Sensory bins never fail to entertain around our house. They work for kids of varying ages and the materials can easily be switched and swapped overtime to keep things fresh. A great theme for a winter sensory bin is a snow sensory bin. My kids LOVE snow and we’ve had our fair share of the real thing lately! This snow bin sensory idea uses pretty cool imitation snow that is easy to make and my kids loved it! Be sure to jump over to Instagram to see the snow sensory bin being created.
I always like to include a reminder that you have to choose materials that are appropriate for your kids. Some of these materials would not be appropriate for children who put items in their mouths. I’m always nearby when my kids play and make sure they aren’t putting materials in their mouths.
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Why Use Sensory Bins?
Why create sensory bins? Sensory play is important for young children. Children use their senses all the time. But there are specific activities to really focus on the senses. Sensory activities help children with brain development, vocabulary development, problem-solving skills, fine motor skills, and more. They are also a lot of fun and open the door to explore with materials they might not explore otherwise.
If you prefer to make snow, add 3 cups of baking soda to a large container. Then measure 1/2 cup white conditioner, I use the cheapest kind I have. Mix it with your hands right before playing and it will feel cool to the touch like snow when the kids start exploring with their snow sensory bin.
Snow Sensory Bin Ideas
There are so many ways to explore this sensory bin. The bin is great with just the snow material for kids to squish and shape and more! If you want to extend the play you can have additional play materials. We loved adding the wood playset pieces for a snow village theme. The kids used their imaginations to pretend snow on the village.
You can add materials you already have in the home such as kitchen tools, cookie cutters, and funnels. You could also add action figures, toy cars, or blocks the children already have! Mixing items they are used to and a new sensory material extends their play and excitement.
Additional Ways to Play
Enjoy reading a book like One Snowy Day which encourages counting strategies for young children. Then you can practice counting with the snow sensory bin. Maybe count spoonfuls of snow as you scoop into a bowl. You could add white pom-poms and use them for counting. Encourage the child to scoop and dump the snow to work gross motor skills. Practice using language to describe what your child is doing. Also, don’t be afraid to open the bin up for creative free play. There is so much power in letting kids set the pace and explore their own ideas.
Books about Winter
On the day of the big snowman-building contest, Jack goes to join Angie and Melden in the park, with his tag-along little sister, Nancy, sticking to him like glue. Nancy loves to help Jack, but her “help” can be disastrous, so he’s relieved to find that the rules say no more than three to a team. Then he sees that this time Nancy is the one who needs help, and to his own surprise, he pitches in . . . and enjoys it!
This picture book about winter celebrates the sights, sounds, and smells of the season. From Caldecott Medalist and Newbery Honor author Kevin Henkes and acclaimed painter Laura Dronzek, the bestselling and award-winning creators of seasonal favorites When Spring Comes and In the Middle of Fall.
When does it snow? Why is snow white? How do we know no two snowflakes are alike? (Hint: the proof is in the photographs, first made in the 1890s!) With full-color photographs and the Smithsonian’s famous Wilson Bentley snowflake photos, this new Curious About title looks at the science behind snow, and the history of record-setting blizzards and snowstorms—plus how people have fun in the snow!
More Fun Learning Ideas to Try
This fun winter sensory bin is an easy indoor activity that is the perfect winter activity for preschoolers. It is great for practicing fine motor skills and a boredom buster when it’s too cold to play outside.
This is how to dye rice for sensory bins in three easy steps. These easy steps to dye rice with food coloring for sensory play are relatively mess-free and the kids can help do the mixing and shaking for an added element of fun!
My kids enjoyed pushing the hearts into the dough which is great for developing fine motor skills. They also found the cookie cutters to be so much fun and the rolling pin is always a favorite when we use playdough.