Once you bring your baby home, it is both exciting and emotional to see them slowly grow up. Each moment feels special, from the first time they roll onto their belly to their first words. Seeing your baby develop essential skills and understand the world around them is an exhilarating experience. Your little one deserves the best there is to offer. You can encourage the development of their sensory and motor skills by introducing them to specially crafted toys that stimulate the respective parts of their brain. Sensory bins are one tool you can use to develop your little one’s sensory skills.
What Is A Sensory Bin?
A sensory bin or a sensory bag is a box or bag full of everyday household items that your baby can explore. Babies are curious and sensory bins help them develop their sense of touch and motor skills.
Little ones learn by exploring their surroundings, and the best way to safely introduce your child to new objects and textures is through sensory bins.
A sensory bin helps build the following senses:
How To Create A Sensory Bin?
You can create a sensory bin simply by filling a cardboard box with household items like different fabrics cut into different pieces, different spoons (wooden, plastic, steel etc.), baby rattles and more. Make sure that the things you put are baby-proof. Babies have a habit of putting everything in their mouth, so make sure the items don’t cause choking and are not edible (slime).
Items To Include In A Sensory Bin
- Different Colours: Introducing your little one to different colours can be visually stimulating and help them develop important skills. You can add different textured fabrics of various colours like red, blue or green. Adding rubber animals of different colours can also help them build colour association.
- Shapes and Sizes: Add items like spoons of different materials and sizes, rattles of different shapes and different teething rings to encourage your little one to differentiate between sizes and shapes. This particular skill goes a long way!
- Various Textures: Choose fabrics like velvet, silk or cotton with different textures. You can also add crafting feathers and large rocks to stimulate your little one.
- Interesting Sounds: Add coloured rice to an air-tight container and let your child rattle it. Even rattles are great auditory stimulators that help with auditory sensory development.
- Edible Sensory Items: You can add edible items like chickpeas and peas to a separate sensory bag. For even more stimulation, you can add different food colourings to your chickpeas for visual stimulation.
Activities To Do With A Sensory Bin
1. Sensory Garden
A sensory garden is a garden that stimulates your five senses. You can hear things, see things, smell things, touch things as well as taste things. Any big park in your city is like a sensory garden, it’ll have landscaped gardens, birds for sound, flowers and trees for smell, different textures like mud, grass, and more for touch, and so on!
Take your little one to a sensory garden where all of their senses are stimulated. Sensory gardens tap into all five senses, taste, touch, sight, smell and sound. It also allows you to connect with nature and practice mindfulness. You can also make a sensory garden of your own!
How to make your own sensory garden:
Create a garden with diverse plant colours, shapes, sizes and textures. You can even include edible plants such as cherry tomatoes, berries, and other fruits that you can taste. Add in a few wind chimes to stimulate hearing. Encourage your little one to smell the different flowers to stimulate their smell. Adding plants of different textures will help stimulate their sense of touch.
While creating a sensory garden, including your little one would be a fun learning activity for them too!
2. Rainbow Rice Games
Add food colouring to rice grains and let them dry. You can add as many colours as you want. Once the rice grains are dry, you can add them to a metal or plastic air-tight container for your little one to shake around. If your child is older, you can lay out the rice colour-wise in a bin, add some other items and let your child play with it.
A container or a bin
How To Play:
- Wash the rice and divide it into parts.
- Add each part into a zip lock bag and add the food colouring to each.
- Shake the zip lock bag till the grains are coloured.
- Lay out the rice grains to dry on newspapers.
- Once the rice grains are dry, add them to a container or a bin for your child to enjoy!
3. Fish Using Magnets
To make it more fun, you can add magnetic items to the rice box or use kinetic sand and let your child go magnetic fishing using a magnet tied to a stick!
Kinetic sand or rice grains
Metallic items like coins or pins
A magnet to attract the metallic items
A wooden stick and a thread
- Add the metallic items into the kinetic sand or rice grains in a bin or bowl. Make sure that you don’t add sharp items.
