Top 7 Fall Sensory Bins Toddlers and Preschoolers Love

Inside: Top 7 Fall Sensory Bins Toddlers and Preschoolers Love -These are our favorites with our 2 and 3 year olds!

After teaching for as long as I have (almost 2 decades as I write this), I’ve done a lot of observing toddlers and preschoolers at the sensory bin. No matter how we set that bin up, no matter how many hours we’ve thought of ways to add on to it, no matter all the little details we are so excited to add, there is one must.

There must be tools and materials that allow scooping and pouring.

That is what they love most about the sensory bin.

And so, I’m going to share our top 7 fall sensory bins toddlers and preschoolers love.

That all involve scooping and pouring.

That work perfectly with your fall theme.

 

Top 7 Fall Sensory Bins Toddlers and Preschoolers Love

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

Top 7 Fall Sensory Bins Toddlers and Preschoolers Love

Our favorites, in no particular order.

1. Quick and Easy Fall Sensory Bin

Here's a Quick Way to Put Together a Fall Sensory Bin

Once you add the dyed rice, fill the bin with whatever fall materials you have!

LINK: Here’s a Quick Way to Put Together a Fall Sensory Bin

2. Apple Literacy Sensory Bin

Easy Apple Sensory Bin for Fall

Add some alphabet pebbles to your apple sensory bin for some letter recognition.

LINK: Easy Apple Sensory Bin for Fall

 

3. Fun Fall Farm Sensory Bin

Here's an Easy Farm Sensory Bin for Preschoolers

Have fun scooping and pouring corn kernels while also playing with the farm animals.

LINK: Fun Fall Farm Sensory Bin

4. Fall Pom Poms and Leaves Sensory Bin

Fine Motor Sensory Bin for Fall

Sort fall colored pom poms and scoop them into the matching-colored containers!

LINK: Fun Fall Sensory Bin for Preschoolers

 

5. Apple Cinnamon Sensory Bin

This fragrant sensory bin can be adapted for toddlers and preschoolers!

LINK: Fall Apple Sensory Bin for Toddlers and Preschoolers

 

6. Sunflower Sensory Bin

In early fall, while sunflowers are being harvested, invite your toddlers and preschoolers to have fun with this sensory bin.

LINK: Preschool Sensory Bin with Sunflowers

 

7. Halloween Sensory Play

Pumpkins and orange tea lights are part of this fun Halloween sensory bin.

LINK: Halloween Sensory Play for Preschoolers

 

Top 7 Fall Sensory Bins Toddlers and Preschoolers Love

 

I am proud to be a co-author of this awesome book, Learn with Play!

A giant collection of hands-on activities!

The perfect book to have on hand for inspiring you on holidays, weekends, or anytime the kids just need something to do!

More information: Learn with Play

 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




Here’s an Easy Farm Sensory Bin for Preschoolers

Inside: Here’s an easy farm sensory bin for preschoolers that involves lots of scooping and pouring – a perfect fall fine motor activity!

Whatever they find, they want to dump.

This is what young children do, but I admit it can be a challenge. Just after I set something up, it gets knocked down, carried away, dumped on the floor.

And while it can be frustrating, I know better. Having taught this age group for so long, after reading so many different articles about why they insist on dumping, I know they are not doing this to make life harder on adults.

And so, my friends, I have discovered how to redirect these busy little humans to a place where it is okay to dump. To pour. To spill.

What I’m going to share with you today is part of our farm theme, but it can be used with any theme, with many different types of materials.

Click here to pin!

Here's an Easy Farm Sensory Bin for Preschoolers

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

Here’s an Easy Farm Sensory Bin for Preschoolers

Notice I have included the word easy. That’s because I like easy. I need easy. And I suspect I’m not alone.

And I’ve found over the years that toddlers and preschoolers like simple sensory bin ideas. While they might enjoy the different props we put into the sensory bin, what they really love is the filler – the main ingredient – and what we’ve provided for them to scoop and pour those ingredients.

They want to scoop. They want to pour.

Here's an Easy Farm Sensory Bin for Preschoolers

What you will need for this easy farm sensory bin:

  • Corn kernels
  • Farm animals
  • Any other small farm toys you might have (although not necessary)
  • Scoops
  • Cups

Here's an Easy Farm Sensory Bin for Preschoolers

How to set up this farm sensory bin:

  • Pour the corn kernels into the bin.
  • Add farm animals and other materials.

