Sensory bins are magic. They invite exploration, they naturally suggest counting, measuring, and work on hand-eye coordination too. One of my favorite things about sensory bins ( or tables in classrooms) is that they promote oral language. It’s true, just watch as two three-year-olds saddle up next to each other. It might start with asking to pass the scoop but much like the sandbox, the sensory bin encourages conversation. Even when a child is alone I find many children start to narrate new stories or even just their own movements while there. ” Time to pour, look a green glass bead. I’m going to put that in the bowl. OK.” This is why I think they are magic and why this St.Patrick’s Day sensory bin is a great addition to any classroom free choice time or home play time.
Gather your materials. You will need some dyed rice, I used yellow and green. Also some dyed navy beans, some play gold coins, some green glass beads, a scoop, and a little bowl. In a classroom, I would add more scoops and bowls as well as the filler. I used the following methods for coloring my rice and beans.
Start by pouring in the rice and beans.
Add the green glass beads and gold coins.
The scoop and bowl and you are ready to go.
One of the methods I use for showing my students all the different ways to play at the sensory table is to just play with them. I don’t instruct I model. I scoot up next to a child and start digging the gold out and counting them as I pop them in the bowl. I don’t tell them explicitly they should do it or that how I am doing it is the right way, I just play. If they decide to play that way too, great. If not that is okay too. This time also gives me a chance to just watch how they are using it and what skills they are building.