Inside: A tutorial on making a beach-themed and ocean-themed sensory bin activity for toddlers and preschoolers.
Since summer is approaching quickly, I have started doing some activities with Lennox to prepare him for all of the fun we will have this summer. Next week, we are off to the beach so we kickstarted our summer with this beach sensory bin for toddlers.
Sensory bins are a great resource to use at home to entertain and educate toddlers, and they are super easy to make!
Keep reading below for an explanation of the benefits of sensory bin play, as well as a tutorial on how I made our beach sensory bin.
Enjoy, and if you decide to do this beach sensory bin for toddlers, add picture and tag me on Instagram using the handle @lorenaylennox!
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Other outdoor activities you might enjoy:
- Disney In Ice Escape Water Table STEM Activity for Toddlers
- Construction Zone Sensory Bean Box for Toddlers and Preschoolers
- Animal Washing Station for Toddlers
- 20 Loose Parts Outdoor Activities for Toddlers
What are the Benefits of Sensory Bin Play?
According to Whole Child Homeschool, ten benefits of Sensory bins:
- Involve all of the senses.
- Promote self-regulation.
- Promote language development.This is super important in our bilingual household!
- Promote fine motor skills.
- Promote awareness of physics and how the world works.
- Promote math skills.
- Promote critical thinking skills.
- Promote homemaking and life skills.
- Promote imaginative skills.
- Promote brain development.
Those are a lot of benefits, plus on top of it all, sensory bins are SUPER fun and will entertain your toddler for a long time.
At least for my toddler, they do, and he is one to never sitstill! So it’s a win-win for child AND parent!
So let’s get to the sensory bin business. Please keep reading to see how we made our beach-themed sensory bin!
How to create your beach sensory bin + materials you will need:
The materials listed below are what I used in this specific beach-themed sensory bin. However, if you do not have these particular items, I’m sure if you do a little rummaging through the house, you can find various things to add to your sensory bin!
- Choose your bin
There are many different ways you can make a sensory bin. Sometimes we use a box, like in our construction zone sensory bean box.
This time I chose a plastic storage container.
- Add your Ocean animal figurines
We are big crafters in our home, so you can frequently find us at the nearest Joann’s, which is where I got our collection of ocean animal figurines. But, you can also find a wide variety available on Amazon.
- Mixed Sea Shells
Sea Shells are a loose parts fan favorite, and boy, are they sensory! Who doesn’t go to the beach and search for the biggest or most unique shell? I’m sure you’ve listened in on many conches to hear the ocean too!
During Lennox’s sensory play with this beach-themed sensory bin, he found a clamshell that was not open yet and entertained him for a solid ten minutes. That’s a lot in Lennox time.
First, he used it as an instrument. Then, he tried to open it by testing out different methods. Lastly, once he did get the clamshell open, he tried to figure how to get it back together again! It doesn’t get more sensory or educational than that, folks!
I took rice added a half teaspoon of water, and a half teaspoon of vinegar. Then I added two or three drops of yellow food coloring to it to turn the rice yellow. I let it sit for about ten minutes to absorb some of the liquid. Then i drained it. Next, I crushed the rice a little bit with my hands to give it more of a sand appearance. Lastly, I let it dry before I added it to the sensory bin.
All of these steps are completely additional. You could simply just add rice and your toddler will still have lots of sensory fun!
We have an adorable blue Betta fish, so we already had these aquarium rocks, but you could use any blue items you have lying around the house instead.
These blue water beads would be super fun and sensory for your toddler.
You could also make blue rice as I did for the yellow rice for the sand above.
Or, you could add blue coloring dye to Rice Krispy Treats or any small food item you have in your pantry.
Or, you could add in another small container and add actual water, which will make the bin all the more sensory! The extra container is so that the sand rice doesn’t mix with the water. If your toddler is like mine, he would most likely mix them anyways!
I added in random ocean/beach-themed things that I could find laying around, such as these aquarium plants.
I also added a small teaspoon to resemble a small shovel.
How to make your beach sensory bin an educational activity
- Have your toddler practice her fine motor skills by using the small teaspoon. See if she can scoop up the sand from one side and transfer it to another.
- Practice language development by first learning and repeating several times the names of each animal.Since we only speak in Spanish at home, we use sensory bins as a great way to learn new vocabulary. Shortly, I will be uploading some ocean and beach-themed printable activities in Spanish, so stay tuned, and subscribe below so you can get an immediate notification when these printables are ready!
- Play a sorting game.Once your child knows the different names of the animals, have them sort them by animal type, size, color, etc. You can do the same with the different seashells!
- Play I-Spy.Playing I-Spy will help your child memorize their new vocabulary and make it stick!
Enjoy, and if you decide to do this activity, take a picture and tag me on Instagram using the handle @lorenaylennox!
I would love to see your very own renditions of a beach-themed sensory bin!