Fun Alphabet Recognition Sensory Bin

Learning is much more fun when it’s part of play! When it’s hands-on and invites kids to use their creativity and imaginations. When they can touch the materials, move them around. That’s exactly what this fun alphabet recognition sensory bin delivers.

These types of activities are perfect for preschoolers who are starting to recognize letters in the alphabet. They might only be able to recognize a few of the letters, and that is okay! They are being exposed. They might be learning the letters in their names, or even spelling some familiar sight words.

This alphabet recognition sensory bin is appealing to all preschool literacy levels. This is ideal for the classroom! And it provides different textures for a fun sensorial experience.

And…it’s super easy to put together! Let me show you how.

Fun Alphabet Recognition Sensory Bin

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

Fun Alphabet Recognition Sensory Bin

The first thing you want to think about is what to put in the bin. It doesn’t need to be exactly like ours.

Some ideas:

  • Letters of some sort
  • Construction vehicles
  • Sand
  • Rocks
  • Construction pieces

Fun Alphabet Recognition Sensory Bin

We chose to use Kinetic Sand because of the way it feels and molds and moves. (Seriously, if you’ve never touched this stuff, you must. Grown-ups have just as much fun with it. It’s amazing!)

We added Lincoln Logs for a bit of construction fun.

Fun Alphabet Recognition Sensory Bin

We had some letter stones but you could easily use foam letters or even magnetic letters.

 

Fun Alphabet Recognition Sensory Bin

For some preschoolers, the fun will be using the construction vehicles.

For others, it will be using the letters, perhaps spelling their names.

Fun Alphabet Recognition Sensory Bin

Handfuls of sand can be mounded and moved. Structures can be built with whatever construction pieces you add to the bin.

Exposure to the alphabet in a playful way!

Fun Alphabet Recognition Sensory Bin

 

Bonus! Grab your Learn the Alphabet Mega Pack!

Learn the Alphabet preschool printable pack

With this 230 page pack, you can help your preschooler learn their letters while practicing early phonic skills, coloring, fine motor skills, handwriting, and more! For $15.00 you can download your digital mega pack now!

 

Fun Alphabet Recognition Sensory Bin

 

More ways to learn through play:

Shapes in the Sensory Bin

Color Sorting at the Water Table

Letters in the Block Area

 


Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




Fun Spring Gardening Sensory Bin for Preschoolers

It all started with a book I fell in love with, and some carrots I found in the dollar section of Target. In fact, when I found the carrots, there were only 6 left.

And I cheered. Thank goodness my husband gets this. Well, he’s used to it, since I’ve been teaching for over 17 years. You’d have thought I had won the lottery.

But seriously, I knew that I now had everything I needed for a fun spring gardening sensory bin for our preschoolers! I knew they’d love it, and I was right.

Fun Spring Gardening Sensory Bin for Preschoolers

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

 

Fun Spring Gardening Sensory Bin for Preschoolers

So it all started with a book I fell in love with, and some carrots in the dollar section of Target. And yes I did take a photo of them! I had to share with my pals on Instagram! (Cheers to the 268 friends who liked and commented on it. They get it!)

Fun Spring Gardening Sensory Bin for Preschoolers

What we used:

  • Coffee beans
  • Letter tiles (came from some game years ago)
  • Tongs
  • Silicon garden pots (you guys – these are the best! I bought mine at a local grocery store, but am giving you a link so you can see them)
  • Kids garden gloves

I tossed everything into our sensory bin before the children arrived. I had my cherished book waiting to be read.

Fun Spring Gardening Sensory Bin for Preschoolers

During our morning meeting I read Too Many Carrots. I love tying books in with our activities, by the way, and am doing even more the longer I teach. It just seems to bring our activities to life, and our preschoolers want to look at the book over and over again.

Once it was free-choice centers time, the lid came off our sensory bin, and the children dove right in.

Fun Spring Gardening Sensory Bin for Preschoolers

Pouring is always the first thing our toddlers and preschoolers want to do with any sensory bin we have. I will be honest – I’ve seen some really cute sensory bins on Pinterest, and I’ve tried some, but if our kiddos can’t scoop and pour, they aren’t near as in love with it.

I’m good with that, since scooping and pouring strengthen those hands and fingers!

Fun Spring Gardening Sensory Bin for Preschoolers

I also pay attention to texture when assembling sensory bins. Our sensory seeking children especially love to feel all the textures that are available.

Fun Spring Gardening Sensory Bin for Preschoolers

Then, they started counting my beloved Target dollar carrots!

Fun Spring Gardening Sensory Bin for Preschoolers

And then, the tongs got involved.

 

Fun Spring Gardening Sensory Bin for Preschoolers

And one little guy impressed me with how many carrots he could fit on one tong.

