What is a sensory bin?
A sensory bin is a container which engages your senses. It can contain anything, most often textures which encourage creative play. Items in a bin can be dry ingredients (rice, pasta, coffee, flour, beans) or wet (clean mud, goop, water beads). Often there is a combination of ingredients which create an altogether new texture or material.
Sensory bins engage all your senses. Textures can stimulate exploration with appeal to your feeling senses. Colourful bins and the variety of colour appeal to children's visual sense. When items such as beans and rice are scooped and played with they are audibly appealing. Some bins because of the ingredients can have a scent and stimulate the sense of smell.
Sensory bins encourage children to explore in different ways using different senses. Sensory play expands a child's experience and helps to develop their brain in new ways. Sensory bins help children to become more creative. They can pour and scoop, mix and get messy. When children engage in messy play, their senses are stimulated. When their senses are stimulated, they are learning.
While there is an incredible amount of fun and discovery that happens in sensory bin play, there is also a great deal of learning which can help develop skills such as:
- Fine motor skills (picking up objects)
- Sorting and Classifying
- Specific skill recognition
Children often find certain bins incredibly soothing and are drawn to some more than others. Bins have been known to prevent meltdowns and can redirect energy in a positive way. Pouring and scooping is not only entertaining for most little ones, it is also soothing. Children who have a short attention span have been known to attend for an extraordinary amount of time playing in a sensory bin.
Lastly, sensory bins appeal to children in a manageable way for parents. They can keep children occupied and close to you while you as a parent take care of necessary daily tasks (making dinner, washing dishes etc...).
Want to learn more about sensory bins, make sensory bins for your kids and share ideas with other parents? Join a sensory bin workshop or gather your friends and host one. Contact Val if you are interested.