Sensory tables are not necessarily a new concept; however, they have definitely risen in popularity in the past few years and for good reason!
If you’re unfamiliar with what a sensory table or sensory bin is, let me enlighten you.
Sensory bins are all about helping children learn about the world around them through their senses. Therefore, a sensory bin pushes children to touch and play using their imagination and senses at the same time and gain extra sensory perception.
Playing is a fundamental aspect of a child’s cognitive development.
Not just that but, sensory bins help children to learn. When a child plays, they’re not just playing, they’re learning and growing, and sensory activities are a wonderful way to enact brain function.
Sensory play is also a great way to help children who may have autism, sensory disorders, anxiety, etc. Just as a stress ball may work to calm an adult, sensory bins are a great way to calm, distract, or soothe a child.
As you can tell, sensory tables and bins are a great tool, toy, etc. to either have at home or even in a classroom. Sensory bins can be made in all shapes, size, themes, etc. You can even adjust them to work for mobile moments such as car rides.
What Do I Put in a Sensory Bin?
There are so many things you can put in a sensory bin or table. Of course, it helps to narrow down some ideas for your sensory bin. Do you have a specific theme you would like to use such as the ocean or dinosaurs? If so, this will help you narrow down what you should include in your sensory bin. You wouldn’t want to put buttons in a dinosaur bin because that doesn’t match the theme and could confuse your child when they’re learning the true concept of dinosaurs. If you don’t want to do a theme, that’s ok too!
Some filler ideas for sensory bins are:
There’s a lot of ideas for sensory table as long as they’re similar to those listed, it will work great.
Items to put in the tubs: If you chose a theme, choose little toys and things that are various feels and textures, to go with your theme.
Try not to go overly large with the toys but, try to change up the sizes and shapes a bit if possible.
Also, adding in a shovel, little containers to hold stuff, etc. is a must since it adds another level of fun and play.
Sensory Bin Ideas
Tips on Sensory Bins
Other ideas that people like to use, especially if it’s a short-term sensory bin and not something you’re looking to store is cooked spaghetti or other pasta types. Dying these pastas is also a blast and can be matched to certain holidays.
Pasta isn’t the only option other things such as natural dirt or even water is a great idea.
Anything they can stick their hands in and really feel the texture and play with.
If you’re looking for options that aren’t messy, you’ll need to construct your sensory bin around your child’s habits.Water can be messy for some kids while others have no problem keeping it in the bin.
Is it Messy?
Of course, kids can dump things and bins are easily dumpable.
You can either let them play on hardwood floor, on newspaper, have bins that are fastened to a table, wall, or floor so they don’t dump, etc.
There’s also the option of trying to use items that won’t make a mess if dumped but, then that limits their play and sensory options.
The best bet is to plan ahead for the space and items you’re using and figure out the best way to minimize a mess if anything gets dumped.
Sensory Table Ideas
Sometimes, just getting the gears turning on ideas is all it takes to come up with sensory bin ideas for the kids you’re making it for. Here are a few sensory bin ideas I’ve gathered from other people. Of course, you don’t have to use their idea exactly however, these are a great place to get started to spur your own ideas.
Overall, sensory bins and tables are great toys that will keep children busy for long periods of time.
Further, they can be reusable and provide a great way for children to learn and grow in a plethora of aspects.
I especially like to use them when going outside isn’t possible but I still want them to be able to learn and explore.
Do you have any fun sensory bin ideas you’ve used?
Other great posts on sensory play for toddlers and children of all ages.
And these easy diy sensory toys