Fun Spring Gardening Sensory Bin for Preschoolers

So there you have it! A fun spring gardening sensory bin for preschoolers that involved one of my favorite new books and those cute carrots from Target. At the end of the week I will pack it all up and save for next spring! (Do you all do this, too? )

 

Bonus! Printable books and activities!

spring theme activities preschool kindergarten

In the bundle, you’ll find printable books and activities for the following topics and mini-themes:

  • Seeds
  • Plants
  • Flowers
  • Gardens
  • Vegetables

The files will be sent directly to your e-mail, where you can download and save to your computer to print and use anytime you’d like!

To see more of what’s in this amazing pack, check out this link: Spring Theme Pack

 

 

 


Fun Spring Gardening Sensory Bin for Preschoolers

More spring activities to try:

preschool spring flower activities     spring fine motor ideas     spring activities for preschoolers

 

 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




Spring Sensory Bins for Toddlers and Preschoolers

For those of us who have endured a rather colorless winter, we are so excited to explore color in the spring! This is a great time of year to explore using our senses with all the different textures available. If you are looking for some new spring sensory bins for toddlers and preschoolers, you’ve come to the right place. This collection is amazing!

I always keep in mind what preschoolers love most about our sensory bins:

  • Scoop
  • Pour
  • Transfer

I’d love to know what your children’s favorite sensory bins are. What can I add to this collection?

 preschool spring sensory bins
This post contains affiliate links

Spring Sensory Bins for Toddlers and Preschoolers

 

Rubber Duck Sensory Table

Water Activity for Kids

Head on over to this post to see how we put this spring water activity together!

 

Color-Matching Sensory Table

Sensory Activities for Spring

 

  Head on over to this page to see how it’s put together!

Rainbow Sensory Bin

Fun Rainbow Sensory Bin
We love learning about the rainbow in the spring! Head over to this page to see how we put it altogether!

Rainy Weather Sensory Bin

Rainy Weather Sensory Bin for Preschoolers
We love to explore weather in the spring. This rainy weather sensory bin involves lots of water pouring and squeezing, too!

 Bunny Sensory Bin

Sensory Activities for Spring

 Materials used:

 

  • Pastel-colored bunnies
  • Small containers that are the same colors as the bunnies
  • Easter grass

 

Bugs Sensory Table

Sensory Activities for Spring

 Materials used:

 

  • Birdseed

  • Gardening tools
  • Magnifying glasses
  • Bug catchers
  • Plastic bugs

 

Gardening Sensory Table

Sensory Activities for Spring

Materials used:

 

  • Fake flowers

  • Bug catchers
  • Plant containers
  • Dried lentils

 

 Catching Bugs Sensory Table

Sensory Activities for Spring

 

Materials used:

  • Dried black beans

  • Buttons
  • Bugs
  • Tweezers
  • Containers

  • Bug net

  Frog Sensory Table

Frog Activities

Head on over to this page to see how it’s put together!

More spring sensory ideas:

 

preschool spring sensory bins

Play Dough and Chicks (Learn with Play at Home)

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Sensory Bin (Rubberboots and Elf Shoes)

Birds’ Nest Sensory Play (Craftulate)

 

preschool spring sensory bins

 

Rainbow Rice Hunt (Modern Preschool)

Peas and Carrots Sensory Play (B-Inspired Mama)

Fine Motor Easter Egg Hunt Bin (In the Playroom)

 

preschool spring sensory bins

 

Flower Sensory Bin (Buggy and Buddy)

Spring Sensory Bin (Learning and Exploring Through Play)

Insect Sensory Bin (Stir the Wonder)

 

 Bonus! Grab your preschool color books pack!

preschool color book printables

Whether you’re teaching your toddler their colors or starting your preschooler or kindergartner on color words, these printable color books are a great way to practice and, as you read through them, can add a little bit of vocabulary practice into their day as well.

Each of the included color books have both a color and a black and white version so that you can either print and assemble them yourself for your students to look through or, have your students color and assemble their own.

For $6.50 you can download this PDF digital packet now!

You might also like:

Easter Art for ToddlersEaster Arttoddler rainbow activities

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Spring Sensory Bins for Toddlers and Preschoolers

 

 

 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

 

 




Fun Rainbow Color Sorting Sensory Bin

After a grey winter, we cannot wait for our classroom to burst with color. So is it coincidence that one of our last winter themes involves the rainbow? I think not. During this theme I wanted a sensory bin that not only had every color in the rainbow, but also different textures and tools to strengthen the hands and fingers. It didn’t take me long to find the perfect items to a fun rainbow color sorting sensory bin.

Ready for some colorful fun?

Fun Rainbow Sensory Bin

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

Rainbow Color Sorting Sensory Bin

What we used:

  • Color sorting cups
  • Rainbow pom poms
  • Rainbow buttons
  • Rainbow feathers
  • Tongs or tweezers

 

Book to go with this activity:

Planting a Rainbow

 


It all started with these color sorting cups that I found on Amazon. I just knew they’d be perfect for not only this activity, but many future activities as well. (Fellow teachers, I’m sure you understand how we must find toys that have multiple uses, right?)

