Make a colourful I Spy Sensory Bin for toddlers and preschoolers using coloured rice, and an assortment of odds and ends from around the house. It will provide hours of entertainment, learning and fine-motor fun.
My daycare Kids love to play I SPY, and they love a good sensory bin, so I’ve combined both activities with this I Spy Sensory Bin.
The inspiration for this bin came from the brilliant Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Sensory Bin that I spotted recently over at Rubber Boots and Elf Shoes. Thanks for the great idea, Sandi!
Rainbow Rice Base:
For a base in our I Spy Bin, I used our Homemade Rainbow Rice. You’ll find our quick and easy, mess-free recipe here.
As for the goodies in the bin, I collected odds and ends from our toy room and craft cupboards.
What to put in an I Spy Sensory Bin:
- homemade coloured rice (get my recipe here)
- glass beads and gems
- colourful buttons
- craft foam pieces
- colourful craft sticks
- letter and number magnets
- dyed pasta (get our easy recipe here)
- brightly coloured shoe laces or yarn
- lego pieces
- pony beads
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:
- small spoons
- 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)
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.
A sensory bin also helps develop math and counting skills children sort and group items ms into the bowls and containers.
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?
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Jackie is a mom, wife, home daycare provider, and the creative spirit behind Happy Hooligans. She specializes in kids’ crafts and activities, easy recipes, and parenting. She began blogging in 2011, and today, Happy Hooligans inspires more than 2 million parents, caregivers and Early Years Professionals all over the globe.
What fun! There are so many wonderful treasures in this bin.
What a wonderful bin. I need to keep my eyes open for a meat ball scoop – and I love your idea of using chocolate and cookie plastic trays in the bins. (And thanks for the shout out and link).
I always re-use our take-out food containers for activities with my tot, but I never thought about the chocolate/cookie trays. Thanks for a great idea! And I think I’ll have to try my hand at that rainbow rice sometime in the near future. I’ve just started to use sensory bins more regularly, so I’m testing out different fillers.
Laura @ Lalymom
Ah! The cookie trays, so smart! This looks so fun, even I would want to spy stuff!
This looks beautiful:) I just set up our first Sensory Bin for Halloween which was inspired by your site! So much learning & fun from it. It was particularly rewarding for me to see a child who has a language receptive issue get so much learning from this as he is more of a ‘visual’ learner. Thanks for the inspiration & I can’t wait to get started on this one.
We put together a fun sensory tub filled with real baking materials for some imaginative play and learning!
What a wonderful activity, Maryellen! I imagine you could add some very scented ingredients to take the sensory experience up a notch!
The children love Sensory scavenging, but they make such a mess, the rice goes everywhere. I have tried it in a wide storage box, an aluminum roasting tray, a deep storage box, what should I use?
I’d go for the largest under the bed store container you can find, Mandi, and place it on a plastic table cloth so you can pour the spills back in to the bin when they’re finished playing.
You could extend this activity by putting heaps of rice in and hiding things in it so children could find them.
Yes, that would be a great idea, Jude! In a jar or bottle would be fun too – a twisty I Spy!