- Tie the magnet onto the wooden stick. Make sure the thread is strong enough and can support the magnet.
- Make sure you supervise your child to avoid accidental choking. You can now let your child go fishing!
4. Water Tanks:
Add sand, shells, small aquatic toys and other items into a small bowl, pool, or water tank. Allow your child to put their hands into the tank and explore the different objects in the tank!
A tank or a baby pool
Sand, shells and aquatic toys like fishes
Food colouring (optional)
- Add water to a baby pool or tank.
- Add in the sand, followed by shells and aquatic toys.
- You can also add food colouring to make it more fun for your little one.
- Now let your child explore and play!
5. Sensory Toys
Use sensory toys that are specially designed to encourage sensory development. Babies as young as 0-2 years old can be introduced to stimulating sensory toys too! Some toys you can check out are the Rolling Bell Rattle, Wooden Grasping Rattle and the Spin Around Drum.
You can create your games with your little one and even encourage them to play on their own with the objects from the sensory bin. It will not only keep your child preoccupied but also help in sensory development.
Read what one of our Intellitots teachers has to say about sensory toys –
“Even simple items like clay, balls, and sand can be used to stimulate your little one. Our tots develop critical thinking, creative skills, and large muscular and fine motor skills while playing with the sensory toys. Children can trace in the sand or even play scavenger hunt. Clay can be shaped into whatever their little minds want it to be!”
6. Sensory Play Dough
Exploring the world of clay dough isn’t just play; it’s a hands-on lesson in matter and creativity. As children shape and mould, they discover the magic of transformation, fostering sensory skills that lay the foundation for lifelong learning.
Elevate your child’s creativity and sensory skills with a colourful set of doughs that are perfect for building, sculpting, and crafting. Encourage their artistic journey while fostering fine motor skills, enhancing colour and texture awareness, and nurturing early visual development.
Unlock your child’s imagination today with Intelliskills Dig-Dag Dough! Grab this creative set now and let the fun sculpting and crafting begin. It’s the perfect recipe for learning through play!
What Your Child Will Learn From Sensory Bins
A sensory bin, as the name suggests, engages all of your baby’s senses, helps them explore and develop their curiosity and aids in their development:
Visual: Your child will see different things like fabrics, rattles, and spoons together. As your child gets used to the sensory box, they will start associating certain mental images with certain objects. If you hold up a spoon, your child will likely search for a spoon in the sensory box and hold it up too. Similarly, if you hold up a certain fabric, they may either look for the same fabric or something close to the same colour of the fabric.
Auditory: As you will add rice and rattles to the bin, these items make noise when shaken. This will help develop their listening skills. This works in the same way as babies attempting to copy barking dogs. You can also introduce object-word association by talking to them about what they’re doing while playing with the sensory bin.
Touch: This is probably one of the most important skills that your child will develop. Touch is an essential skill as it helps us navigate through life. Your child will touch different objects and will eventually be able to register certain textures in their mind. Your child may prefer the feather over the fabrics as feathers are softer to touch. Your child may also prefer to chew on the teething ring rather than the spoons, as teething rings relieve aching gums.
Olfactory: You can add natural scents into the sensory box too. Your child’s olfactory senses will get stimulated, and it will help with their development. Your child will also learn to store and recall different scents.
Taste: If you make an edible sensory bag and add chickpeas and other edible items, your child will learn to differentiate between different items by taste. Your child may also attempt to eat the rubber animals or fabrics. Ensure that you disinfect everything your child may put in their mouth.
The need to explore the world around us is an instinctual habit. The proof is in the behaviour of babies and their curiosity. However, it is up to one’s caregivers to help nurture this curiosity and enhance it. Sensory bins are the perfect way to start this journey. It helps you slowly introduce your child to new things at your child’s pace. It is also interesting to see what your child reaches for and what interests them the most!