I love how they nest (each cup is numbered on the bottom).
Fun Rainbow Sensory Bin

I love how they stack.

Fun Rainbow Sensory Bin

The children, of course, love how they can be knocked over.

Fun Rainbow Sensory Bin

I placed everything into the sensory bin, along with some tweezers and tongs, as I am always looking for ways to strengthen those hands and fingers!

Fun Rainbow Sensory Bin

I needed to make sure everything was color coordinating, since this would be a sorting activity.

Fun Rainbow Sensory Bin

The first thing the children did was start sorting them by color. They told me the yellow pom poms were popcorn.

Fun Rainbow Sensory Bin

They would gently shake the bowl to make the pom poms jump up and down.

Fun Rainbow Sensory Bin

And then all the colors of pom poms got involved, some ending outside the sensory bin. No worries, our children are working on picking up what falls on the floor.

Fun Rainbow Sensory Bin

We also have a small broom and dustpan available for taking care of spills.

Fun Rainbow Sensory Bin

How to adapt this sensory activity for toddlers:

Set the buttons and small pom poms aside. Toddlers love the feeling of the jumbo pom poms! Replace the tweezers with small scoops. (We use these for lots of activities, by the way!) They will be more interested in scooping and pouring the pom poms than actually sorting them by color, but that’s okay. It’s all about exposure!

Fun Rainbow Sensory Bin

More ideas to try:

Rainbow Crayons - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds    Letter Beads Discovery Bottles     Preschool Color Game Using Legos

 

Have you seen what’s in our store?

 

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Find out more about The Unofficial Guild to Learning with LEGO®, or for only $14.95 you can buy it now.

Preschool LEGO activities

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

 




Rainy Weather Sensory Bin for Preschoolers

Rain. It’s something we see a lot of in the Pacific Northwest. So when we were preparing our weather theme activities, I just knew I had to include something that involved rain. Truly, it was so simple. Our preschoolers love water in our sensory bin, they  to squeeze and pour. That helped me come up with this rainy weather sensory bin for preschoolers.

Rainy Weather Sensory Bin for Preschoolers

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

 

Rainy Weather Sensory Bin for Preschoolers

Every day during our morning meeting our class helper reports the weather, so our preschoolers are already familiar with it. We love noticing the clouds and wondering if the sun is hiding behind them. We also play a lot in the rain during recess. So to explore weather in the sensory bin was an addition to something we already love! We’ve already had fun with a winter sensory bin, a fall sensory bin, and a summer bin as well.

Before introducing our rainy weather sensory bin, we introduced some weather books:

We then made rain in the sensory bin.

What we used:

  • Plastic cups (I used a large thumbtack to poke holes in the bottoms of them)
  • Cotton balls
  • Water
  • A bin to put everything in

The activity:

At first the preschoolers scooped and poured water, as that is what they love to do.

Rainy Weather Sensory Bin for Preschoolers

And then the water started trickling out of the holes. It not only looked like rain, but it sounded like it, too, as it hit the surface of the sensory bin.

Rainy Weather Sensory Bin for Preschoolers

The preschoolers then explored what happened if they held the cup higher. Did it change anything?

Rainy Weather Sensory Bin for Preschoolers

Then they scooped the cotton balls into their hands and squeezed the water out, pretending rain was being squeezed from the clouds. (This is a great activity for strengthening the hands and fingers!)

 

Rainy Weather Sensory Bin for Preschoolers

Then they pushed the cotton balls into the cups. The more they pushed, the more water dripped through the holes in the bottoms of the cups.

Rainy Weather Sensory Bin for Preschoolers

Rainy Weather Sensory Bin for Preschoolers

What a fun way to learn about rain in a hands-on way!

Here are more rain ideas to try:

Colored Waterfalls

Rainy Day Nursery Rhymes (Let’s Play Music)

Rain Pre-Writing Activity (The Educator’s Spin on It)

Puddle Jumping Alphabet Activity (Mom Inspired Life)

Paper Plate Umbrella (Happy Hooligans)

Raindrop Suncatchers (Pre-K Pages)

Rainy Weather Sensory Bin for Preschoolers

 

Check out even more activities on our weather pin board!

 

 

The Preschool Journey

 

 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




Jingle Bell Magnetic Sensory Bin

What is it about jingle bells that we love so much? No matter what activity we use with them, it is a hit. It’s hard for me to say which activity they’ve loved most, because making and using our jingle bell sticks was a lot of fun. And sorting jingle bells by color was popular, too. But when we put this jingle bell magnetic sensory bin in our classroom, it got immediate attention.