I know – that sounds a bit too easy, right? Exactly.

Here's an Easy Farm Sensory Bin for Preschoolers

Before introducing your preschoolers to this farm sensory bin, get them acquainted with farm animals. We love to sing Old MacDonald Had a Farm while also reading some fun farm books.


 

Here's an Easy Farm Sensory Bin for Preschoolers

You also might want to have some farm painting going on at the art table.

Oh, and you simply must let your preschoolers experience painting muddy pigs. In plastic bags! (Seriously, this was SO much fun!)

Here's an Easy Farm Sensory Bin for Preschoolers

Once you invite your preschoolers to explore this farm sensory bin, stand back and observe. And if they start dumping stuff in other areas of the classroom, redirect them to this bin.

“The puzzle pieces need to stay on the table, but you are welcome to pour corn kernels in the sensory bin.”

You’ve offered them a way to continue dumping, in an area that is more contained.

Here's an Easy Farm Sensory Bin for Preschoolers

How do you handle dumping materials in your preschool classroom? Make sure to join our Facebook community where lots of ideas are shared!

 

Planning a farm theme? We’ve done the work for you!

Preschool Farm Lesson Plans

Get ready for fun and learning with preschool unit lesson plans for the farm!

24 interactive thematic lesson plans for young children that cover:

  • Literacy
  • Math
  • Science
  • Fine Motor
  • Sensory
  • Gross Motor
  • Art
  • Social Studies
  • Music
  • Circle Time
  • Social/Emotional

 

 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




Here’s a Quick Way to Put Together a Fall Sensory Bin

Inside: Here’s a quick way to put together a fall sensory bin so that you aren’t running around at the last minute trying to find all the materials. You will feel much more organized!

Sometimes we have this great idea for the classroom, but end up exhausting ourselves as we rush around trying to gather materials.

You have this idea in your head. You might have thought about it while drinking coffee from your to-go cup as you headed to work. You might have thought about it days before, but forgot to gather everything together beforehand. Or maybe the idea you had in your head simply wasn’t coming together as you had planned.

When this happens, you end up feeling defeated before you’ve even opened your classroom door to greet your toddlers and preschoolers.

After having this happen to me countless times, I decided I needed a plan. And I was going to start this plan with a fall sensory bin that I just knew our children would love.

And it started with dyed rice.

Here's a Quick Way to Put Together a Fall Sensory Bin

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

 

Here’s a Quick Way to Put Together a Fall Sensory Bin

Toddlers and preschoolers love to scoop and pour, so I first think about what the base of our sensory bin will be. I love using rice because we can easily color it to match the theme or season, and we can save it for another use. Since our preschool consists of 4 different classrooms, we share what we use. We have a dedicated shelf in our storage room that contains gallon-size Zip-Lock bags that are filled with different colors of rice. It really makes it easy to plan ahead when the rice is already dyed and ready to go.

But How to Dye Rice?

It’s easy!

  • Grab a gallon sized plastic baggie that can be sealed.
  • Pour about a cup of rice inside the bag.
  • Add about a teaspoon of white vinegar.
  • Add as much coloring as desired. (I love using Wilton icing color!)
  • Seal the bag and shake until the rice is coated well.
  • Open the bag and dump the rice onto a paper towel, spreading it out so it’s a very thin layer.
  • Allow to dry thoroughly.

If you want to have different colors of rice, do the above procedure for each color and then, when dry, mix the colors.

Once you have your main ingredient ready to go, it’s easy to gather whatever other items you want to add.

For this fall sensory bin, I added:

Here's a Quick Way to Put Together a Fall Sensory Bin

When I arrived that morning, all I had to do was dump the dyed rice into the sensory bin and add the other materials.

No racing around at the last minute.

I had time to put a few other activities together before greeting the children.

That’s exactly how I like my mornings to start!

How This Fall Sensory Bin is Used

Toddlers will really be into the scooping and pouring. This is always one of their favorite things to do, and it’s a great way to develop those fine motor muscles.

Related: Fine Motor Squeezing Activities

Here's a Quick Way to Put Together a Fall Sensory Bin

At first they will want to use their hands. The feeling of the rice slipping between their fingers is a great sensory experience.

