new items, kids are engaged and excited more than they might be if I used the same materials over and over again.
Pretend play naturally develops without much adult interaction, but I did want to specifically mention it with this bin. I saw more pretend play with this Easter sensory bin than I have with most of our other bins. The girls immediately started playing with the bunny and chick. They fed the bunny the carrot, and made beds for both animals in the buckets.
Later Big Buddy (age 3) and Lovey (age 4) turned the buckets into a home for the butterfly. Then they used the egg ornaments as the butterfly’s backpack and lunch box to help him get ready for school.
They also used the cupcake liners and paper shred to make cupcakes for a party with bunny and chick.
Of course, there were also quite a few Easter egg hunts using the different eggs and buckets. We still seem to be finding Easter eggs in a few random spots.
And if you follow us on Instagram or Facebook, you know that this play also led to a bit of a mess one day as the kids pretended the paper shred was rain and threw it in the air. They enjoyed tossing it up and then walking through it, and when they were done they worked together to clean it up.
Below are more specific ideas I use to help the kids interact with sensory bins.
- Talk…just talk about what the kids are doing as they explore the bin. This can be a great way to introduce and discuss new vocabulary. Describe what little ones are doing. Ask older children to describe what they are doing in their own words.
- Name objects in the bin for Tinker (2 years) and ask her to locate them. As she is able, ask her to pick up an object and name it.
- Name the colors of objects in the bin.
- Discuss and explore the texture of different objects in the bin.
- Play “I Spy” with Lovey by describing an object using its physical description (color, shape, size, texture).
- Make up a story using some of the items in the sensory bin. (This was particularly fun with this Easter sensory bin.)
- Practice fine motor skills by moving small pieces from one bin (egg or bucket) to the next. Toddlers can use their fingers in pincer grasp, or you could include tongs.
- Choose a kind of object. Find all of those items in the sensory bin. Count how many in all.
- Choose two different kinds of objects. Find all of those items in the sensory bin. Count how many of each. Then compare the two numbers (more, less, the same).
- Roll a number cube (with either dots, numbers, or number words). Find that many objects.
- Roll a number cube. Decide what number is one more than the number rolled. Then find that many objects.
- Roll a number cube. Decide what number is one less than the number rolled. Then find that many objects.
- Introduce and practice estimation with gold coins like this activity from Carrots Are Orange.
- Sort objects from the bin by color, shape, size, or texture
- In this bin we used the flower trays, the eggs, and the buckets as sorting trays.
- Select some of the objects and make a pattern. There were a lot of options for patterning in this bin. Lovey especially liked making patterns with the glittered cutouts and the cupcake picks. Big Buddy enjoyed making elaborate patterns and pictures using the pick-up sticks.
- If your child is just beginning patterning, make a pattern for the child. Then ask him or her to copy it or extend the pattern.
- Stack objects
- Line objects up
- Open and close the different containers
- Tinker spent a lot of time organizing the materials in this bin. She loved making a train out of all of the pick-up sticks.
More Playful Easter Learning
Get hands-on math fun with our 29-page roll and color Easter egg math set. Practice early math skills with these fun games kids love.
More Resources for Easter
Are you making an Easter sensory bin? What will be in it? What other ways do your kids enjoy interacting with sensory bins?
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