Since this was the week we were also exploring magnets, we added other items to the bin as well. Some were attracted to the magnets, some were not. A bit of science at the sensory table!

 

Jingle Bell Magnetic Sensory Bin

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Jingle Bell Magnetic Sensory Bin

What we used:



Jingle Bell Magnetic Sensory Bin

It’s always fun to see what a magnetic wand picks up. Moving it through the rice allowed some buried treasures to be found.

Jingle Bell Magnetic Sensory Bin

Using a variety of sizes made the bells fun to hold, too. (And then wonder why they didn’t make as much noise when the hands were wrapped around them.)

Jingle Bell Magnetic Sensory Bin

 

Jingle Bell Magnetic Sensory Bin

 

We also added small boxes and containers to place the small items in. Always a favorite with this age group!

Jingle Bell Magnetic Sensory Bin

Some ideas for the miscellaneous items:

  • Puff balls
  • Metal lids from containers
  • Metal rings
  • Juice can lids

You might notice those metal rectangular pieces. When I worked in retail years ago, they changed their signs’ frames and asked if my preschool could use them. They are truly the best magnetic pieces ever! The bottoms of each one have a magnetic strip that was used to keep the signs on the racks. Our toddlers and preschoolers create some amazing buildings with them!

 

 

Jingle Bell Magnetic Sensory Bin

And that’s it! Super easy, right?

 

Make sure to follow our Christmas pin board for hundreds of other fun activities!

Jingle Bell Magnetic Sensory Bin

 

Related posts:

12 Christmas Dramatic Play Activities      16 Christmas Science Activities for Preschoolers     christmas playdough activities


 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




Christmas Sensory Play Activities

I just love this time of year. I always have! We play Christmas music softly in the classroom while we enjoy various activities. There is such a wide variety of Christmas sensory play activities for toddlers and preschoolers! While my co-teacher and I were planning our December curriculum, I was thinking about how we could add some sensory in more areas than just the sensory bin. You caught a glimpse of this when I shared my collection of 5 senses activities. So, I went to my Pinterest page. (Yeah, I’m just a little bit addicted. Okay, a lot.) I thought I would share with you some fun ideas that I think all preschoolers would love this month!

 

A Collection of Christmas Sensory Play Activities

 This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

 

Christmas Sensory Play Activities

 

1. Add silver and gold watercolors instead of food coloring to make festive silver and gold play dough. (Craftulate)

2. Involve your sense of touch and hearing by painting with jingle bells.

3. Experience different textures while creating paper mache Christmas ornaments for the tree. (Buggy and Buddy)

4. Use painters tape to make a sticky sensory tree. (How Wee Learn)

5. Dye rice red and green and add some peppermint extract to make a fun Christmas sensory bin. (Stir the Wonder)

Sensory Play Activities Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds 1

 

6. The hands will love the feeling of  Santa slime! (Growing a Jeweled Rose)

8. The room will smell so yummy when you make a batch of gingerbread play dough.

9. Strengthen fine motor skills with this peppermint writing activity. (Kids Play Box)

10. The room will sound like Christmas after making jingle bell noise makers. (Meri Cherry)

11. Involve the nose by making Christmas sensory cards. (A Little Learning for Two)

 

Christmas Sensory Play Activities

12. If you have bubble wrap available, make some sensory trees. (Mummy Musings and Mayhem)

13. Gold food coloring and glitter make a sensory delight for the hands and eyes. (The Imagination Tree)

14. Learn with Play at Home has a shivery snow sensory bin that truly is cold!

15. Read the book “The Sweet Snow of Christmas” and fill a tray of items that smell like Christmas. (Teach Preschool)

16.  Delight your sense of touch by making a foam geoboard tree. (Fun-a-Day)

 

Christmas Sensory Play Activities

17. Create a Christmas sensory book for younger children. (Baby Centre)

18. Add some science to your sensory play with a melting Christmas tree baking soda activity. (Little Bins for Little Hands)

19. Make some Santa binoculars so you can enjoy the sights of Christmas! (Meri Cherry)

20. Put together jingle boxes for some fun Christmas listening games. (Nurturestore)

21. Explore peppermint scented paint with your fingers. (Growing Hands-On Kids)

 

Christmas Sensory Play Activities

Ready for some more Christmas Play ideas?

Simple Fine Motor Snowflakes

Felt Button Tree Ornaments

Over 700 Christmas Ideas for Little Kids!

Christmas Sensory Play Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds


 

I’m so excited to be selling  these darling kindness elves!


 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




Christmas Gingerbread Sensory Play Activity

Every year we kick off Christmas with a gingerbread theme. We have several different versions of the gingerbread man that we read each day. We make gingerbread cookies and gingerbread ornaments. This year I tried something new that our preschoolers have adored! This Christmas gingerbread sensory play activity involves filling, pouring, and counting. I scented the dyed rice for an extra sensory delight, since we were also exploring our five senses.

