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 alphabet sensory bin uses natural elements and has a very minimalist feel (something that I have come to greatly welcome!).
Plus, look below to see how this can be modified for play with young toddlers through big kids!
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An Alphabet Sensory Bin with a Natural Feel
One of my favorite things about sensory bins is that they can really be so simple! Simple to put together, and even simple for play, yet at the same time are SO educational.
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. For this bin however, I used a wooden tray to play off the minimalist/natural feel which I like to believe has some calming powers ;).
What you need for this alphabet sensory bin:
wooden tray or a plastic bin
wood rounds (I got these at a craft store, but here are similar ones on Amazon)
black Sharpie or paint pen
To make the alphabet sensory bin:
Draw the letters of the alphabet on wooden rounds using a permanent marker or paint pen (these are my favorite to work with).
I drew letters on the front and back of each round, and made duplicated of popular letters or the letters in my children’s names.
Place some white rice into a shallow wooden box or plastic bin. Add your wooden letters to the bin and play! Check out the age modifications below.
To Use this Alphabet Sensory Bin with Toddlers:
Toddlers will likely not be able to identify letters yet, but this is a great way to introduce them! Little ones love stacking and knocking over towers. Make an alphabet tower and knock it down, pointing out letters like those that the child’s name begins with.
This kind of early exposure to letters just might stick with them, and at the very least, they will have tons of fun playing!
To Use this Alphabet Sensory Bin with Preschoolers:
Preschoolers love to identify and recognize letters! Even if they don’t have much interest in them yet, you can show them a letter and the sound it makes, and have them come up with a word that begins with that sound. Such a fun game for this age!
For those kids learning how to write their names, spelling it out in this sensory bin is fun practice.
My 4 year old has recently taken a real interest in letters and how to write them, so we are using these as practice. I drew a small dot where the letter would begin in writing, and she places her finger there to start and traces the letter before writing it. This really helps solidify the memory in her brain by using a tactile method.
To Use this Alphabet Sensory Bin with Elementary Ages:
Grab this free printable mat to use with this bin! It’s a Find it, Write it, Draw it mat perfect for big kids who can identify letters and their sounds. Plus, it makes for great writing practice.
To use: Kids can find a letter, write it, then draw a picture with that beginning letter sound!
Simply print it here and laminate or use with a sheet protector and dry erase marker for repeated use to cut down on the printing.
Whichever way you decide to play with this alphabet sensory bin, the calming effects will almost certainly be a perk. Enjoy! Learning is fun!