Spring is only a few weeks away, and making it a great time to put together an Easter sensory bin. Or wait a few weeks and do it closer to Easter–whatever works best for you and your toddler!
I recently did an Easter sensory bin with Elijah (2 yrs old at this time), and it was definitely a hit. While he was a little hesitant at first, he quickly got into it and had a blast.
I loved that it helped expose him to new textures and helped him learn to interact with different materials without getting freaked out about it. He seems to be sensitive to new textures (first it was grass as a baby, then as a toddler sand at the beach, kinetic sand, and sensory bin fillers.), so this was a great experience for him.
So without further ado, I wanted to share with you how we put our Easter sensory bin together and how you can too.
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Why Should You Do Sensory Bins?
Before we jump into how to make your own Easter sensory bin, I want to slow down and take a minute to talk about sensory bins in general. If you haven’t done a sensory bin with your toddler yet, I definitely encourage you to give it a try!
Before we tried our first bin, I always had it in my head that a sensory bin would be a lot of work, both to set up and then to clean up after. However, I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was on both accounts.
What Are Sensory Bins?
Simply put, sensory bins are bins filled with different objects that stimulate the senses. They typically have some sort of base filler, such as colored rice, fake grass, water, etc. Many sensory bins also include smaller objects to hide inside the filler for your toddler to find as they explore the bin. Often bins are centered around a particular theme, but they don’t have to be.
Sensory bins are often explored using scoops or tongs, which makes for great motor skill practice. Or, your toddler may enjoy exploring with his hands instead.
What Do Toddlers Learn From Sensory Bins?
Toddlers can learn so much from sensory bins. These activities are great for stimulating all five of your toddler’s senses–sight, sound, touch, smell, and even taste in some cases (be sure all your ingredients are safe before allowing taste!).
Colors, shapes, sounds, and textures are all common things learned from sensory bins. Although bins are certainly not limited there! Bins are often best explored independently by allowing your toddler to go about it however he or she wants to.
Of course, it’s perfectly okay to be involved in it too. You can guide their learning by pointing out the colors of the objects, or by asking how different things feel, sound, or taste. As long as your toddler has the freedom to learn and explore at their pace, you really can’t go wrong.
How To Make An Easter Sensory Bin
Now, how to put together your own Easter sensory bin! For our bin, we kept it pretty simple with several different colors of rice paired with some small rabbit figurines I got from Amazon. Despite the simplicity, it was still a lot of fun for Elijah!
- Blue, green, yellow, and purple colored rice (click here to learn how)
- Rabbit figurines — or use plastic Easter eggs as substitutes
- 9″ Tongs
- Plastic bin (I used a 15 quart bin)
Step 1: Make the colored rice + add to bin
First thing’s first–you’ll need to make the colored rice to include in your bin. I won’t go into a ton of detail on how to do this, because I have a whole other post on how to color rice, but here’s the idea:
- You’ll need 2 cups of white rice, food coloring, and a little white vinegar. Mix it all up in a Ziploc bag, dump out and spread on a cookie sheet, and allow to air dry. Drying time may vary, but it took about 30 minutes when I made it. Repeat for each color.
Once your rice is ready, for ahead and put it into your plastic bin. I used a 15 quart bin, with a total of eight cups of colored rice (two cups for each color). Of course, the colors you use are totally up to you. Personally, I used purple, blue, yellow, and green to keep with the Easter theme.
There are two ways you can add your rice to your bin. First way: mix it all up together. For the record, this is the way ours ended up by the time Elijah was done playing with it.
Second way: layer each color side by side. This is how I arranged our bin to start. I think he liked seeing each color independently, before they all ended up mixed from his scooping.
Step 2: Hide rabbit figurines in the rice
Once your rice is in the bin, go ahead and add the rabbit figurines (or plastic eggs, if you’re substituting). You’ll want to hide some or all under the rice for your toddler to sift through and find. You can also set a few on top of the rice if you’d like.
Quick note on the rabbit figurines–I used cake topper figurines, and I personally thought they were perfect for this particular activity. But, I will say that they are fairly small, so I would be careful using them if your toddler still likes to put things in his mouth.
My toddler is pretty much past that at this point, and I also supervised him while he was using the sensory bin. For those reasons, I felt comfortable using the small figurines.
And actually, he really loved them! He got so excited every time he found one. I also noticed he liked to look at each one after he found it and got it out of the bin, and set them all together on the table. It was very cute, and I think he really liked them.
Step 3: Have toddler explore the bin with scoops, tongs, or hands
Finally, once your Easter sensory bin is prepared, let your toddler explore it! Let your toddler choose whether to use a scoop, tongs, or just his hands to explore the bin.
Sensory bins are a great time to let your toddler play independently, with supervision of course. For extra learning practice, you might ask your toddler what color(s) the rice is, or how it feels and smells.
It may be an independent learning activity, but don’t be afraid to have some interaction too if you’d like. After all, toddlers love to share their experiences with us!
Have You Tried An Easter Sensory Bin Yet?
What about your toddler–have you tried out an Easter Sensory bin yet? Does your toddler like sensory bins (and if so, what’s his favorite part)?