If you are looking for a fun sensory bin for your preschool gingerbread unit, you must try this!

Christmas Gingerbread Sensory Play for Preschoolers

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Christmas Gingerbread Sensory Play Activity

I will admit, I was having fun on Amazon when I noticed these paper mache gingerbread men boxes with lids.

Christmas Gingerbread Sensory Play for Preschoolers

I fell in love immediately. Our preschoolers love any containers with lids. But gingerbread men? I had never seen these before. I got all giddy, just like when I found the pumpkin jingle bells. Fellow teachers, please tell me I’m not alone here! And so then I knew we needed little gingerbread men bendables to put inside the gingerbread containers. And we already had a gingerbread house.

My mind was spinning, I tell you! When my purchases arrived over Thanksgiving break, I was in the kitchen dying rice red and green. While the turkey was defrosting and I needed to get the table cleared and set for guests. Just being real here!

But, I did have some restraint. I did NOT go into my classroom during the break. I actually waited until that Monday morning before the preschoolers arrived.

 

Christmas Gingerbread Sensory Play for Preschoolers

I got everything set up before the classroom door opened. We read our first gingerbread book before opening centers time.

Christmas Gingerbread Sensory Play for Preschoolers

When it was centers time, this Christmas gingerbread sensory play activity was an immediate hit. First they wanted to fill the gingerbread house with rice.

Christmas Gingerbread Sensory Play for Preschoolers

And then they started playing with the little gingerbread figures.

Christmas Gingerbread Sensory Play for Preschoolers

They decided to see if they could fit all 12 in one of the gingerbread man boxes. They counted them as they placed them inside.

Christmas Gingerbread Sensory Play for Preschoolers

They couldn’t all fit inside, so then they placed one gingerbread boy figure inside each cardboard gingerbread boy box. 1:1 correspondence!

Christmas Gingerbread Sensory Play for Preschoolers

Then I noticed the preschoolers lining them up along the edge of the sensory bin. More counting and figuring out that they all weren’t completely the same.

Christmas Gingerbread Sensory Play for Preschoolers

 

You can see a video of our preschoolers actually playing with this on Instagram.

We will expand on this activity with some gingerbread man cookie baking tomorrow!

Christmas Gingerbread Sensory Play for Preschoolers

Related posts:

12 Christmas Dramatic Play Activities      16 Christmas Science Activities for Preschoolers     christmas playdough activities


 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




Teaching Preschoolers Shapes Using the Sensory Bin

One of my favorite ways to teach shapes is through hands-on exploration. In fact, teaching preschoolers shapes using the sensory bin is one of my preferences. Our toddlers are exposed to shapes through sensory play, too!

I’ve shared how we’ve taught shape recognition with magnets during small groups.

And we’ve also played shape sorting games during circle time.

We’ve even added shape activities to our art table, such as when we made our own bubble wrap circle stamps.

So of course I had to add shapes to our sensory bin! And this particular activity was so easy to put together and both our toddlers and our preschoolers loved it.

Shape Sensory Bin for Toddlers and Preschoolers

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

 

Teaching Preschoolers Shapes Using the Sensory Bin

 

We started off this shape activity by reading some of our favorite shape books:

 


Shape Sensory Bin for Toddlers and Preschoolers

We then took a walk around our building, going on a shape hunt. This is a favorite and it’s amazing how many shapes the children will find along the way!

Shape Sensory Bin for Toddlers and Preschoolers

You can use anything small for the filler. We happened to have some yellow shredded paper on our sensory bin shelf, so I used that. Rice and dried beans would work, too.

 

I also added some tweezers for extra fine motor fun.

Shape Sensory Bin for Toddlers and Preschoolers

I cut out shapes from craft foam and added some containers and heart-shaped scoops.

Shape Sensory Bin for Toddlers and Preschoolers

The children loved scooping up as much as they could, pouring it all into the containers.

Shape Sensory Bin for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Shape Sensory Bin for Toddlers and Preschoolers

This shape bin also helped us with our beginning-of-the-year assessments. I would ask them to put the green squares into the bucket. Or the yellow triangles. Or whatever shape and color I could find in the bin.

Simple and fun, right? While also strengthening shape and color skills!

Shape Sensory Bin for Toddlers and Preschoolers

 

Bonus! Grab your copy of Basic Shapes for Beginners!

Preschool Shapes Activities

A 79 page hands-on approach to pre-writing strokes for preschoolers. For $8.99 you can download your PDF digital today!

 

More sensory bin ideas:

preschool alphabet sensory play      Ocean Theme Sensory Bin      summer sensory binShape Sensory Bin for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Are you following my toddler and preschool pin board yet? There are thousands of ideas to check out!

