Sensory bins are a favorite in our house. Ethan at 18 months knows the word “activity” and runs to the Flisat table. An aspect of sensory bins I really enjoy is the variation in fillers. The fillers are often inexpensive and reusable. After exploring a bin, the materials can be packed away in an airtight storage container.
Offering great opportunities to expand vocabulary, sensory play also incorporates fine motor skills. Learning through play is organic for children and fun for adults. I have learned so much as an adult exploring my daughter’s interests. In addition, sensory bins are a great way to explore season changes. This post will explore a few fall sensory bin fillers and activities they can be used for. An additional blog post that you might also enjoy is a Fall Activity checklist, found here.
Sensory Bin Fillers:
Our fall sensory bin fillers consist of:
- Purple dyed rice
- Corn Kernels
- Kidney beans
- Orange dyed chickpeas
- Red dyed chickpeas
- Halloween sprinkles
- Candy Eyes
Lentils are the softest filler and are so fun to scoop and pour! These are easy to use, simply purchase a bag of dried lentils and pour them in your bin. Lentils can be found in shades of red, green, black. Corn kernels, halloween sprinkles, kidney beans and candy eyes are other easy fillers that you just have to pour and use.
Purple dyed rice gives a great sensation in your hand as you squeeze it. To prepare the rice, pour white rice into a large container. Then add liquid watercolor to the container and shake it until the rice is saturated. Pour the rice onto a large flat surface and allow to dry for a couple of hours.
Chickpeas are a good size and easy cleanup! To dye chickpeas I pour them into a sealable container and add paint. Shake the container until chickpeas are covered and then lay on a flat surface to dry.
Lentil Sensory Bins:
Green lentils are great to be for dirt in sensory bins. Two bins I created for the kids were a pumpkin patch and a farm. For both I incorporated a word using our Maple + Lark spelling tiles. The addition of early literacy is just to peak interest but not a main concern. The kidney beans were perfect to use as animal feed and mud. We used our Schleich farm animals and glass beans for the farm and Target Pumpkins for the pumpkin patch. For the pumpkin patch I included a pumpkin life cycle worksheet as well from Habitat Schoolhouse.
The red chickpeas were perfect to create a spooky sensory shaker. To prepare the sensory bin, I had a container of both the red chickpeas and candy eyes in addition the our recycled bottle and 2 scoops. The kids worked together to fill and explore this spooky shaked.
Another great activity the red chickpeas were used for was apple picking. I combined our Grapat Mushrooms and Trees to for an apple tree. Then, I used red chickpeas to fill in spaces between our loose parts to create bunches of apples. This was a great fine motor activity for Lily at age 4. In addition to removed the apples with tongs, we were able to practice counting and taking turns with the activity.
Corn Kernel Shaker:
Corn kernel fall sensory play options are abundant, but the kids enjoyed working together so well on the spooky shaker we made another sensory bottle. This shake included corn kernels, which sound amazing in our bottle, as well as some nature treasures the kids collected outside. The kids enjoyed comparing the variation in sounds of the two shakers.
Spooky Organ Dig:
The purple rice was a great alternative to not have this sensory bin appear too gruesome. The organ fillers are made by Safari LTD and then I sprinkled in a few candy eyes from spooky fun! At age 4, Lily enjoyed using tweezers to operate and remove organs, we discussed what each technical term was and what the purpose was in our body. Ethan at 18 months enjoyed scooping the rice into bowls, pouring the rice and running away with our organs. A quick setup but really kept the kids entertained.
Another easy set up is combining various fillers for potions or baking. I purchased these silicone cupcake wrappers to reduce our waste. You can see the combination of lentils and kidney beans as that mixture is left over from our farm play. I could easily separate but the kids enjoy using their imagination as to what each ingredient is. For this particular cupcake, the lentils were the batter and the kidney beans were chocolate chips. There was an orange frosting and festive but spooky monster sprinkles for the finishing touch. This is a great activity to set up and let your little one explore independent play. (Unless they are still at the mouthing age, then always keep a close eye on them)
The items used in these sensory bins can be found in my Amazon Storefront. Some links used in this post will earn me a small percentage back, I hope you find them as useful as we have. Be sure to follow us on Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook for more ideas! Happy playing.