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7 Best Sensory Bin Ideas You Can Make Today

7 Best Sensory Bin Ideas You Can Make Today

The development of a child’s five most essential senses: hearing, sight, touch, taste, and smell, is one of the foremost support a child needs for the development of their language and cognitive capabilities, fine and motor skills, social interaction, and problem-solving. 

Even though children can develop their senses in the outside world through experiences, nannies, parents, and childcare workers can further develop a child’s senses with the help of sensory bins.

There are numerous possible ways to develop a child’s senses, and letting them play with sensory bins is one of the most effective and fun ways to learn. A sensory bin or tray is a large container usually made out of plastic tubs with various materials such as sand, water brands, shredded paper, and even water to stimulate a child’s senses.

Don't forget to check out the step-by-step instructions on how to make oobleck, click and read after this blog!

Benefits of Sensory Bins

  • Brain Development

Studies show that giving the child sensory trays can help their brains build nerve connections that are important in completing complex tasks.

  • Language Development

Sensory bins can help the child associate words to their senses to describe their experience. Nannies could teach them what the terms smooth, rough, soft, and hard mean as they play to help expand the child’s vocabulary. 

  • Fine Motor Skills 

Squeezing, sorting, scooping, and pinching them items in the sensory tray helps a child to develop fine motor skills. Adding objects of multiple sizes in a sensory tray would maximize the child’s learning. 

  • Social Skills

Nannies can help their children develop essential social skills by communicating with them while engaged in sensory play. This could be through storytelling or describing the items found in the bin. 

  • Play Skills

Sensory bins provide the child with an excellent opportunity to learn how to share and engage in exploratory play with other children.

  • Cognitive Skills

Create a fun learning experience by encouraging your child to sort the items by colour, shape, size, and feel. You can also have the children dig around for things through a classic game of i-Spy.

  • Therapeutic 

Sensory trays can help anxious or frustrated children to calm down. 


Making Sensory Bins

  • Bin: When choosing a bin, consider buying storage containers that are clear and deep. These allow your child to see inside the bin and play without having to worry about too much spillage. 
  • Filler: Your child’s sensory experience will largely depend on the fillers you put in the bin. Typically, sensory trays are filled with rice, water beads, sand, cereals, shredded paper, and pasta.
  • Tools: Give your child small shovels, spoons, tongs, and cups to help develop their fine motor skills while they’re playing with the fillers
  • Items: Adding magnetic alphabet letters, numbers, colourful buttons, and small toys will allow your children to explore their creativity and imagination while playing


Sensory Tray Ideas

Messy Trays

Shaving Cream

Shaving cream is one of the most budget-friendly fillers you can put in your child’s sensory tray. All you need is a bottle of shaving cream, food dye, and small toys. Introduce your kid to creatures from the sea by mixing shaving cream with a few drops of blue food dye and throwing in figurines of fishes and other sea creatures. 


Shaving Cream and Water Beads

Water beads are often found in the school supplies section of local stores. Simply mix a bottle of shaving cream with some water beads for a colourful learning experience. 


Cloud Dough


Cloud dough is a simple filler to make that uses two ingredients you can find in your home: flour and oil. Each recipe calls for 8 cups of flour to 1 cup of oil. This sensory tray lets the child mould the cloud dough into different shapes, including a ball and a square. 

For a more interactive experience, you can throw it small tools like scoops and moulds.


Food Trays

Rainbow Rice 

Rainbow Rice fillers are great fillers if you want to bury small treasures for your child to find. This sensory tray is made by mixing rice with vinegar and food dye or acrylic paint to create colourful bowls of rice. 



Use pantry staples to create a bright, bold, and colourful rainbow pasta noodle sensory bin. Using different kinds of dried pasta will create a sensory experience that’s full of different sizes and textures for your child to explore. 


Theme Trays


Combine white and blue-coloured rice with pom poms and pipe cleaners to create a weather-themed sensory bin. You can have the children dig around for other toys, such as birds and smaller pom poms. You can also encourage them to “make it rain” coloured rice. 



Fill a tray with water beads, pond critters, and rocks to make it resemble a bond. Nannies can use this sensory tray to introduce children to various pond creatures and also educated them about the dos and don’ts when walking near these bodies of water. 

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Are you looking for more tips and tricks? Check out our blog posts for dozens of engaging play ideas you can do with your children.