 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




Summer Sensory Bin

Ah, summer. During our last couple of weeks of school, we all have summer on our mind. After all, we are having fun with our ocean theme, complete with a beach day. This year we actually had summer weather, too! Bonus! So, when I put together our summer sensory bin, I wanted bright, happy, sparkly fun.

They loved it.

Because it contained shiny stuff. Oh, how our preschoolers love anything shiny!

And it included containers with lids. Remember our St. Patrick’s Day sensory bin? Yep, same love. They filled those containers to the top and snapped on the lid. Then, opened the lid and dumped everything out. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

 

summer sensory bin

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

 

Summer Sensory Bin

What we used:

  • Dyed rice – you can see how we do this here: sunflower sensory bin
  • Small sparkly objects
  • Small containers with lids

Oh, and make sure to read some fun beach books!


summer sensory bin

Yep! Filling those containers to the top!

If you look back to my sensory bin activities, you will see that many include some sort of container. Toddlers (especially) and preschoolers love to fill containers. If it has a lid, that’s a bonus!

summer sensory bin

I also think about textures.

Who can resist taking big scoops and slowly sifting it through your fingers?

summer sensory bin

And dump. But of course! This might be the most favorite part. If you have a child who likes to dump anything, being able to redirect him to an activity like this works wonders.

summer sensory bin

And that’s it! It really is that simple!

 

summer sensory bin

More ideas to try:

Bubble fun for kids! Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds      water activities for preschoolers - teaching 2 and 3 year olds     Gardening Ideas for Kids - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

And look at these beach activities!

Create an ocean themed sensory writing tray as a fun way to learn how to write letters and sounds, children’s own names and even sight words too!

Set up a simple ocean sensory activity that is science too!

Explore and learn about the ocean habitat with play dough.

You can find even more on my beach/ocean pin board.

 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




Ocean Theme Sensory Bin

You know those sensory bins that are so easy to put together, and end up being a favorite? That’s what this ocean theme sensory bin was all about.

Fishing nets. If you have not tried these with your children, go and do. Really! We picked up a few nets at the pet store along with plastic sea animals. What our preschoolers loved most was seeing just how much they could fit in their nets. They’d compare, empty, and fill again.

Ocean Theme Sensory Bin

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

 

Ocean Theme Sensory Bin

 

What we used:

Small fish nets

Small plastic sea animals

Small shells

Aquarium rock

 


Starting at the science table:

 

We introduced shells at our science table the same week we had this ocean themed sensory bin available. There were shells and magnifying glasses, photos, and discovery bottles.

Ocean Theme Sensory Bin

Our sensory bin is always available during centers time. It’s free choice, meaning they can come and go as they desire.

 

Ocean Theme Sensory Bin

We don’t place limits on how many can be at the sensory bin. The preschoolers seem to know when it’s getting too crowded, so they move on to something else. If there are quite a few children around the bin, they learn how to work together.

Ocean Theme Sensory Bin

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, water table activities are always popular with our toddlers and preschoolers. I honestly think we could have a water table in the classroom every day and they’d never tire of it. (This is why we offer a water table outdoors every day!)

Ocean Theme Sensory Bin

When putting together sensory bins, we make sure we have at least 4 of the tools available. (In this case, “tools” being fish nets. Other examples are tweezers, cups, spoons, bug tongs, etc.)

Ocean Theme Sensory Bin

I also like to add different textures whenever I can for that sensory experience. I noticed the preschoolers loved holding the shells and small gravel in their hands, and also scooping it in the nets.

Ocean Theme Sensory Bin

If you don’t have an actual sensory table, you can use any type of container that can allow for water play.

Ocean Theme Sensory Bin

Ocean Theme Sensory Bin

More sensory bin ideas to try:

Frog Pond Sensory Play - Learning About Frogs      Spring Color Sorting Sensory Bin     Sensory Activities for Spring

 

Color Sorting Water Bin      water table activities for preschoolers     toddler sensory table

 

Learn with Play post footer

 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




Color Sorting Water Bin

Our toddlers and preschoolers love the water table. Well, they love everything that involves water! So, it’s only natural that I take what they love and use it to teach concepts. This color sorting water bin is full of water fun, with some learning taking place, too!

And this is a pretty cheap activity to put together! (We teachers like that. I know parents do, too!)

Just like our fine motor water squeezing activity, I added tools to strengthen the hands and fingers. And, just like our rubber duck sensory play tub, there’s lots of pouring going on.

Make sure to scroll down to find other fun water table activities, too!

Color Sorting Water Bin

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Color Sorting Water Bin

 

What you will need:

  • Plastic reusable ice cubes in different colors*
  • Plastic cups in colors that match the cubes*
  • Bug tongs
  • Some sort of container to hold the water

(*I found our ice cubes and cups at our local dollar store. Score!)

Color Sorting Water Bin

Fill the bin with water (we keep ours shallow because it’s in the classroom).

