Creating an ocean sensory bin is a fantastic way to engage kids in hands-on learning and imaginative play. As parents and educators, we understand the importance of fostering a love for the natural world in our little ones. Sensory play is a fantastic way to introduce children to the magic of the ocean while engaging their senses and promoting cognitive development. A sensory bin is a container filled with various materials that stimulate the senses and encourage exploration.
In this blog post, we’ll take you on an aquatic adventure as we share our ocean-themed sensory activity bin. Created with care and packed with engaging materials, this sensory bin will provide your child with a hands-on experience of the ocean.
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Guide on how to make an ocean sensory bin
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to make an ocean-themed sensory bin for kids:
Materials you’ll need:
- A large plastic bin or sensory table
- Blue-colored rice, water beads, or blue-colored water (you can dye the water with food coloring)
- Assorted sea creatures // 8-Piece Sea Creature Figurine Set or Color Changing Creatures
- Acrylic Beads or Blue Gems
- Seashells. We used these plastic seashell eggs.
- Small scoops or spoons. We love these tools.
- Treasure Chest and gems
- Other optional items: Artificial aquatic plants, funnels, small nets to catch sea animals
Steps to create the ocean sensory bin
Prepare the bin: Choose a large plastic bin with a lid to keep the sensory materials contained and easily stored when not in use. We love to use our Sensory Table for activities.
Fill the bin: Fill the bin with blue-colored rice, acrylic beads, or blue-colored water. The blue-colored material will represent the ocean or water.
Add sea creatures and shells: Place the assorted sea creature toys and seashells into the sensory bin.
Incorporate sand: If you have some, you can add a layer of sand to the bottom of the bin to represent the ocean floor. Additionally, aquatic plants can be placed around the bin to create a more immersive ocean environment.
Provide tools for play: Include small scoops or spoons in the sensory bin to encourage kids to explore and interact with the materials. You can also add small nets for “fishing” the sea creatures out of the water. These are some of our favorite tools that we use again and again for sensory play.
Include learning: Consider adding some play prompts or educational activities related to the ocean. For example, you could provide cards with different sea creatures’ names and ask kids to find and match the toys to the correct names. Incorporate books about the ocean or books with an ocean theme.
Supervise and engage: Once the sensory bin is set up, invite the kids to play and explore. Supervise their playtime and join in the fun! You can encourage storytelling, pretend play, and discussions about the ocean and its inhabitants.
Clean-up and storage: When playtime is over, make sure to clean and dry any wet toys or materials. Store the sensory bin and its components in a safe place, ready for the next play session.
- Always supervise young children during sensory play.
- Check that the materials you use are age-appropriate and non-toxic.
- If using small items, ensure they are too large to be a choking hazard for young children.
- If you’re using real seashells, inspect them for sharp edges and clean them thoroughly.
Creating an ocean sensory bin can be a delightful and educational experience for kids. It fosters creativity, fine motor skills, and sensory development, all while teaching them about marine life and the ocean ecosystem.