Gardening Sensory Bin – Easy Fun for Toddlers!
If you’ve been around here very long, you know sensory bins are my jam. I love creating fun, themed bins for Camden to play with, and he asks alllll the time, “Can we play with my sensor bin?” This gardening sensory bin has been the perfect hit for springtime – it’s fun and it’s perfect to introduce the idea of gardening before we get outside and plant something real!
Supplies for Your Gardening Sensory Bin
I grabbed all of my supplies at Meijer. Target or Wal-Mart should have everything too.
You’ll want to get:
- 2 bags of dried black beans (or choose 2 different colors to mix together)
- plastic vegetables and fruits*
- things to dig, stir, plant, scoop, etc with (I grabbed sand toys)
- small flower pots
And anything else you think your kid would find fun! I still want to get my hands on some plastic bugs to add in, because crawly bugs are always in the garden!
*Truthfully, my plastic fruits and veggies were just borrowed out of our play kitchen. So you may already have some on hand!
Assembling the Gardening Sensory Bin
I feel kind of silly giving this it’s own section, but here are your directions:
- Add the dried beans to a bin or large container.
- Drop in fruits and veggies.
- Spread tools all around the veggies and the bin.
Voila! That’s it. So simple to put together – this has probably been my most effortless bin so far (maybe tied with the Halloween Sensory Bin)!
Ways to Encourage Play
First and foremost, the best way to let a child use a sensory bin is for free play and discovery. I always, always, always let Camden have a few days to play and explore and use it however he wants before I suggest anything different.
After your child has had a few days to play and discover with the gardening sensory bin, you can suggest different ways to play and use the bin to keep encouraging new interest in the bin.
- Ask your child to sort the fruits, veggies and flowers and plant each one in a different section of the bin.
- Have your child bury the fruits and veggies while you cover your eyes. Then use the tools to dig them up and see if you can find them. After that, switch roles and have your child hunt for the food after you bury it.
Storing Your Sensory Bins
We ran into a storage problem not long ago. I had four or five sensory kits and each one was in its own bin. But bins take up a lot of space. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have room to store bins on bins on bins.
So I now have just two current sensory bins. The rest of them? I pour each one into a gallon (or 2 gallon, if it’s big) ziploc bag and store all of those in one box.
That way, when Camden seems to get tired of the one or two we have out, it’s easy to pour them into a bag and pour in whatever ones he wants to play with!
Why Use Sensory Bins?
Sensory bins can be messy – even dried beans require clean up, though they’re a lot less messy than something wet. But sensory bins also provide our children the chance to play independently and explore with their senses. The open-ended play is great for developing imagination and creativity, and who knows? Maybe your child will start giving YOU ideas of sensory bins to create for them!
Here are a few of our other favorite sensory bins:
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