Add materials. (I added a couple of funnels for extra fun. The toy colander just sort of “landed” in there. Funny how that happens!)

Color Sorting Water Bin

Toddlers will use both hands to open and close the bug tongs. It takes great concentration to transfer the cubes to the cups!

Color Sorting Water Bin

Preschoolers learn how to operate them with one hand. This mimics scissors!

Color Sorting Water Bin

Let the color sorting begin!

Color Sorting Water Bin

When all of the colors were sorted, our preschoolers tossed them all into our big funnel.

For those of you at home, try this activity in the bath tub and let me know how it goes!

Color Sorting Water Bin for Toddlers and Preschoolers - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

Color Sorting Water Bin for Toddlers and Preschoolers - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds


 

Color Sorting Water Bin for Toddlers and Preschoolers - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

More water table activities:

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More fun ideas to try:

Toddler Alphabet Ideas      Learning Shapes in Preschool      Fun play date activities for preschoolers

 

 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




10 Rubber Ducks Sensory Play

Rubber ducks in a bubble bath? In the sensory bin? Oh yes, that’s exactly what our toddlers and preschoolers enjoyed with our 10 rubber ducks sensory play.

Sounds perfect for spring, right?

But this water activity also connected to one of our favorite books, 10 Rubber Ducks by Eric Carle. While listening to the story, we see how rubber ducks are made in a factory and loaded onto a freighter. Stormy weather causes 10 of the rubber ducks to fall overboard. The ducks separate and we follow one duck’s journey to find his mother. And so, when we put together our water activity, we made sure we had 10 rubber ducks, pretending they were separating in the sea. “Ducks overboard!”

We aren’t the only ones who’ve had fun with this book. Scroll down to see what others have done!

 

Water Activity for Kids

 

 

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10 Rubber Ducks Sensory Play

 

What you will need for this activity:

Introducing this water activity:

During our morning meeting, we read 10 Little Rubber Ducks. We counted the ducks, we talked about how it would feel to be in the water, lost. Truly, this book connects to many concepts!

 

Water Activity for Kids

 

We then invited the children to enjoy playing with the ducks in our sensory table.

 

Water Activity for Kids

 

As with our lavender salt activity, there are so many soothing ideas for the sensory table. Warm water is always popular with our toddlers and preschoolers. They are drawn to its soft touch, to the gentle sounds of water pouring.

 

Water Activity for Kids

 

 

And if you know me from my other posts, I just love to add materials that get those hands ready for writing! Wringing water from sponges is an excellent way to do just that. You can see in the photos how hard the hands are working.

 

Water Activity for Kids

 

Water Activity for Kids

 

Because we had just read the book, I could hear some of the children reciting the book, moving the water like the ocean.

 

Water Activity for Kids

Water Activity for Kids

 

 

And then, the ducks were safely collected, pulled from the water, and dried.

 

Water Activity for Kids

 

10 Little Ducks Eric Carle

 

 

 

Ways you can expand this activity:

At the art table we had duck-shaped yellow paper, orange-tinted glue, and feathers. One year we placed the ducks in the block area and the children built a boat from blocks.

 

More ideas for “10 Little Rubber Ducks”:


More fun ideas for preschoolers:

Easy Kids Art with Freezer Bags      water table activities for preschoolers      Letter Beads Discovery Bottles

 

10 Little Ducks Eric Carle

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




St. Patrick’s Day Sensory Bin

Have you noticed how young children love to open items, pour other items into them, close them, then open and dump out the contents? Over and over again? This was our thought when we put together our treasure chest St. Patrick’s Day sensory bin.

We’ve found that since pouring and dumping are inevitable with this age group, it’s important to give them a place where that is okay. If they start dumping out the contents of what seems like every bin in the house or classroom, you can have a place to direct them.

A place where pouring and dumping is okay.

I’ve shared similar activities such as our spring pom pom bin. Oh, and our foam ABC bin.

Create activities that allow them to explore.

St Patrick's Day Sensory Bin - Fun with Gold Coins and Treasure Chests - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

 

St. Patrick’s Day Sensory Bin

 

What we used:

 

  • Dried split peas
  • Treasure chests
  • Gold coins
  • Shamrock confetti



St. Patrick's Day Sensory Bin

In all the years that I have taught preschool, our young children have loved coins. They enjoy seeing how many can fit in their hands and into anything else. They love them so much, in fact, that many seem to disappear. Some of the children will confess and pull a handful out of their pockets, some will not and the coins go home.

 

St. Patrick's Day Sensory Bin

There is something about those little treasure boxes with the hinged closure. We chose small boxes that can fit nicely in one hand so that the other hand can fill them.

St. Patrick's Day Sensory Bin

I cannot tell you how many times a preschooler proudly called me over to the sensory bin.

“See how many coins I have?”

