Sensory bins are the best learning play for little ones! There are so many variations and ways to introduce new concepts. And you can totally get specific topics too. Such as Shark Week! We decided to do an Ocean Sensory Bin since my kiddo loves fishies (you can see our paper plate fish craft here) and this one includes sharks so shark week fun begins!
Making an Ocean Sensory Bin for Shark Week
- Bin or pan
- Water beads
- Ice cube trays (my round ice cube tray was fun to use)
- Ocean critters pack
- Scoops or tongs
I set this up in advance by putting a few of the ocean critters in ice cube trays and freezing them.
When I was ready to set up the sensory bin for my son to play with, I added just a bit of water to the bottom of the bin (I may or may not have used a small litter box as my bin) and sprinkled in some of the beads. They start out super tiny and need some time to absorb the water.
Then I got the ice cube trays out with the frozen plastic fish and other sea critters out and let my son poke and push them out of the tray. That took a bit of time and he had fun dumping them out into the bin.
Here we have a two-part sensory play activity option! While the critters are melting out of their ice cube cages, kiddo can feel the ice cubes in his hands, run them around the beads in the bin, and even transfer them around with his hands or with tongs.
Once the critters have melted out and the beads expanded to their full size, the second part of the ocean sensory bin fun can begin.
My son instantly became a fan of the water beads. He enjoyed making the fishes swim around in the squishy mush, and he enjoys picking them out and putting them in a cup.
But most of all, he enjoys sticking his hands and arms into the beads and saying “SquishHHHHHH” when playing with those water beads. They are so great for proprioceptive input and as a calm down activity.
It has been entertaining him for like an hour. So total mom win and quite easy to set up.
What sensory bins do your kids just love?