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We planted seeds recently. I knew the girls would enjoy watching the seeds grow, and I’m hoping together we can keep them alive long enough to actually see a plant bloom or produce something edible. You see, I don’t have much of a green thumb!
Although my success at gardening is minimal, I do love it. Cathy James from NurtureStore published The Garden Classroom, a phenomenal book full of ideas for gardening, crafts and activities to do with kids, and there are so many that I am excited to do with my girls. Click here to view more details about the book or purchase your own copy.
That first day we planted seeds I expected the girls to have fun, but I didn’t really anticipate how much the girls would enjoy digging in the potting soil. Honestly I could have just given them a big pot full of soil and left them to play for the afternoon. They would have loved it. In fact, they did play for a while on their own that first day before we planted the seeds.
Then I read some tips in The Garden Classroom about creating a Pretend Play Potting Shed, and that got me thinking about creating a garden sensory bin to keep outside throughout spring. That way the girls can have fun planting and replanting their own gardens over and over again. This has also turned out to be a great way to keep Tinker (2 years old) from digging up the sprouts we see in our newly planted garden.
Our Garden Sensory Bin
- Container of choice
- Potting soil
- Watering cans
- Spray bottle
- Toy Worms (We found ours in the fishing department on sale.)
- Seed packets with an assortment of seeds
- Small gardening tools
- Small pots
- Toy vegetables (Our carrots are from the Dollar Tree.)
- Fake (or real) plants and flowers
I wanted our bin to be raised so the girls could stand, and I also wanted a way to have a separate space for the pots and gardening tools so they could be kept separate from the soil. While scanning for something I saw our wagon, and I thought it had potential. I ended up putting the potting soil in a plastic container. Then I placed the plastic container inside of the wagon. This left just enough room for other gardening and potting accessories. It is also raised off the ground so the girls can stand as they are gardening.
Another benefit of using the wagon is that we can move it around the yard. In the evening we can pull it into a sheltered area away from the sprinklers. We can also move it to shady areas when it is too hot and sunny areas when it is too cold. And it’s become a traveling flower and vegetable stand a time or two.
I wasn’t sure how the girls would feel about the worms being added to the bin, even if they weren’t real. They typically scatter quickly when any sort of bug or underground creature surfaces. However, before I even opened the packages they were both begging to touch the worms. So as we were getting breakfast together they played with their worms. They counted them, put them in rows, made letters with them, and acted out stories with them. Maybe there’s a W is for Worms theme in our future! But for now the worms found a happy home in the gardening sensory bin.
This was how our bin looked before the girls started to play.
As soon as I said the garden was open for discovery, they were both excited to get started. Lovey (age 4) started planting seeds and putting flowers in pots. Tinker filled the carrot containers with seeds and experimented with the sounds they made. Soon they were watering their plants and deep in pretend play. I’m sure this is a bin we’ll enjoy having for play throughout the spring.
More Inspiration for Your Gardening Sensory Bin
When I’m putting together a new sensory bin, I always love to look around and gather ideas. I found a few very unique sensory bins around the web.
Flower Garden Sensory Tub (Nurturing Naters)
Garden Sensory Bin (Growing Up Our Style)
Scented Gardening Sensory Play and Flower Shop (Growing a Jeweled Rose)
Gardening Sensory Bin (Mama Papa Bubba)
Rock Garden Sensory Bin (The Picky Apple)
Gardening Sensory Bin with Live Worms (The Picky Apple)
Tutorial for Creating Vegetable Tops (Modern Parents Messy Kids)
Gardening Sensory Bin and Discovery Box with Watering Station (Rainbow Playhouse)
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