I Spy Sensory Bin

I spy Sensory Bin

I Spy Sensory Bin: fine motor activity for toddlers and preschoolers

On the last evening of summer vacation, before the Hooligans returned from their 2 month summer break, it occurred to me to make a sensory bin for the kids to dig into on their first day back.  I put together this I Spy Sensory Bin, and they loved it!  The inspiration for my I Spy Bin came from the brilliant  Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Sensory Bin over at Rubber Boots and Elf Shoes. Thanks for the great idea, Sandi!

I Spy Bin - a sensory treasure hunt

Rainbow Rice base:

For a base in our I Spy Bin, I used our Homemade Rainbow Rice.   Making coloured rice is super-quick and easy.  We use a mess-free, kid-friendly method to make ours.  Get the recipe for our Rainbow Rice here.

As for the goodies in the bin, I collected odds and ends from our toy room and craft cupboards.

What to put in your sensory bin:

small items and coloured rice in a sensory bin

Anything goes really.  Just have a look around, and collect small colourful objects that you think your child would enjoy exploring.

Tools and instruments for a sensory bin:

instruments for scooping and sorting

  • scoops
  • small spoons
  •  tweezers
  • tongs
  • Meat Ball Scoop (always the most popular tool in the bin)
  • glass jars
  • coloured cups and bowls
  • ice-cube trays
  • muffin tins
  • sectioned trays (I love re-using the plastic trays that chocolates and cookies come packaged in)

use plastic chocolate and cookie trays for sorting

 Dig in!

That’s all there is to it.  Now invite your child to explore and discover the contents of the bin.


The hooligans have spent hours scooping, pouring and sifting through the rice.

A sensory bin is a great fine motor activity.  Using small spoons, scoops tweezers and tongs encourage muscle development, and help prepare a child for holding a pencil or scissors.

child transferring 2 glass bead on a small spoon

A sensory bin also helps develop math and counting skills children sort and group items ms into the bowls and containers.

recycled, sectioned cookie tray for sorting items

And above all, it’s just a whole lot of fun to dig your hands into a bin like this. The feel and sound of the rice, and the vibrant colours are so inviting.  The hooligans spent hours and hours playing with this one throughout the month of September.

What do you say?  Will you give an I Spy Bin a try?

child scooping rice from I Spy bin into a sectioned bowl

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Yours in play, Jackie from Happy Hooligans

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