St. Patrick's Day Sensory Bin

Oh, I almost forgot to tell you about the gems we also added. These were leftover from another activity. The preschoolers were drawn to how shiny they were. They were a nice touch with the gold coins.

St. Patrick's Day Sensory Bin

So there you have it. A St. Patrick’s sensory bin that encourages pouring and dumping.

And is simply fun.

If you are looking for more St. Patrick’s Day ideas, head on over to my pin board!

St. Patrick's Day Sensory Bin

St Patrick's Day Sensory Bin - Fun with Gold Coins and Treasure Chests - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

 

Wait, there’s more! Check out these fun ideas for young children:

STEM Playdough Building Challenge for Preschooolers - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds       Looking for a fun way to strengthen toddler fine motor skills? Here's a fun water activity using basters!      17 Action Songs - Gets Toddlers and Preschoolers Moving! Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

 

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Preschool Valentines Sensory Bin with Frozen Hearts

I love that even after teaching for so many years, I can continue to find ideas we’ve never tried before! I put together a preschool valentines sensory bin with frozen hearts that is easy peasy simple! I froze water in various heart-shaped containers, added some pony beads and red coloring in some, and tossed it all into a sensory bin.

This year we seem to be on a roll with Valentines ice activities. I’ve recently shared how we painted on heart-shaped ice, sprinkling powder paint on top. We also had fun painting with frozen hearts! Now we are adding this frozen hearts sensory bin to the collection.

Scroll down to see other fun Valentines activities!

Preschool Valentines Sensory Bin with Frozen Hearts

 

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

 

Preschool Valentines Sensory Bin with Frozen Hearts

Here’s what we used:


Preparing the activity:

Pour water in the trays and freeze. We added red liquid watercolor to our small hearts and the pony beads to the large hearts. (This is optional – if you have younger children who still put things in their mouths, omit the beads.)

 

Valentines Sensory Bin with Frozen Hearts

Right before the preschoolers arrived, we placed the pans of frozen hearts into our sensory tub.  By the time they were ready to play with it, the ice had melted somewhat, creating a nice mixture of ice and water.

They used the tips of their thumbs and fingers to pry the heart beads from the ice, and also the small frozen hearts from their trays.

Valentines Sensory Bin with Frozen Hearts

It took great concentration to pop the hearts out!

Valentines Sensory Bin with Frozen Hearts

Once the ice popped out of the larger heart tray, the preschoolers filled it with the small hearts. Then, they put them back into the small ice cube tray. (The teacher in me loved the 1:1 correspondence going on, of course!)

Valentines Sensory Bin with Frozen Hearts

Like I said, easy peasy fun! And clean up is a breeze because everything gets rinsed in the sink.

 

Here are other fun Valentines activities to try:

Foil Valentines Hearts      Valentines Art      Easy Kids Valentines Craft

 

And make sure to pop over to our Valentine’s Day pin board!

 

Preschool Valentines Sensory Bin with Frozen Hearts

 


 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




Toddler Fine Motor Water Activity

Long before children can start writing, they need to first develop their pre-writing skills. This means strengthening those muscles that will help them have the ability to hold a writing tool. One of my favorites is this toddler fine motor water activity. We introduce basters in our toddler class because the bulb fits nicely in their hands. We demonstrate how to squeeze and release the bulb, moving the water in and out of the baster. This takes great concentration but is such a great (and fun!) way to build those fine motor skills.

Looking for a fun way to strengthen toddler fine motor skills? Here's a fun water activity using basters!

 

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

 

Toddler Fine Motor Water Activity

Looking for a fun way to strengthen toddler fine motor skills? Here's a fun water activity using basters!

 

What we used:

Mini basters (we also used the small squeeze toy from this fine motor set)

Pouring utensils

Water in some sort of bin (we tinted our water with some blue watercolors so it was more visible)

 


Introducing this activity:

 

Let them explore the water with the pouring utensils.

 

Fine Motor Activity Using Basters

 

Fine Motor Activity Using Basters

After modeling how to squeeze the bulb to suck in the water and then release the water, let them give it a try.

Fine Motor Activity Using Basters

Once they get the hang of it, they want to do it over and over again. Another plus to this activity is that it is very soothing, like all of our water table activities. If you are a parent with a toddler, you can easily set this activity up in the bathtub.

Fine Motor Activity Using Basters

 

Fine Motor Activity Using Basters

While these types of activities are building strength for future writing, toddlers are simply having fun exploring how water moves using basters.

Looking for a fun way to strengthen toddler fine motor skills? Here's a fun water activity using basters!

 

You will find even more ideas on my fine motor pinboard!

Looking for a fun way to strengthen toddler fine motor skills? Here's a fun water activity using basters!

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More fun fine motor activities:

Preschool Fine Motor Activity Transferring Water     fine motor art in preschool    17 Squeezing Activities for Strengthening Hands

 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds