Activities with Repurposed Items

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Welcome to the Toddler & Preschool Moms Pinning Party! I invite you to join in the fun, sharing your favourite pins and checking out all the fabulous ideas that are shared!

This week, we are featuring activities made with repurposed items. Making things out of things you already have is a great way to save money and to talk to our kids about re-using to help the environment.Activities with Repurposed Items

Wine Craft from Mosswood Connections

Homemade Bird Feeder from B-Inspired Mama

Telescope Craft from In the Playroom

Simple Straw Beads from Look! We’re Learning!

Lemon Juice Bottle Duck from Well Nourished Nest

Bubble Wrap Games from Mosswood Connections

Creative Ideas for Yogurt Containers from Mi An Chi

IMPORTANT TO NOTE: By linking up, you are giving us permission to use a photo (with proper link to you!) to use in a featured collage.For this week’s pinning party, you can link up to 3 pins (or posts if you prefer) relevant to parenting toddlers and preschoolers. This can be anything from activities to child-friendly snacks to parenting tips. Then, visit some of the other pins linked up to get new ideas and help others find these great ideas too by repinning! Sharing the love by pinning your favourites really helps everyone.

Toddler & Preschooler Moms - THE place to find family friendly ideas!The Toddler & Preschool Moms Pinning Party is THE place to come to find all the best ideas from Pinterest each week. You can find the pinning party on the following blogs:

Angela Teaching Mama

Sharla The Chaos and The Clutter

Last week’s most clicked posts were:

Fizzy Glittery Playdough Gloop from Our Little House in the Country

The Best Montessori Printables from Racheous

Creative Ways to Use Yogourt Containers from Mi An Chi

If you were mentioned as a favourite, you are welcome to grab the most pinned button below.

The Chaos and The Clutter

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You may also want to follow my Pinterest boards where I pin many of the ideas linked up here.

How to Host a Sensory Bin Swap

(This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosure policy.)

Earlier this week, I had a few friends over for a busy bag and sensory bin swap. I wasn’t as organized as I wanted to be but it still took us no time at all to put together our bins and each of us ended up with four different sensory bins. I would call it a success!

How to Host a Sensory Bin SwapDoing a sensory bin exchange is a great way to get new ideas too and share what works well with your kids and learn what is working well for others.

There are several different ways that a sensory bin swap can work but all are great ways to keep the costs down and get some new ideas.

Here are a few ways a sensory bin swap can work:

1. A group of moms can each make one sensory bin and then once a week or once a month, they can rotate their bin over to the next mom. If you have a group of six moms participating, this will mean that your kids will get to play with six different sensory bins and you’ll only have to make one!

2. A group of moms can each make one theme bin but duplicate it as many times as there are people in the group. The moms then get together and give out their bins. Each mom will go home with as many bins as there are people in the group. It’s fun to add a dinner out or at least tea when getting together as a reward for all your work assembling the bins!

3. A group of moms can work together to create all the bins or bin bases. You will make one of each type for everyone in the group so the amount of sensory bins you go home with at the end will depend on how many you all have planned.

Of course, you can also do an informal swap with just one other mom and rotate your bins out that way. There will be less variety in doing it that way.

How to plan for a sensory bin swap:

  1. Find friends who want to join you and decide which type of swap you want to do. Don’t know any moms in your area who make sensory bins? Ask in your online groups or ask other moms you know to help you spread the word that you are looking to organize a swap. You will likely have a lot of interest.
  2. Decide upon the sensory bins that you want to make so that you are sure there won’t be duplicates.
  3. Buy supplies.
  4. Make your sensory bin(s).
  5. Get together to exchange bins.

Supplies needed:

You will need large resealable bags or stackable bins with lids to store the sensory bins in.



You will also need sensory bin bases. There are so many options for sensory bin bases. I have a list of non-food sensory bin bases that you can read for ideas or you can use one of the common food bases such as rice or dried beans.

Sensory Bins Ideas:

bags for sensory bin swapAt our sensory bin exchange, we each ended up with the makings of four bins.

For the bug sensory bin, we used rice that I had dyed green. I provided peppermint oil to scent the rice but didn’t do it ahead of time because some kids don’t like certain scents and I wanted to let everyone make a choice for their family. For those who wanted the scent, I added a few drops of the peppermint oil to the bag and once shaken, we had peppermint scented rice.

