The options are endless with a sensory bin filled with dry materials. Why dry materials you ask? For some children, starting with dry materials is the way to go in order for them to feel comfortable exploring with their tactile (touch) system. Dry materials also provide amazing auditory and visual stimulation when paired with the right materials.
- Consider your child's age and safety. Are they still mouthing items?
- Think about what your child is likely to do with the bin and adjust size and amount of materials accordingly (Are they likely to dump it out of the bin? Start with just a little so you don't get frustrated with the process. Are they looking to climb into the bin? Find a big box that allows this type of whole body exploration!).
- Where are you planning to play with the bin? If it's on a hard surface, consider bouncing and rolling factors with materials. On a carpet or rug? Your options might be different.
General "Formula" for success:
- Select your dry material.
- Add a few items that allow for scooping, pouring, collecting (e.g., spoons, scoops, bowls, jars); your kitchen is a great place to start! Select different materials such as metal, plastic, wood to explore the auditory component of sensory bin play.
- Pair some figurines, blocks, or other small manipulatives that might expand the play; try your play space to pick out a few items
- Have a tray available for moving materials out of the sensory bin
- Don't add too much! Less is often more here.
A Few Dry Bin Suggestions:
- dry lentils
- dry beans
- popcorn kernels
- rice (you can easily make colorful rice by placing rice in a container and adding food coloring and vinegar, mixing it up, laying it out to dry on a tray)
- dry pasta in all different shapes (you can color pasta just like noted with rice above)
- tapioca pearls
Want to add another sensory component? Put dry lavender or another dried flower/herb into your bin!