The little ones (and most of the time) the big kids love to get their hands in anything sensory related, especially sensory bins. Not only do I find it enjoyable to put them together but they really have a lot to offer in the way of learning. For your youngest learners, they get a lesson in the world in a small safe environment – exploring the senses of touch, smell, sight, sound , and sometimes even taste. It can be used as a basis for science projects, studying cause and effect, measurement, volume, and so much more. Of course most importantly they are just super fun to play in! Take a look at this fun ocean sensory bin that kids will love!
Ocean Sensory Bin
For this sensory bin I put together a fun simple one to use along with an ocean study theme.
You will need to grab a large shallow bin, anything larger than a shoe box will work but the bigger the better on this one! Next, some play sand, seashells, and plastic ocean animals. One of our favorite small world play/sensory bin toys are Toobs like this Ocean one, they come in a lot of different themes and can be used in a lot of ways.
Once you have gathered your basic ocean supplies you can begin to put together your ocean.
I decided to dissolve a couple Tablespoons of coarse salt in the water so they could sample the ocean’s saltiness. I also added a few drops of blue food coloring, this is optional but it gives the water a little fun tint. Let’s start putting it all together…
How to Make an Ocean Sensory Bin
Start with a shallow layer of play sand, you can pick this up at home improvement stores but I have also scored small bags at the dollar store as well.
Next, add your seashells, if you don’t have any on hand you can purchase a bag on Amazon, they are a great investment for an ocean study. We use them as manipulatives, we use them to identify shell types, and obviously in sensory play. Well, and we also decided to throw in a few blue glass pebbles to add to the color of our sensory bin. We had a couple sharks teeth and a real piece of coral to add to ours and they were a hit!
Then add your sea creatures, place some in the bin and some outside of it to allow your child to explore, play, and rearrange.
Finally, you can add some items like slotted spoons, tongs, small strainers, a magnifying glass for closer study, and droppers. This really gives your child a chance to make it more interactive and fun for them.
For younger children add a handful of magnetic plastic letters and ask them to find items that begin with those letters- O is for ocean, f is for fish, s is for sand, etc…
Whenever you feel brave enough to attempt a messy sensory bin I recommend taking it outside or putting it on a cheap shower curtain liner to keep the mess contained and clean up easy.
Ocean Books for Kids
These books tie in perfectly with the ocean unit and the sensory bin. They will enrich their learning.