Citrus Sensory Bin

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I first got the idea for making this sensory bin when my neighbour was telling me that you can dry out limes. I thought it would be neat to combine some elements of real food with other items in a sensory bin. I liked the idea of keeping some of the natural scents and textures.

Citrus Sensory Bin

This took me on a bit of an experimental journey into drying citrus! I had some limes that I had taken some of the zest off for a recipe (that’s why there are stripes on the limes in the picture!) and I set them on top of the registers so that when the heat came on, they would dry out.

Drying the limes worked really well so I decided to try the same process on oranges and lemons. The larger fruit didn’t fare as well.

I wasn’t deterred. I then tried slicing oranges and lemons and limes and drying the slices in the same way I had dried the limes. I threw a few more of the whole fruit on there as well to see if I might have better luck the second time around. The larger lemons and orange didn’t work out but the citrus slices did.

drying citrusFor the sensory bin, I used dried lemon, orange and lime slices, the dried limes, some dried mini mandarin oranges, 2 plastic lemons, some oranges I had cut out from the cardboard box the mandarins came in, and a yellow scrubber. I also added a shaker of lemon pepper to put another element of citrus scent in the bin.

It was a very different sensory bin than what we usually make so it was a nice change and the kids thought it was neat that it used real fruit.

For hundreds of other sensory bin ideas, you can also follow my Sensory Bins board on Pinterest.

Follow Sharla Kostelyk’s board Sensory Bins on Pinterest.

If you are looking for information on making sensory bins, you may be interested in my book. The Ultimate Guide to Sensory Bins

History Sensory Bin

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I find it easiest to create sensory bins that have some type of theme to them. If there is something that we are studying in homeschooling, a sensory bin along that theme can further reinforce what the kids are learning as well as providing an opportunity for sensory play.

Last week, the kids watched the classic musical “Annie Get Your Gun“. They adored it and are still singing “no, you can’t get a man with a gu-un”! Granola Girl was even singing it through the aisles in the grocery store the other day!

Since they were already so interested and asking lots of questions, I decided to expand their learning and teach them about the history of Annie Oakley, the woman the movie is based on and about that time in history. I happened to have a Wild West TOOB which had an Annie Oakley figurine in it (I hadn’t even noticed that when I bought it!) so I used that to create a sensory bin that would allow the kids to play and expand on the story they had watched in the movie.

History Sensory BinFor the base of the bin, I used dry white beans in one section, aquarium rocks that we had left over from a science experiment we had done the week before in another section and I finished it off with an area of moss. Then I added the Wild West TOOB figures and let the kids play.

I know that my sensory bin may not be completely historically accurate, but the point of it is to get the kids more interested in history and its characters by letting them explore. They loved that there was an Annie Oakley figure and had such fun reenacting scenes from the movie.

You can create a history sensory bin to go with any period in history (think Ancient Greece or Ancient Egypt) or that is centred on a specific historical figure (think inventors, artists, politicians or heroes).

For hundreds of other sensory bin ideas, you can also follow my Sensory Bins board on Pinterest.

Follow Sharla Kostelyk’s board Sensory Bins on Pinterest.

If you are looking for information on making sensory bins, you may be interested in my book. The Ultimate Guide to Sensory Bins

Winter Wonderland Sensory Bin

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For the start of our holiday season this year, I thought I would create a sensory bin with a winter wonderland theme. It’s a stark difference from our usual Christmas sensory bin with bright holiday colours, but the kids were delighted by it.

Winter Wonderland Sensory BinI used a large foil roasting pan as the bin because I thought the silver looked best with what I was planning. For the bin’s base, I used shredded snow. I bought a bag of it from the dollar store and when I examined it once I got home, what it looked like was shredded bubble wrap, so it would be easy enough to make your own.

I added silver candles, silver puffy snowflakes, large clear plastic snowflakes, silver beads, jingle bells, silver ribbon, small white pompoms, a clear plastic ornament with white and silver detailing, and a white poinsettia clip.

Playing with Winter Wonderland Sensory BinMy kids have been enjoying the bin.Dancing Queen gravitated towards exploring the sounds by listening to the jingle bells and the crinkle of the beads. Granola Girl was initially after a more tactile experience and found the texture of the clear snowflakes very appealing. She kept touching them to her face as well as running her fingers over the ridges.

The boys were most interested in the feel of the fake snow and they may have had a small “snowball” fight with the white pompoms! Such funny creatures boys are! They can even find a way to make a sensory bin an action packed adventure!

If you are looking for more sensory ideas or information, you may be interested in my book and by following my Sensory Bins board on Pinterest.

The Ultimate Guide to Sensory Bins

Winter Sensory Tray

Gluten Free Candy Cane Playdough

Winter Sensory Bin

Frog Sensory Bin Take Two

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Back when we first started using sensory bins, we made a frog sensory bin. It was well, ugly. It was one of my first efforts at dying pasta and thankfully, I have gotten better at certain aspects of making sensory bins since then!

I decided that it was time to try a frog themed sensory bin again and this time, I opted out of using orangey, red mini pasta shells and used a bright coloured base instead.

Frog Sensory BinThis actually was one of the bins that we put together at our sensory bin swap a few months ago. We had thrown most of the items into a resealable bag so all I had to do was dump it into a bin and it was ready for the kids to play with.

I added a few extra frogs but other than that, the bin was ready to go from the swap. The base for this bin was play puffs. They are a great multi-purpose item as they can be used for sensory play or for craft creation. Once they are wet, play puffs stick together to form whatever shape they can imagine.

Also in this bin, a kitchen sponge “lily pad”, plastic jump frogs, stretchy frogs, toy frogs, and a glossy paper die cut frog.

Frog Sensory Bin PlayMy plan for the kids to use the play puffs for a craft project after I retired this sensory bin didn’t pan out the way I’d planned it. As soon as the kids discovered the ability to stick the play puffs together, they added that as part of their sensory bin play. It made this a popular activity!

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.

If you are looking for information on making sensory bins, you may be interested in my book. The Ultimate Guide to Sensory Bins