Simple Forest Sensory Bin (Camping Week)

flatlay book word forest and sensory bin

Almost all of our units of study have included a sensory bin for a couple of reasons: (1) they’re usually easy to put together, (2) Camden loves them, and (3) they’re an independent activity, which works well on days when I’m juggling both Camden and Lawson. We did a cute Apple Tree Sensory Bin for our apple study, a Fall Leaf Cutting Bin for the leaf study, and now I put together this Forest Sensory Bin for our camping study.

forest sensory bin pinterest image


Materials for the Forest Sensory Bin

I used a mix of natural and manmade supplies for this sensory bin.


  • Cocoa Puffs//Rice Krispies (for dirt)
  • plastic forest animals
  • plastic plants and trees
  • FOREST letters


  • sticks
  • acorns
  • rocks

I let Camden go outside and collect sticks, acorns and rocks that he thought were interesting.


Putting Together the Forest Sensory Bin

rice krispies sensory bin

Pour Rice Krispies into an empty bin. If using cocoa cereal: use a food processor or blender to pulverize the cereal to a rough, rocky-dirt texture.

Pour the cereal dirt into an empty bin.

nature camping themed sensory bin

Decorate with the plastic forest animals, trees and plants. Add a tent (ours is from Lovevery) or camper if you want.

forest themed sensory bin

Sprinkle sticks, acorns and rocks throughout the bin.

Lay the letters for the word FOREST either in the middle of the bin or off to the side.


How to Play With the Forest Sensory Bin

As always, at first, the bin is a completely independent activity. I don’t get involved at all; I just let Cam (and Lawson) explore and play and create.

Note: Our 14 month old did play with this bin for a bit too. He wasn’t really interested in the toys, but he was interested in the sticks and stirring/flipping cereal all over. Fun for him and good learning, too – but also messy! If you have a kid under 2 or 2 1/2, I like to set the sensory bin and the kid in a dry baby pool for easier mess containment and cleanup!

hands playing with forest camping sensory bin

When you notice your child’s attention waning, you can do one of two things: first, you could put the forest sensory bin away, move on to something else, and get it out tomorrow.

Or, hide the FOREST letters around inside the bin. Write FOREST on a piece of paper. Then have your child hunt for the letters and match them to the paper to spell forest.

forest in magnetic letters

We also took the FOREST letters (ours were magnetic) and stuck them on the refrigerator to play ‘what’s missing?’ Cam would look hard at all the letters in the word, then close his eyes while I took a letter. Then he figured out which letter I took and got to put it back. After that, I closed my eyes and he took a letter for me to figure out. So fun and easy for letter recognition and memory practice.


Reading Along With the Bin

When we go camping, we always try to go on a hike. That’s the best way for us to explore the forest, see all the plants and animals, and feel like we’re truly out in nature.

the hike picture book

So Camden and I read The Hike by Alison Farrell. It’s a sweet little story about 3 kids who head out on a hike. They have fun, see all types of things, and learn why nature is so beautiful. It gives us a way to compare it to when we’ve been hiking and what we’ve seen. Plus, it’s a great intro to the sensory bin, because after reading it, your child can explore all the things they might find in the forest!

flatlay book word forest and sensory bin

Storing Your Sensory Bin

When we’re done playing with the sensory bin, I leave it in the bin for a few days. That way, Cam can continue to play with it whenever he wants. When I’m ready to put it away and replace it with a different bin, I store the pieces of the bin in ziploc bags.

For the Forest Sensory Bin, I’ll throw away the cereal dirt, because it doesn’t keep well for a super long time. Then I’ll rinse off all the plastic pieces and store them in a ziploc bag labeled ‘forest sensory bin.’ The sticks, acorns and rocks go back outside, and everything can be collected again when I want to pull it out!

Camping Week Activities

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