Ocean Sensory Bin Activity for Kids

Take a look at this fun ocean sensory bin that kids will love!

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.

Of course, most importantly they are just super fun to play in!

If you have an ocean lover, they love these ocean activities for kids.

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.

Ocean Sensory Bin

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Recommended Ocean Books for Kids

These books tie in perfectly with the ocean unit and the sensory bin. They will enrich their learning.

Hello, World! Ocean LifeHello, World! Ocean LifeThe Big Book of the Blue (The Big Book Series)The Big Book of the Blue (The Big Book Series)Pete the Cat: Pete at the Beach (My First I Can Read)Pete the Cat: Pete at the Beach (My First I Can Read)The Rainbow FishThe Rainbow FishCommotion in the OceanCommotion in the OceanStella : The Shark Who Loves Treasure (Ocean Tales Children's Books)Stella : The Shark Who Loves Treasure (Ocean Tales Children’s Books)


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 Toob one, they come in a lot of different themes and can be used in a lot of ways.

Recommended Sensory Bin Supplies

Once you have gathered your basic ocean supplies you can begin to put together, you’re ready for some ocean sensory play.

Safari Ltd Coral Reef TOOB - Includes 11 BPA, Pthalate, and Lead Free Hand Painted Figurines - Ages 3+Safari Ltd Coral Reef TOOB – Includes 11 BPA, Pthalate, and Lead Free Hand Painted Figurines – Ages 3+Craft Sand (Decorative Sand) - Natural Sand Perfect Decor for Vases - Real Decorative Sand - 1 PoundCraft Sand (Decorative Sand) – Natural Sand Perfect Decor for Vases – Real Decorative Sand – 1 PoundSea Shells Mixed Beach Seashells - Various Sizes up to 2Sea Shells Mixed Beach Seashells – Various Sizes up to 2


I decided to dissolve a couple of 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…

Supplies for an Ocean Sensory Bin

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!

Ocean Sensory Bin Activity

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.

Ocean Sensory Bin

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.

Take some time to create your very own ocean sensory bin when you can’t go to the beach, you can bring it to you.

If you want more activities to do with your preschooler, check out this list of fun Ocean Activities for Preschoolers!

More Ocean Activities

Ocean Unit Study Resources

Jellyfish Activities for Preschoolers

Octopus Yarn Craft.

Ocean Books for Kids

Mermaid Slime Recipe

Rainbow Fish Paper Plate Craft

Ocean Activities for Kindergarten

Ocean Themed ABC Spin & Color from 3 Dinosaurs

Ocean Coloring Pages for Preschoolers from Homeschool Preschool

Ocean I Spy Game Printable


  1. Pollyanna R. says:

    Another great book is “Somewhere in the Ocean” by Jennifer Ward. The narrative introduces ocean animals, their habitats and their group names through soothing poetry and colorful illustrations.

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