Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Dig into the sensory bin!

Sensory bins are fun for all ages!  I made this corn meal bin for a preschool as a safe option for tactile exploration since some of the children still enjoy exploring with their mouths! Other bins can be made of rice, beans, pasta, beads, balls or cotton balls.  Wet bins are a blast, too.  Use insta-snow, shaving cream or water beads.  Additional contents can be endless and will surely entice the senses!

  • Fill it with items for the holidays or seasons.  A bin full of feathers is great this time of year as we celebrate Thanksgiving!
  • Numbers or letters can foster learning.  Have her pull out a letter and match it to a card.  When she finds a number she can count out the same number of pasta pieces from the bin.
  • Different colored objects can facilitate color identification or matching!  She could find a red object inside the bin to place in the red colored bowl placed outside.
  • Last year I made a winter bin with all white items, which promoted a visual perceptual skill that we call figure ground.  The children used a white ice cream scoop to scoop out cotton balls into a white bowl.  Tongs were used to separate snow flakes by size into a sorting dish.
Watch as your child uses all of her senses to explore.  Ask her what it smells like, how it feels, what she hears.  Have her close her eyes and use only her sense of touch to find the items hidden within.

For some children tactile exploration can be very calming.  For other children, it provides just the right input to "rev" her up to improve her level of arousal. If your child is hesitant to touch the contents in your sensory bin, provide tools such as spoons, tongs, ice cream scoops, etc. to make her feel safe while she explores.  Before you know it, she'll be digging right in!

Digging deep with the tools promotes strength and fine motor coordination.

Blowing can help regulate our nervous systems and is a fun way to explore the corn meal.

The corn meal is silky and smooth. I filled the bin with different textured objects and added some visually stimulating items to please their young eyes!

Her smile says it all!
Share your favorite sensory bins with us!
Remember to provide supervision as sensory bins are very pleasing to all of our senses and may tempt our children to explore in ways that could be harmful to them.

Michelle Yoder, OTR/L

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