a stitch in lime

stumbling into creativity

Sensory bin: Why didn’t I do this sooner?

1 Comment


I’ve read plenty online lately about creative parents who put stuff in bins for their kids to explore. Usually with themes. Nature, various holidays, you name it. I was intrigued. But I… I don’t do themes. I do whatever’s around. Bonus: my kid will still love whatever I gather up for him to mess with.

But yet, I hesitated. A bunch of tiny things in a bin at the hands of a toddler with various scooping options? That sounds messy. Toddlers don’t keep things in appropriate containers (Cheerios go on the floor!), on appropriate surfaces (Spaghetti on my highchair tray? How about on the wall?), or out of inappropriate places (Look! My train is floating in the toilet!). But I came to my senses when I realized that a bin like this would surely buy me several consecutive minutes of peace, so here I am being one of those creative parents who has resigned herself to repeatedly sweeping up tiny things from her floor. The Occupational Therapists at work would be so proud of me making my son a “sensory bin” to explore.

Scooping and dumping. A toddler’s dream.

Now, apparently you can put any old anything into a sensory bin (judging from Pinterest search results). Because of the nearness of our grocery store (across the street = win), I filled ours with dry, shelf-stable, cheap food: dry macaroni, popcorn kernels, and a few black beans. I threw in a few of A’s small trucks and cars and other tiny toys, gave him a cup and a scoop and a dump truck, and he was set.

Loving it.

He played with it for about 20 minutes. There were at least 5 dumps onto the floor in that time. It went something like this:

I sit down to relax.
Clattering spill noise “Mess!”
“Oh baby, this stuff stays in the bin.”
“Mama help.”
“Okay, I’ll help.”
We clean up together.
I sit down to relax.
Clattering spill noise…

It was still worth it. If nothing else, having this around will give us many, many opportunities to practice team work while cleaning up together.

One thought on “Sensory bin: Why didn’t I do this sooner?

  1. What a great idea! My 2 year old would love this too. The other day I tried something similar except maybe a bit messier. I put a big towel down on my tiled kitchen floor, filled a large bowl of water up and coloured it with food colouring one color. Then filled a second smaller container up with another color. Gave them a couple of cups and scoops to transfer the water over and WOILA hours of entertainment. I like the macaroni idea a bit better though because it’s DRY. They actually didn’t spill too much other than when they were fighting over who got what scoop/cup. Will be trying this tomorrow though!

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