I had gotten a pack of stretchy spiders and a pack of stretchy caterpillars so we divided those up among the bags. I had also found some bug shaped pasta at Bulk Barn and we put that into small bags to add as well. I also had some plastic spiders and we threw some of those in as well. I had some toy insects that I put into my bag.

bug sensory bin in a bag

For the farm sensory bin, we used popcorn seeds as the base and added a smaller bag of dry soup noodles for the hay. I found silicone yellow egg poachers in sets of two at the dollar store that I thought would work really well in a farm bin.  I also found little sticks called matchsticks and knew they would be great for making fences in this farm bin. I included a little pack of farm animals for everyone.

farm sensory bin in a bagThe kids and I made our farm bag into a bin later in the day. I added a few of our toy animals and the bin was ready for play. I also added a funnel and a small container and lid for pouring and scooping. Granola Girl liked scooping the popcorn seeds into the container, putting the lid on and shaking it to hear the sound it made.

farm theme sensory binThis sensory bin wasn’t originally a frog bin, but I had bought a pack of jump frogs and a pack of kitchen sponges from the dollar store and when I commented that the sponges would make good lily pads, a frog bin was born! We included play puffs (I bought two pails of them at the dollar store and we each took half a pail), a kitchen sponge, a frog stencil, plastic jump frogs, stretchy frogs, and toy frogs that I had in the house already. Once my kids have used this bin, I can re-use the play puffs for crafts.

frog sensory bin in a bag

For hundreds of sensory bin ideas, you can also follow my Sensory Bins board on Pinterest. Follow Sharla Kostelyk’s board Sensory Bins on Pinterest.

How a sensory bin swap saves money:

Hosting a sensory bin swap enables you to buy things in larger packages and share the cost. This can be as simple as splitting a set of funnels that you pick up at the dollar store or can be a larger item such as splitting the cost of a huge bag of kidfetti.

I shopped for our sensory bin items at the dollar store and at Bulk Barn. Not including the cost of the bags or bins, each of the sensory bins averaged $2.50. We each paid $10 and ended up with four sensory bins and a few other odds and ends like a homemade sensory ball. Had I made just one of each bin, some of the costs (like buying a pack of stretchy caterpillars just to use a few) would have stayed the same so the cost of my bins would have been much higher.

This post is part of a 5 day series on Simple Sensory Solutions as part of a Hopscotch with iHomeschool Network. Pop over and see the other great topics from an amazing group of writers!

Ideas for Creative Sensory Play

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I’ve had a request to share some sensory play activities for each of the sensory needs. Tactile sensory play ideas are abundant (though I will provide some of those as well), but it can be more difficult to come up with ideas for the other types of sensory input.

Ideas for Creative Sensory Play for all sensory inputs

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) is a complicated thing. Those with SPD can have sensory differences in one or all of the areas. They can be either sensory seeking or sensory avoidant. To complicate things further, they can be avoidant in one area and seeking in another. The general areas of sensory input that are talked about in relation to SPD are tactile, vestibular, proprioception, auditory, visual, and olfactory.

Simple sensory input definitions:

  • tactile=touch
  • vestibular=movement and balance
  • proprioception=sensing where we are in space (think body awareness)
  • auditory=sound
  • visual=sight
  • olfactory=smell

Tactile Sensory Activities

Texture Cards

Sensory Bins

Shaving Cream Painting

Montessori Inspired Colour Activities

Watermelon Slime

Sensory Balls (Squeeze Balls)

Tactile Sensory Play Ideas

Sensory Bags

Frozen Treasure Find

Vestibular Sensory Activities

Vestibular Sensory Ideas

Tennis Ball Movement Activities

Rope Swing

Tunnel Play

Water Activities

Upside Down Ice Pass

Beach Ball Spin and Toss

Bounce, Spin and Flip

Easy Kids Obstacle Course Ideas

Backyard Obstacle Course

Proprioception Sensory Activities

Trampoline Games

Jumping Beans Game

Playdough and Rocks

Playdough Sensory Input

Stuck in the Mud

Juggling Bags

Jumping Lines

Gross Motor Sensory Play

Driveway Scooter Maze

Laundry Push

Sensory Play in Nature

Auditory Sensory Activities


Sound Cards

Musical Instrument Crafts

Sound Shakers

Sound Cylinders

Sound Table with Sand Sticks

Science of Sound

Sound Walk

World Music Activities

Playful Ways to Work on Listening

Visual Sensory Activities

Lego Calm Down Jar

I Spy Mats

I Spy Jars

I Spy Sensory Bin

Discovery Bottles

Picnic Printable for Sensory Play

Visual Stimuli in the Classroom (or home)

