Go Ask Mom

Go Ask Mom

Need to keep a toddler busy? Make a sensory bin

Posted July 17

Go Ask Mom at North Hills, June 16, 2017

Editor's note: At our last two events at North Hills, the sensory bins brought by Kara Varnell, owner of Select Sitters and mom of two little ones, were huge hits. I had a similar bin for water play when my younger daughter was little. She spent hours with that thing! So I asked Varnell how she made the construction and kitchen bins she brought to our events. Read on for details!

I love sensory bins because they are great for developing those fine motor skills. They also are something I recommend to keep busy toddlers occupied while you get a few things done around the house. Not only are they easy to make, but everything included (other than the actual bins) came from the $1 store.

They actually have smaller bins at the store as well if you prefer to make smaller ones, but be prepared for more to be out of the bins on the floor with the smaller bins. Chances are you may have some of these things around your house.

A big note: I don't recommend using beans, small rocks or sand for those toddlers that still put everything in their mouths, but they do have larger items you could use.

Here is a list of what is in each bin.

Construction Bin
River rocks
Decorative sand
Floral moss
Construction trucks
Sand tools

Kitchen Bin
(You can use any type of uncooked noodles or beans).
2 boxes of penne pasta
2 boxes of farfalle pasta
3 bags of dried beans
1 set of play kitchen tools

Just fill up the plastic bins with the appropriate items and let your kids start digging, filling, pouring and playing.

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  • Stacie Hagwood Jul 17, 8:53 p.m.
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    I made a slide-under-the-bed "sand" table using ground corn-cobs. Not as fine as sand, but the kids could use typical shovels, scoops, etc. I got the idea for the ground corn cobs from the museum where they used it in dinosaur "digs" during birthday parties.