Monday, September 17, 2012

Erik's 1st Sensory Bin

I've wanted to make a sensory bin for Erik for a while now, but I've been waiting for him to be less interested in putting everything in his mouth. He does pretty good with that these days, and while I still have to keep a close eye on him, he will listen when I tell him not to eat something. 
So, don't know what a sensory bin is? Here you go:
 A sensory bin is a container filled with small objects that the child can manipulate and play in. You fill them with just about anything. Water, sand, beans, pasta, pom poms, rocks, water beads, regular beads, rice, etc... We used pinto beans and macaroni noodles (this time they were raw, but they don't have to be). Give the child a variety of containers to play with and just turn them loose. It's nice when your containers are made of different types of materials (glass, metal, plastic), so that when the child puts the beans in it will make different sounds.
We started by spreading a sheet on the floor so that clean up would be really easy, but if you have hard floors you could just sweep everything up afterwords. I filled up a cake pan with the beans and macaroni, gave Erik his different cups and containers, and turned him loose. He loved it! He hasn't really figured out how to scoop up the beans, but he enjoyed dropping them by the handful into the different containers.
 One of the containers I gave him was an empty plastic water bottle. He thought it was great to poke a few beans or noodles into the bottle and then give them a good shake. It made a great noise, and he thought it was awesome!
We've done this activity more than once now, and each time it's been a huge hit! This activity is great for fine motor development, sensory exploration, spatial relations as the child pours or scoops the materials from container to container, and could even be used as a classification exercise for an older child if you sorted the different materials into different containers. Most of all it's just lots of fun!

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