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Jennifer Shi

Learning Through Sensory Play

Young children need active learning opportunities. Sensory play is a popular way to include hands-on activities during learning time. Sensory play helps to develop your child’s creativity, social skills, cognitive abilities, language and motor skills. Sensory bins are a great way to include this sensory imput into your child’s daily routine. 


What is a sensory bin?

A sensory bin is usually a large plastic tub, cardboard box or other large container that can hold different types of materials. It’s important that the container be short enough for young children to reach into it and easily access its contents when on either a table or the floor. A container with a lid that can be stored is also helpful. 

What goes in a sensory bin?

Some popular items to put in a sensory bin include shredded paper, water beads, water, sand, rice, beans,  beads, cotton balls, fake show, or Easter basket grass. The options are really limitless. Just make sure that whatever items you choose to put into the bin are age appropriate for your child.


Then comes the learning!

After you have filled the container with the filler of your choice, it’s time to add the fun. Many sensory bins might have a theme for the current holiday or season. Your sensory bin can also be focused on what your child is learning in school. Throw in some plastic alphabet letters if they are working on letter identification. Print out rhyming word pairs and have your child match them up. Working on shapes, throw in some circles, triangles and squares. Have your child pull them out of the bin and identify them. 


Need some inspiration?

Lots of ideas are available online. Just search for sensory bins. Pinterest has a lot of great sensory boxes for all ages.


Learning can be hands-on and fun. Look in my photo album section for a couple of sensory bins we are currently using in Mrs. Shi’s classroom for letter indentification and beginning sounds. 




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