Shadow Puppets

Olfactory Sensory Activities

Coffee Sensory Bin

Scented Foaming Paint

Smelling Bottles

Lemon Scented Rice

Scented Sensory Activities

Scented Cloud Dough

Teaching Sighted Children About Blindness

Scented Ice Lab

Gingerbread Sensory Station

Many of the activities listed above can of course fit into several different categories. It is wonderful to give your kids the chance to try activities for all sensory inputs. This will benefit both sensory seekers and sensory avoiders.

This post is part of a 5 day series on Simple Sensory Solutions as part of a Hopscotch with iHomeschool Network. Pop over and see the other great topics from some amazing writers!

If you are looking for more sensory activities or for play suggestions, you may want to follow my For Kids board on Pinterest.
Follow Sharla Kostelyk’s board For Kids on Pinterest.

Printable Playdough Mats

(This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosure policy.)

Playdough is an excellent sensory activity. It gives tactile feedback, can help soothe, and often includes senses other than touch such as scent (olfactory). There are many ways to expand playdough play. Creating playdough mats using these free printables is a very easy way to make a playdough station. Many of the mats incorporate learning concepts and for most children, they can be done independently.

Free Printable Playdough MatsThese playdough mats are all free to print. The easiest way to create a playdough sensory station with these is to either laminate them once they are printed or insert each page into a plastic sleeve*. They are then ready for endless hours of play!

*organizational tip: If you put the printables into plastic sleeves that have holes in them, you can keep all of your playdough mats in a binder for easy access.

People Playdough Mats from Picklebums

Printable People Playdough MatsI love this idea as you can include other sensory items like different textured fabric, googly eyes, pipe cleaners, button, and beads. I also like that these could be used to help teach emotions and facial expressions. If I had to choose a favourite, this would be it!

Playdough Flower Mat from Learn with Play at Home

Playdough Flower Mat. Free Printable. Playful MathsThis mat offers all kinds of learning opportunities and hands-on play. Depending on their age and skill level, kids can play with it differently.

Summer Playdough Mats from Totschooling

summer playdough mats printableThis set could be used in the summer or in the middle of winter when we start dreaming of summer and wishing for it to arrive!

DIY Playdough Mats from Tutus and Tea Parties

Garden Playdough MatThis set is so cute. I like that it really allows for the kids to use their imaginations!

Shape Playdough Mats from 3 Dinosaurs

shape playdough matsSpring and Easter Playdough Mats from This Reading Mama

Spring and Easter printable playdough matsI like the open-endedness of these.

Alphabet Playdough Mats from 123 Homeschool 4 Me

printable alphabet playdough matsGreat for preschool and reinforcing pre-reading concepts.

Number Playdough Mats from Homeschool Creations

Number Playdough Mats printable

Old MacDonald Farm Animal Playdough Mats from Making Learning Fun

And a bonus activity from No Time for Flash Cards…Playdough Hairdo Mats that you create yourself with photos of your family!

playdough family hairdo

There are many playdough recipes out there and some are very easy no-cook recipes, but I have still found that the best one out there is our tried and true classic playdough recipe. We change it up a bit by making chocolate playdough or calming lavender playdough but the basis recipe is the same.

Whatever playdough you decide to use, creating a playdough sensory station using playdough mats is easy and costs next to nothing.

This post is part of a 5 day series on Simple Sensory Solutions as part of a Hopscotch with iHomeschool Network. Pop over and see the other great topics!

If you are looking for more playdough ideas, you may want to follow my Playing with Playdough board on Pinterest.
Follow Sharla Kostelyk’s board Playing with Playdough on Pinterest.