A garden sensory bin containing brown rice and dried beans. Perfect for talking about the importance of gardening and the plant life cycle.
Sensory bins are excellent for early learning, and great for children with sensory-seeking behaviors. They provide opportunities for rich learning for kids as children are engaged and using many of their senses during play. This garden sensory bin is very similar to others we have done in the past, but has a sweet treat and a fine motor extra!
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Dig and Plant Indoor Garden Sensory Bin
I like to use different trays and pans for sensory play depending on what we are doing, but a clear scrapbook paper container like this one with a lid is a sure favorite. When the kids are done playing, I can close it up and save it for another day easily.
What you need:
dry bean soup mix
chocolate chips (optional – but fun!)
fake plants or flowers
What to do:
Place all of the items in the bin. We added chocolate chips as an extra ‘dirt’ component, and my kiddos loved snacking on them as they played 🙂
Kids can dig the brown rice ‘dirt’ and scoop in into the pots. The bean mix adds a nice variety of ‘seeds’ to plant in the pots, just like you would in the garden!
There are so many fun ways to play with this garden sensory bin! And while not tasty (the raw beans and rice) it is all safe if ingested – though the beans could pose a choking hazard with little ones, so please use with supervision.
To Use this Sensory Bin with Toddlers:
A great skill for toddlers to practice is scooping and dumping! The garden tools are large enough for their little hands to coordinate. The shovel allows them to fill pots with rice and beans, and the rake is great for running back and forth. Such great learning for this age group!
To Use this Sensory Bin with Preschoolers:
Preschoolers are sponges! This is a great opportunity to talk about the importance of gardening, and what a plant needs to grow. As pretend play is really peaking right now, kids can fill their pots about halfway with rice, select a bean to plant (use tweezers for fine motor practice), and top off the pot with more rice.
Play with them! Pretend to water their bean plant, and shine some sunlight on them!
To Use this Sensory Bin with Elementary Ages:
Even big kids can benefit from sensory play! They will enjoy pretending to plant, along with raking and scooping, but, the benefits of sensory play can go beyond this for big kids.
Just feeling the rice and beans run between their fingers can be an excellent calming tool, or can help to decompress after a long day at school!
Whichever way you choose to use your garden sensory bin, I know your kids will have fun learning!