Sensory bins are a fun way to invite kids to engage in hands-on exploration of new concepts and learning themes. We love sensory bins as they can be fine tuned and used for so many different age groups! We recently introduced a counting caterpillars spring sensory bin to our caterpillar learning theme. Using just a few materials, children are encouraged to use hands-on imaginative play and math skills such as color and number identification, sorting, patterning, and one-to-one correspondence.
FIND EVEN MORE SPRING THEME ACTIVITIES IN OUR PRINTABLE SPRING LESSON PLANS AND OUR BUTTERFLY THEME LESSON PLANS.
- small clear bin
- sensory filler (we used split peas)
- dyed rotini pasta
- plastic numbers
- scooping tools (we LOVE these)
- plastic storage bag (we used sandwich size)
Getting Started with your Counting Caterpillars Spring Sensory Bin
To assemble your caterpillar math sensory bin, grab a small plastic bin and your favorite sensory bin filling material. We used green split peas. If you’re looking for a non-food option, paper mache grass or real grass may serve as a good alternative. Add some loose numbers as manipulatives. We used some magnetic numbers we had on hand. Next, gather some uncooked rotini pasta to represent your caterpillars. We chose to dye ours in order to provide more opportunities to extend math concepts.
How to Dye Pasta
- Separate pasta into plastic storage bags.
- Add one tablespoon of vinegar to each bag.
- Add 3-5 drops of desired food coloring.
- Mix contents and allow to soak for at least an hour.
- Transfer contents to an aluminum pan and allow to dry for an hour or more. We placed ours outside in the sun.
Caterpillar Counting Sensory Bin Fun and Learning!
See the caterpillar sensory bin in action. Then read on for more specific details for play and learning.
To begin your caterpillar math sensory bin exploration and fun, review the numbers and colors within the bin. Next, invite your little learners to dig in and explore all of the materials and sensory bin tools.
Sensory bins definitely promote imagination and relaxation. By the look on their faces and how long they enjoyed this bin, it was evident that it was fun and soothing to let the beans and pasta run through their hands.
Notice what children are spending their time on and encourage open-ended math practice initially. For example, ask them to identify a number or color, then find that many caterpillars. This is an excellent chance to work on counting and one-to-one correspondence.
As they continue to explore, play, and imagine, offer examples of patterning, sorting, or even larger numeral combinations if appropriate.
We had a lot of fun finding different ways to pair the pasta “caterpillars” with their friends. It also proved to be an excellent quiet time independent activity beyond our learning time.
We hope you enjoy trying this caterpillar sensory bin to extend math and learning in your caterpillar and butterfly theme! What are some ways you incorporate cross-curricular hands-on learning?
GET A FULL WEEK OF BUTTERFLY THEME LEARNING AND PLAY
Save time and get right to the playful learning with our printable lesson plan sets. Each set includes over 30 playful learning activities related to the theme, and we’ve provided different versions for home preschool families and classroom teachers so all activities are geared directly toward your needs.
This set includes active hands-on learning ideas and the following printables:
1) Butterfly Life Cycle Roll and Graph Game
2) Butterfly Life Cycle Roll and Graph Game
3) Caterpillar Uppercase Alphabet Cards
4) Butterfly Lowercase Alphabet Cards
5) Butterfly Life Cycle Cards
6) Butterfly Symmetry Matching Cards
7) Butterfly Life Cycle Word Building Mats
8) Caterpillar Measurement Recording Sheet
9) Caterpillar Patterning Activity
10) Caterpillar Syllable Sort
11) Caterpillar Egg Leaf Counting Mats (Numbers 1-10)
Watch this short video to see just a few examples of the types of activities and printables included in this set:
GET YOUR LESSON PLANS