Sensory Processing Disorder Parent Support
Sensory Processing Disorder Parent Support 

Sensory Processing Disorder Sensory Bins & Sensory Play 

Children with sensory differences ... painting the world beautiful.  

Sensory Processing Disorder Sensory Bins & Sensory Play 

Jeanette Loftus 

child with sensory processing disorder playing with sensory bin Sensory Processing Disorder Sensory Bins & Sensory Play
A sensory bin is a container filled with items that stimulate your child's senses.

Sensory bins are a great tactile play activity for children with Sensory Processing Disorder and they can also be beneficial for your child's fine motor development.

A sensory bin is designed to assist your child with their sensory diet. The possibilities are absolutely endless.
Sensory bins do not need to be expensive. They can be made with most safe items around your home.

Sensory bins are a way for your child to explore their senses and learn. Sensory bins don't require a lot of contents or much space.

Sensory bins can help your child with fine motor, gross motor development, fidgeting, exploring their senses, self regulation, language development, learning to tolerate new textures, hand and eye coordination and build self confidence.

What can you put in a sensory bin?

kinetic sand
moon sand
colored craft sand
modeling clay
play dough
fake snow
wood chips
cut pieces of tree branches
pine cones
fresh cut grass or fake grass
cedar chips
pebbles or rocks
wood scraps
aquarium pebbles
corn starch
corn meal
baking soda
uncooked pasta (colored or plain)
cooked pasta (colored or plain)
corn kernels
dried beans
cooked beans
coffee beans
ice (cubes, chipped, shaved, - dyed or plain)
uncooked rice (colored or plain)
cooked rice (colored or plain)
shredded coconut
oranges (some sliced and some whole)
lemons (some sliced and some whole)
grapefruit (some sliced and some whole)
potatoes (some sliced and some whole)
green beans
sweet peppers
dry oatmeal or steel cut oats
dry cereal (cheerios, fruit loops, other dry cereals)
cool whip or whipped cream
loose tea
potato flakes
pumpkin gutsnuts in their shells (for those not allergic)
gum balls
mardi gras beads
Hawaiian lei's (cut and whole)
bubble wrap
cotton balls
bubble wrap
finger paint or tempera/activity paint
watermelon (half and slices)
poker chips
fake fruit and vegetables
plastic Easter eggs
balloons (fill with air, water, water beads, sand, spices or rice
hair gel
bingo chips
shredded paper
cellophane paper
construction paper
small paper squares or tissue paper squares
coins (plastic or fake)
tapioca pearls
Indian corn
led tea lights
led finger lights
bubble solution and wands
baby cereal (dry or with water)
tea bags and a child's tea set or plastic cups
glow sticks
flower or vegetable seeds
bath beads
used coffee grounds
flowers (real or fake)
fish aquarium gravel
leaves (real or fake)
water beads
water polymers
shaving cream
sponges (various sizes and shapes)
bird seed
slime (store bought or home made)
silly putty (store bought or home made)
Easter grass
ball pit balls
sensory balls
packing peanuts
sea glass
glass plant gems
plastic gems
crepe paper
tissue paper
wrapping paper
plastic fishing worms (no hooks of course)
plastic animals
plastic people
floating toys
bath toys
foam bits or foam toys
tri-beads, pony beads, seed beads
fabric scraps
play silks
pom poms
craft feathers
feather boas (cut into sections or whole)squeegee
aluminum pie pans
squeeze bottles
cupcake liners (paper, aluminum, or silicone)
Popsicle sticks
chop sticks
small containers with lids
recycled food or juice containers
magnifying glass
spray bottles
safety scissors
cookie cutters
plastic bowls and cups
nets / netting
potato masher
bucket and pail
small plastic containers with lids
dolls and doll clothing
scraps cut from old clothes
small stuffed animals
small unbreakable mirrors
empty spice jars/containers
gel window clings
potatoes (cut in half, slices, and whole)
dried herbs
play dishes
play money/plastic or wooden cooking utensils
canning funnels
measuring cups and spoons
foam letters and numbers
plastic letters and numbers
old costume/cheap jewelry
garden tools
turkey baster
spools of thread (empty or with thread still on them)
ice cube trays
muffin tins
tongs/magazines (whole, pages. or pieces cut)
hard boiled eggs
dish soap
body wash
hand soap
frozen veggies
Using a sensory bin can stimulate all of your child's senses including tactile, olfactory, auditory, visual and gustation.Sensory bin contents can be put in a Rubbermaid type of storage container but you can also use a sensory table too. Any inexpensive container from your local dollar store will work. You want to choose a container that is large enough so that your child will have space to play.
No one knows your child's sensory needs better than you. Some parents use only edible items in a sensory bin because their child may have pica and eat non food items and some parents will use non edible items. What you choose to do is completely your choice based on your child's sensory needs. You can also ask your child's Occupational Therapist what they would recommend for your child too.

Sensory bins should have tools that will help your child play with the sensory bin contents. Children's play tweezers, scoops, cups, spoons, droppers and grabbers. This will also assist your child with fine motor development. 
5 Minute St. Patrick's Day Diggin' For Coins Rice Sensory Bin (so easy!)
Depending how large you want your sensory bin to be will depend on how much rice you want to use.
1. Pour your rice in a large bowl, add enough vinegar to your rice to make it a little damp. Don't soak it but lightly damp.
2. Add green food coloring to the rice. You want to add a lot as the more you add the brighter the green will be.
3. Stir it really well. You will be able to see how green you want it as you stir the rice.
4. Take a cookie sheet or two depending how much rice you want to use and put paper towel on the cookie sheet and pour the rice on it thinly so it dries quickly.

5 Minute St. Patrick's Day Diggin' For Coins Rice Sensory Bin
5. In about 30 minutes, I lifted the paper towel and poured the rice into my bin.
6. I then added gold coins and shamrocks to the rice.
For fine motor give your child play kids sensory tweezers to pick the coins out of the rice and find them. If your child is learning to count, you can ask them to find an amount of clovers or coins. Let your child explore and play in the sensory rice with spoons and cups.
This is a very quick and easy sensory tactile activity to add to your day while celebrating St. Patrick's Day with your child. Have fun! 

Sensory Bin Themes

Lego or blocks
Letters and numbers
Scooping and pouring
Colorful rice
Colorful cooked noodles
Colorful dry noodles
Treasure hunt
I spy
Color themes
St. Patrick's Day
Pirate treasures
Forth Of July
Pom pom colors
Rubber ducks
Airplanes and cars
Ocean and Beach
Digging for bugs
Canada Day
Water beads
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DISCLAIMER: I am not an Occupational Therapist. I am an adult who has Sensory Processing Disorder, a sensory parent and a Grandma. The information on this website is not medical advice and does not replace the information that your child's therapists gives you. These are just ideas and information that I have learned myself over the years of being a parent and an adult living with SPD. If you are concerned for your child, please always seek medical attention through a family doctor, pediatrician or therapist. This website is for suggestions and informational purposes only. Each child is different and what works for one child may not for another because all children have different needs. Please always consult with a professional. Amazon offers a small commission on products sold through their affiliate links on my website.  Each of your purchases through links on my website for Amazon affiliation links or sponsored links support me but no additional cost to you so thank you. I appreciate it so much!