Snow Sensory Bin

What do to with the kids when it’s too cold outside: set up a snow sensory bin INSIDE!

We do this at least once every winter at our house.  When it’s too cold to get outside I bring a big plastic container of snow inside, and I turn it into a snow sensory bin for the hooligans to play with.

snow sensory bin

Because it’s been so cold, the snow in our yard is very hard and crunchy, so after bringing the bin inside, I let it sit on the counter for a good 15 minutes to soften it up.

Little People and construction vehicles in a snow sensory bin

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What to add to a snow sensory bin:

In the past we’ve turned our snow bin into an ice cream shop or or a wintery small world for the Polly Pockets.  Today I decided our snow bin would be a construction zone. I added an assortment of Little People and their road signs and construction workers.   I also grabbed a few other construction vehicles from our car bucket.

To keep your play area dry:

To protect the floor from spills, I spread out a large quilt as well as a couple of folded towels.  These extended well beyond the bin so the kids could set their snowy toys on them while playing.   A vinyl table cloth would also do the trick, either on its own, or under the blanket as an extra layer of protection.

This activity was a huge hit with the hooligans.

vehicles in a snow sensory bin

They played with it most of the day, adding other assorted items that they collected from around the playroom.snow sensory  bin collage

We even created a snow-slide by setting our Fisher Price garage with the ramp on a stool beside the bin.

snow slide into the snow bin

Of course, the youngest ones had to sample the snow just like they do when we’re outside.


The longer the children play with the bin, the softer the snow gets.  It’s great for the children to observe how its properties change.  They would never see it happen this quickly when we’re playing outside.


It becomes softer and then heavier and wetter, and eventually things turn quite slushy, but the kids don’t lose interest in the bin. I set up the activity this morning, and they continued to play right through to the end of the afternoon. throughout the afternoon.


When I finally dumped it outside at home-time, it resembled a slushy swimming pool. A snow activity bin is always a great way to entertain kids when you can’t get outside. Not bad.  A full day of play for the “price” of a bucket of snow!

For a few more creative ways to play with snow be sure to check out:

Potato Heads in the Snow

Colouring Snow with Liquid Watercolours (indoors)

Painting the Snow with Tempra Paints (outdoors)

and our magnificent Coloured Ice Sculptures in the Snow


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    • happyhooligans says

      Yay! I just popped over and checked out your post! Looks like they had a great time, Rachel! And yes, let’s hope that’s IT for this winter!

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