 

You can see that in this video I took in the classroom:

 

Here's a Quick Way to Put Together a Fall Sensory Bin

We talked about how the rice falling into the container sounded like rain.

Here's a Quick Way to Put Together a Fall Sensory Bin

As their hands and fingers strengthen, they will start wanting to use the tools that are provided. In this case, it was small scoops. We also provided tweezers for our preschoolers.

We talked about how the rice falling into the container sounded like rain.

Preschoolers will start noticing the other materials in the bin.

Here's a Quick Way to Put Together a Fall Sensory Bin

I wanted to add some color sorting, so I found some colored plastic containers at the dollar store that were the same color as the felt apples.

Here's a Quick Way to Put Together a Fall Sensory Bin

How to Alter this Activity for Other Themes and Seasons

Once we pack up this sensory bin, the rice can be used for other themes and seasons. For example, this red and green rice can be used again at Christmas along with some big jingle bells and tongs. Brown rice can be used in a gardening sensory bin and also a forest sensory bin. Yellow rice can be used in a sunflower sensory bin as well as a summer weather sensory bin. See what I’m getting at? Make it easy on yourself!

Related: 15 Quiet Time Activities

Here's a Quick Way to Put Together a Fall Sensory Bin

Discover the magic of glorious, calm, and peaceful days with kids!

quiet bins for preschoolers

A Year of Educational Quiet Bins: TELL ME MORE ABOUT THEM!

 

Here's a Quick Way to Put Together a Fall Sensory Bin

 

 


Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

 




Easy Apple Sensory Bin for Fall

Inside: Add some fine motor strengthening with this easy apple sensory bin for fall!

Our first fall theme is apples. We make applesauce, we sort and count apples, and, of course, we fill our sensory bins with apples, too.

Well, not real apples. We happened to have some we borrowed from an apple attribute game. Since part of the goal for this apple sensory bin is to strengthen those hands, we added our favorite tongs.

And because I love activities with multi-skills working, we threw in some alphabet pebbles for some early literacy.

Sounds fun, right? Our preschoolers would agree!

Easy Apple Sensory Bin for Fall

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

Easy Apple Sensory Bin for Fall

First, you will need a filler. We used uncooked rice that was dyed brown. If you’d like to try this but have never dyed  your own rice before, you can see how we do so in our sunflower sensory bin post.

Easy Apple Sensory Bin for Fall

Then, we added the apples. Any type pretend apples will work.

We also tossed in the alphabet pebbles for some literacy fun.

Easy Apple Sensory Bin for Fall

Add tweezers for some additional fine motor practice.

Easy Apple Sensory Bin for Fall

At first the children used both hands to squeeze the tweezers open and closed.

Easy Apple Sensory Bin for Fall

Once I modeled how to use them a few times, most of the children were able to switch from using the entire hand (or both hands) to just using the fingers and thumbs. They used the tweezers to pick up the small grains of rice and the alphabet pebbles.

They used their hands to pick up and transfer the apples, putting them inside various containers.

Easy Apple Sensory Bin for Fall

For younger children who cannot yet master the tweezers, small shovels and/or scoops can be used.

Watch this easy apple sensory bin in action on You Tube:

Easy Apple Sensory Bin for Fall

 

More fall activities:

Apple Graph Activity with Free Printable Cards

Preschool Counting Activity with Apples

Apple Stand Dramatic Play

 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

 




20 Learning Activities for Toddlers

Inside: 20 learning activities for toddlers that are hands-on and easy to set up!

You are a teacher who is putting together a curriculum for your toddler classroom. Or you are a parent that wants to add some learning to your toddler’s day.

But how?

It’s really much easier than you probably think. You don’t need flashcards. You don’t need fancy materials.

I’ve put together a collection of learning activities that your toddlers will love! And they are learning at the same time!

Activities that are age-appropriate and engage as many senses as possible. These learning activities involve concepts such as shapes, colors, numbers and letters in a fun, playful way. They can be done at home or in a classroom environment, with one child or a group of children.

Easy hands-on fun.

20 Learning Activities for Toddlers

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

 

20 Learning Activities for Toddlers

20 Learning Activities for Toddlers

 

More fun for toddlers:

Toddler Play Activities

Play: Playful Activity Plans for Your Busy Toddler

These are 35 hand-chosen activities that you can actually do with your toddler. You’ll be guided on how to find that extra 15 minutes (that you don’t have) to make time for the most important part of your life: your family.

