So I haven't done one of these posts in a long time because life got a little crazy! And it still is - but I was feeling like I needed to do something Ava-focused that is new and exciting for her!
I've always wanted to make sensory bins for her, but I've been waiting for her to pass the phase where she puts everything in her mouth. The last time I tried this activity with her I was about 20 weeks pregnant with Liam and Ava was around 15 months old, and she would take fist fulls of rice and shove it in her mouth at our playgroup!! So now that she is 2, I feel that she is ready to try it again! I used to make Toddler Sensory Bags for her since she clearly wasn't ready for an open bin!
I went to Walmart this morning and bought a big bag of the cheapest rice, cheapest dry beans, and I picked 2 fun items to go into the sensory bins. I chose a variety pack of pom poms (because she loves playing with cotton balls) and a little packet of plastic gems (because what toddler doesn't like small shiny things?!). You'll also need 2 small plastic bins with lids.
Then you'll just pour some dry beans into a bin and add the pom poms! The amount of beans you add will depend on the age/interests of your child. I only did a layer that was just enough to cover the bottom - I don't need a thousand million beans in there that can accidentally be spilled for me to clean up!
As you can see above, I only used about half my bag. And less is more when it comes to the pom poms; I only took out a small handful. I made sure to get a couple of each size and color.
Doesn't the rice and gems bin look pretty?!
Again, don't put too much rice in there or else you'll regret it when there's rice all over your floor.
*I highly recommend starting this as an outside activity until your child gets the hang of the expectations for how to appropriately play in a sensory bin!
And then you just throw the lids on them and store them away until you are ready to use them! I think I'll put mine on a shelf in the laundry room.
There's tons of fun Halloween stuff out already so I also picked up some fun creepy crawlers for next month!
The possiblities are endless for sensory bins and it's SO EASY to make them theme-related!
You can also add scoops like measuring spoons or cups or simply grab a plastic cup from the kitchen.
I feel like this would be a fun MOPS activity or just a mom hang-out type thing. I barely used any rice and have so much leftover; you could easily have a sensory bin making night and split the supplies and cost with your fellow mom (and dad!) friends! I spent around $15 and have soooo many leftover supplies!
Just a word of advice: if this is a new activity for your child, expect it to go badly the first few times. Sit with your child and show them what you want them to do. They're not going to understand that these things need to stay in the bin unless you allow them to practice it! I'm sure Ava will be wanting to collect the gems and carry them around. Make the first few times short and positive and praise them for playing gently! If they do get wild, just redirect them and show them what they should be doing. You can even take their little hands and do it for them to show them exactly how they can play with the sensory materials.
Happy toddler days!