Sensory bins are so engaging for toddlers and preschoolers. For our fall theme activities we’re bringing back our fall sensory bin. We’ll start by using it for open-ended sensory exploration, and then we’ll be using it for some learning activities in the coming weeks.
These are photos of last year’s bin after we assembled it. I’m looking forward to seeing how the kids explore and interact with these same materials now that they are all a year older.
The bin is full of items that remind us of the colors, scents and symbols of fall. Some of the items include:
- Fake fall leaves from the Dollar Tree
- Strands of raffia from the Dollar Tree (You could also use bits of hay.)
- Small pine cones
- Apple-shaped sponges (The small apples from our Apple Sensory Bin would also be a great substitution.)
- Measuring cups
- Brown pom poms
- Mini pumpkins
- Small plastic containers with scented cotton balls (cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, apple pie spice, cloves, nutmeg)
Ways We Will Extend the Use of Our Sensory Bin
Exploring: This first week we introduce a new seasonal sensory bin the kids spend a lot of time freely exploring the contents of the bin. I simply leave the bin out for the kids to explore on their own. This self-directed learning and sensory exploration is the primary focus of sensory bins. The kids will feel the different textures, smell the scents, and observe the objects. 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.
After a week I will start using some of the options below to extending the use of the sensory bin and incorporate some of our specific learning skills. These are more adult-directed than free exploration, but they will allow us to focus on the kids’ specific goals.
- Name objects in the bin for toddlers and ask them to locate the objects. As they are able, ask toddlers to pick up an object and name it.
- Name the colors of objects in the bin.
- Play “I Spy” with preschoolers by describing an object using its physical description (color, shape, size, texture).
- Smell the scented items. Talk about what those scents remind you of.
- Make up a story using some of the items in the sensory bin.
- 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.
Sorting: Sort objects from the bin by:
- Select some of the objects and make a pattern.
- 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.