Friday, January 30, 2015

Letter A Sensory Bin

Somehow I have let a LOT of time go by since we last did a sensory bin. I'm not sure why exactly, because they are easy, cheap, and VERY engaging. Sensory bins are one of the few things that will hold Erik's attention for long periods of time, so why on earth have I not been doing them?! I saw this idea for learning about the letter A through sensory play and knew we had to give it a try. It also was a perfect fit for this month's Pinstrosity challenge
I wanted to have an activity that would be fun for both kids, so we used oatmeal in our bin this time. It's cheap, edible, and not much of a choking hazard, so what's not great about that?
First, let's assemble our supplies:
   A large container (a 9x13 cake pan would do fine for only one or two kids)
   Oatmeal (ours was a combination of rolled and quick oats, I just threw in whatever I had in my         cupboard)
   Miscellaneous tools/toys for scooping pouring sifting, etc.
   As many letter a's as you can find (you'll see what I mean in a minute) 
   A sheet or something to catch any mess (this is up to you, if you'd rather just sweep/vacuum it up and throw it away when you're done there's nothing wrong with that)
 I always use a sheet spread out over the floor when we do something like this for a couple of reasons. First, it makes clean up SO much easier. Second, it creates a defined space in which making messes is okay. If I just plunked this down in the middle of my living room floor it would be a lot more difficult to set boundaries and I know I'd end up with oatmeal under couch cushions, on the TV, and who knows where else! There was still a bit of oatmeal that went off the edge of the sheet but it was not very much and vacuumed up easily.
 Sharli LOVED this. It was her first sensory bin and she dove right in. Of course one of the first things she did was shove a huge handful of oatmeal in her mouth, but it didn't hurt her and wasn't too tasty so she gave up on eating it pretty quickly.
 You can see all our "A's" in the picture above, which were placed in the container before pouring the oats in over the top of them. I took all the A cards out of some sets of flash cards we were given. I used foam sheets to cut out both upper and lower case a's. I made an upper and lower case A out of pipe cleaners. I threw in any toys we had with an A on them, such as ABC refrigerator magnets and ABC blocks.
 I didn't really push the letters thing on Erik. All the letter A items were in the bin, but other than having them there for him to discover I didn't do anything with them. I just wanted to give him a chance to see the letter in several different sizes and materials.
 He brought a lot of his kitchen toys in to the room for this activity, and was pretty excited when he came up with the idea to make A soup.
There was lots of scooping and pouring (fine motor, hand-eye coordination), lots of filling up containers (spatial relations; a pre-operational math skill) lots of imaginative play, and nearly two hours filled in a fun and meaningful way. I'm thinking I need to see what other cheap baby safe sensory ideas there are out there because I don't know about you, but I could use more afternoons where both kids are actively engaged in something that requires NO input from me!

*Diedre Mower is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to This post contains affiliate links.


  1. Oh, for cute! Also, you kinda win the internet on this approach to the Pinstrosity challenge.

    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Your submission was really fun too!