Benefits of Sensory Bins

By Ani Oganesyan OTR/L

Sensory bins provide an opportunity for hands-on tactile play while engaging the senses. They can stimulate a child’s senses, create new sensory experiences, help calm a child, and even engage a child in play. Sensory bins are large containers filled with materials and objects, which promote various developmental skills in a fun way.

Benefits of Sensory Bins: 

  • Sensory exploration: Touch/Tactile may come to mind, but it incorporates vision, smell, taste and sound as well. 
  • Fine motor skills: They can help develop grasp patterns and promote hand strength, bilateral coordination, and in-hand manipulation skills. Children can scoop, grasp, stir, and pour with various tools 
  • Cognitive skills: Children can work on alphabet, counting, or colors. They can sort hidden items they find based off shape, color, or size. They can learn to pay attention and follow direction. 
  • Social Play skills: It encourages socialization and conversation. Children can engage in pretend, imaginative, and exploratory play.
  • Emotional skills: It encourages skills such as turn taking, communication, self-control, asking for help, and listening and paying attention.
  • Language development: You can expand language and build greater vocabulary by naming the hidden items in the bin, or by describing the items with the different senses. The possibilities are endless. 

Want to make your own?

  1. Grab a container. It can be any type of bin. Preferably clear ones so the children can see the items inside. 
  1. Pick a Filler
  • Water beads
  • Shredded paper
  • Sand 
  • Beans
  • Pasta
  • Marbles
  • Water 
  • Rocks
  • Rice
  • Oatmeal
  • Flour
  • Pompoms
  • Beads
  • Seashells
  • Shaving cream
  1. Add some objects
  • Animal figurines
  • Toy cars
  • Small toys 
  • Alphabet letters
  • Numbers
  • Buttons
  • Puzzle pieces
  • Jingle bells
  • Plastic eggs
  • Cookie cutters 
  • Coins or bingo chips
  • Lego
  • Bath toys
  1. Toss some utensils in there
  • Spoon
  • Cups
  • Shovel
  • Small dump truck toy
  • Tongs
  • Tweezers
  • Scissor scoopers
  • Water dropper
  • Funnel 

The possibilities are endless with sensory bins. You can change it up, go with a theme, or even buy a sensory bin online if you don’t have time to make one at home. 


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