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Sensory bins invoke a lot of questions like where do you find the containers, what items do you use for bases, and what do you actually put in a sensory bin. Today I’m going to share with you a Giant List of Filler Items for Sensory Bins.
First what exactly is a sensory bin? In a nutshell, a sensory bin is a safe way for children to explore objects with their hands. Sensory bins allow for tactile and visual exploration in a contained area. Sensory bins can also include the other sense by being edible (gustatory), having a scent (olfactory), or making noise (auditory).
Giant List of Filler Items for Sensory Bins
These filler items for Sensory Bins are meant for kids to touch, hear, and possibly smell and taste. When using any of theses items with kids under 3, please watch them carefully. Exercise caution with the items that could pose a choking hazard. Some ways to help prevent choking are cutting into smaller pieces, smashing round shaped foods, and watching the children carefully.
To find items for a sensory bin first check what you have. Then head to craft store like Micheal’s, Jo-Ann’s or Hobby Lobby (Check for coupons to cut the costs). The Dollar Tree also has great, cheap items (I don’t allow the kids to play with these items outside of the sensory bins to lessen the chance of them getting broken). Target and Amazon are wonderful for more durable items that can be used over and over again.
Raid your craft and sewing stashes to find some awesome filler items for sensory bins. Here are 20 of my favorite craft and sewing items:
- Pine cones
- Trees – miniatures
- Flowers silk, felt, or plastic
- Velcro strips
- Pom Poms
- Chenille Stems/Pipe cleaners
- Buttons in different shapes
- Styrofoam balls
- Foam shapes
- Popsicle sticks
Scour the kitchen and pantry for filler items for your sensory bin. 13 of my favorites:
- Fruits – Dried, fresh, or frozen
- Vegetables – fresh or frozen
- Candy – gummy worms, chocolates, lollipops, jellybeans, etc
- Spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla extract, etc
- Dried or canned beans
- Veggie chips like kale
- Dishes – small cups, plates
- New sponges and scrubbies
- Measuring spoons and cups
- Silicone or metal straws
Look through your party and holiday decorations and supplies. Some once a year items make great filler items for sensory bins. Here are 11 I like to use:
- Paper drink umbrellas
- Easter grass and eggs
- Cheap Christmas ornaments like clay, bells, plastic non-shattering
- Plastic ice cubes
- Treat bag fillers like yo-yo’s, kuzoos etc from the Dollar Tree
- Small items from Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s, and Easter
- Paper cups, straws, plates, utensils, etc
- Crepe paper
- Party hats, noise makers, etc
- Scented candles
- Essential oils
Don’t forget to look outside for some great items too! 7 nature items I use:
- Rocks, stones
- Pine cones
Look for educational toys on Amazon, Target, or other stores. Things like blocks and letters can be used over and over. Here are my 5 favorites:
- Plastic letter alphabet capital and lowercase
- Plastic numbers
- Magnetic shapes (I got mine at Target a couple of years ago before school started)
- Plastic fruits and vegetables
- Wooden blocks, Legos, Duplo, etc
For toys I like to raid the kids’ toy box first. But if I don’t see anything good there the Dollar Tree has great little toy sets that are perfect filler items sensory bins. 9 of my favorite toy items:
- Metal or plastic vehicles i.e. police cars, firetrucks, race cars, airplanes, helicopters, etc.
- Plastic people i.e. policemen, firemen, construction workers, etc.
- Plastic animals, birds, dinosaurs, sea creatures, reptiles, insects and spiders, etc. I use Terra Tubes (I usually find them at Target) or Safari Ltd TOOB
- Rubber or soft small balls
- Plastic or felt food toys
- Small toys like Hatchimals, Shopkins, Squeekins, etc.
- Play jewelry
- Small toy instruments harmonicas, kuzoos, etc
Be sure to stop by my Homeschool Sensory Exploration page where I link all of our sensory bins. And if you are looking for more homeschool activities, make sure you check out my Homeschool page which contains links to our book lists, crafts, and math & science.
Have a great day!
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Looking for more fun sensory bins? Check out my Homeschool: Sensory Exploration board on Pinterest!