A sensory bin is a small themed world where little ones can experience new textures and shapes while engaging in imaginative play. The supplies for these sensory bins are often things you already have on hand – the main idea is to have a mix of materials.

I love how educational these can be- the penguin or ocean sensory bin would be great for kids who love the aquarium (or who really enjoyed “Happy Feet” or “Finding Nemo”), and a child curious about gardening could get started with the garden sensory tub. Have you made sensory bins with your toddlers?

Dinosaur Bin (via Fantastic Fun and Learning) Miniature dinosaurs play in sand, dried pinto beans, and glass beads.

Penguin Bin (via Adventures at Home with Mum) Styrofoam “ice” floats above bright blue water beads, providing a place for littles ones to perch their penguin friends.

Ocean Play (via The Imagination Tree) Teach kids about animal habitats with this tactile sensory bin that uses frozen rice to simulate water.

Farm Animal (via See Vanessa Craft) Collect your child’s animal toys and situate them on a layer of corn. Kids can use this bin to act out stories from their favorite farm animal books.

Construction Play
(via Dirt and Boogers) Toy construction trucks have met their match- piles of beans, rocks, and sand.

Mermaid Lagoon (via My Small Potatoes) It’s all good clean fun in this watery sensory bin- mermaids and pirate ships are equally welcome.

Garden Bin (via No Time for Flash Cards) A garden that isn’t dependent on the actual season – use differently shaped beans, pasta shapes, and mini pots to exercise your little one’s green thumb.

Butterflies and Beans (via Little Bins for Little Hands) A perfect sensory bin for beginners- the tactility of the beans and sweetness of the butterflies is irresistible.

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