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Fun Summer Sensory Bin for Preschoolers

Inside: Fun Summer Sensory Bin for Preschoolers

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 fun 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.

 

Fun Summer Sensory Bin for Preschoolers

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




Fun Color Sorting Fish Sensory Bin

Toddlers and preschoolers love to use real aquarium fish nets! I shared our ocean theme sensory bin where these nets were a huge hit with the small aquarium rock and pretend sea creatures. But I wanted something that would be easier for toddlers and young preschoolers without any choking hazards. Hello fun color sorting fish sensory bin!

It’s all about scooping and pouring with this age group. For this reason, I try to find fun ways to incorporate these in our sensory bins. Water is always a favorite, but sand and other materials work well, too. Also, if we have a child who likes to dump toys, we can redirect him to this type of sensory bin.

 

Fun Color Sorting Fish Sensory Bin

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

 

Fun Color Sorting Fish Sensory Bin

Good ol’ Amazon did it again! I was searching for chunky plastic fish that toddlers could hold in their hands, scoop and pour. When I found what I was looking for, I realized I could pull together a color-sorting activity in our sensory bin.

Ta da!

I grabbed our color sorting bowls and aquarium fish nets, filled our sensory bin with water, and it was ready. That easy!

 

Fun Color Sorting Fish Sensory Bin

The first thing the children did was fill the nets with as many fish as they could. They weren’t even thinking about the colors.

Fun Color Sorting Fish Sensory Bin

They then dumped the fish into the bowls. Again, not thinking about sorting them by color.

Fun Color Sorting Fish Sensory Bin

 

They were simply having fun building their fine motor skills while filling and dumping, over and over again.

Fun Color Sorting Fish Sensory Bin

But then they started paying attention to the colors of the fish and the colors of the bowls, as shown in this video:

Super simple and fun, right?

For those of you at home, try this in the bathtub!


Fun Color Sorting Fish Sensory Bin

More fun water table ideas:

Rainy Weather Sensory Bin for Preschoolers   Color Sorting Water Bin     10 Little Ducks Eric Carle

 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




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 used some letter stones that worked well with this construction theme.

 

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!  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?

 

The Unofficial Guide to Learning with LEGO®

The Unofficial Guide to Learning with Lego® brings you over 100 awesome Lego®-based ideas that are perfect for educating in the classroom and at home. The book starts with the basics like learning colors and counting, all the way up to engineering and other STEM topics. (You might recall how we used our Duplo bricks in a STEM construction activity last year.)

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

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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




21 Fun Christmas Sensory Play Activities

Inside: 21 fun Christmas sensory play activities that toddlers and preschoolers will love!

I just love this time of year. I always have! 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.

 

21 Fun 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




Easy Gingerbread Sensory Bin for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Inside: You will love this easy gingerbread sensory bin for toddlers and preschoolers! Super easy to put together, lots of fun to play with. Win, win!

I was minding my own business, sipping hot coffee while wasting time on Amazon, when I saw them.

Boxes with lids, shaped like gingerbread people.

Without hesitation, I put them in my cart and clicked ORDER.

My mind starting spinning with the possibilities. What about painting them and using them as gift boxes? Or, using them as a 1:1 correspondence activity? They’d be a great color sorting activity if I painted each one a different color. They’d be loved in the block corner, too!

After allowing my mind to come up with lots of possibilities, I knew just how I wanted to use them.

In the sensory bin!

Christmas Gingerbread Sensory Play for Preschoolers

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

 

Easy Gingerbread Sensory Bin for Toddlers and Preschoolers

So, here are the little darlings that caught my eye on Amazon.

Christmas Gingerbread Sensory Play for Preschoolers

Gingerbread boy shaped paper mache boxes. 

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.

Playing with our gingerbread sensory bin. . . #childhoodunplugged #earlychildhood #earlylearning #ece #preschool #preschoolteacher #blogcreate #kbn #iteachtoo #instakids #instateacher

A post shared by Teacher Sheryl Cooper (@teaching2and3yearolds) on

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


Gingerbread Theme Activities

We love starting the Christmas season with a gingerbread theme! There are so many fun activities out there, just perfect for toddlers and preschoolers.

See them all here: Gingerbread Theme 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

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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