The Lame Valentine Sensory Bin
I wanted to share with you, what I thought, was a lame Valentine sensory bin. Once again, I am reminded that I really shouldn’t prejudge an activity.
In case you haven’t heard, sensory bins are all the rage, right now. They offer a lot of benefits. Depending on what you put into your bin, your child could be using all four senses.
I was quite happy with my first sensory bin. It was a musical bin. You can read more about it in my post, “Generally Having Fun with Music”. But this bin, this lame Valentine bin….I was not at all happy with.
One of the main reasons I was unhappy with the bin was because it really didn’t have many items in it. You can see through the bottom of the bin in several places because there really wasn’t much in there.
I considered adding colored rice or beans but I was using this in my preschool class during our Valentine’s celebration. I had a lot of activities planned and I knew the kids would be a little wild, so I didn’t want to add sweeping up rice that would get scattered around the room.
I purchased almost all my items at our local Dollar Tree. There were small, smooth, hard, plastic hearts.
A few rubber erasers and some heart-shaped bracelets.
I added some foam hearts. A few had sparkly glitter on them and some were plain. There were also some little heart-shaped containers.
Once I realized how few things were in the bin, I almost ditched the idea of using it. But I was afraid that I wouldn’t have enough activities to keep the kids occupied for the day so I took it along.
One essential item I suggest you use with any sensory bin is a vinyl tablecloth to place under it. If you are using the bin at home, for just a few children, a 60” by 84” cloth will be enough. I have found that, for my class of thirteen preschoolers, a 60” by 120” works better. The tablecloth helps with any “spillage” that might happen. It makes cleanup easier.
I decided to use the bin as a backup/last resort activity, since I was afraid it wasn’t good enough to keep the children interested. The class had been sitting at tables playing with the playdough I had made for them. One of the children got tired of the playdough so I decided to get the bin out since the rest of the class was still enjoying the activity at the tables. As soon as the bin came out, several more children decided they were done with their playdough and before I knew it, the whole class was at the bin. I was mentally preparing myself for the squabbling and fighting that was about to take place, over the few items in the bin. But much to my surprise and relief, the children really enjoyed the bin. They sat for a good 15 minutes playing contently with the items and with each other.
So what did I learn from my lame Valentine’s bin? I learned that the bin doesn’t have to be over-stuffed with items for the children to enjoy it. It didn’t have to have the small pieces of rice or beans. The children still had fun with the bin and they were able to experience many different textures. So if you don’t have a bunch of items for your bin or you don’t want to have the mess of rice and small beans, your child can still enjoy a simple sensory bin.
What type of successes or failures have you had with sensory bins?