How to make a sense-ational sensory bin!
It can take 10-15 exposures to a new food before your child will willingly incorporate it into their regular diet. The good news is that these exposures include seeing, smelling, and touching – not just tasting! Enter: sensory bins. Sensory bins are a fantastic way for children to engage with new foods, and really, is there anything more rewarding than seeing your baby experience & enjoy something new? Sensory play is fun, tasty, exciting, and of course messy, but it’s an important part of growing a healthy and well-rounded eater. Beyond that, it’s a great way for your little one to practice their fine motor skills and identify shapes & colors.
Here are our expert tips for making the perfect sensory bin:
1. Put a splash mat on the floor or do this outside. Splash mats can include tarps, outdoor table cloths, or rubber mats.
2. Chose the right sized plastic container for your child and your project. You should have a few sizes for different experiences. Make sure the bins are shallow enough for your child to reach into, but big enough for play. You can even get a bin big enough for your child to sit inside!
3. Add tools. Tools should include measuring cups and spoons, kitchen utensils, kid kitchen tools (such as from Ikea), and sandcastle building supplies.
4. Add your filling to the bin. This is specific to the type of play you are doing. You can include dry ingredients like rice, beans, or dry oats, or wet ingredients such as pureed fruit, water, Jello, and sauce.
5. Add the main ingredient! This will be the food you are working on sensory play with.
6. Supervise to ensure your child is safe, not choking, and keeping things in the bin.
7. Most importantly, let your child have fun!
With February 14th coming up, we’ll be having fun with a Valentine’s Day-themed bin, and the folks over at Pre-K Pages have put together this great guide for a sensory bin fit for Cupid!
Some VDay Bin Suggestions:
• Heart gems
• Heart boxes
• Handy scoopers
• Tweezers (plastic!)
• Mini erasers
• Silicon muffin liners
• Liquid watercolors
• Colored rice for your base (or a different filler)
• Zip-top plastic bags
• Paper towels
• And of course, your bin!
To make colored rice, empty a bag of uncooked white rice into a gallon size zip top plastic bag, and then add in liquid watercolor (or food coloring) of your choice. Close the bag and shake it up until the watercolor has covered all the rice, then dump the rice out on paper towels to dry. Couldn’t be easier!
While your little ones are enjoying their Valentine’s Day bins, be sure to read up on these Valentine’s Day strategies for picky eaters…!
Written by: Rachael Rose, Owner/Founder