Inside: Put together a rice apple sensory bin that strengthens fine motor skills. Lots of scooping and pouring using tongs and cups!
Fall is apple season and one of our favorite toddler and preschool themes!
Make sure to also check out: Amazing Collection of Apple Theme Activities
The sensory bin is a staple in our classroom and one of our centers during free-choice centers time.
Sensory bins involve:
- Sensory Exploration (Five Senses)
- Fine Motor Strengthening (Scooping, Pouring, Grasping)
- Cognitive Development (Sorting, Categorizing)
- Language Development (Discussion With Peers During Play)
Another important benefit of sensory bins is that they encourage cooperative play. When there is more than one child at the sensory table, they are learning how to communicate and share space and materials.
If you’ve been following Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds for awhile, you know how we prefer to teach through hands-on activities.
When I observe our toddlers and preschoolers at our sensory bin, there is so much learning that is taking place through play.
I’ve created many sensory bins during my 22 years of teaching toddlers and preschoolers, such as:
Within each sensory bin I make sure there is a filler that can be scooped and poured, along with tools and other pieces.
Once all the materials are ready, they get tossed into the bin and it’s ready for play!
Rice Apple Sensory Bin for Fine Motor Fun
What we used:
- Dyed Rice (I share how I dye rice in this post.)
- Padded Apples
- Red Pom Poms
- Green Pom Poms
- Sorting Bowls (We Used Red and Green)
You don’t need exactly what we used. Check what your supplies and see what you already own. You could substitute the padded apples with some small pretend apples that might be in your dramatic play area.
If you don’t have any apples, stick with the green and red pom poms and pretend they are apples. You could even toss in some yellow pom poms and a yellow sorting bowl so there are three colors!
My point is that this is flexible – use what you have!
Introducing This Rice Apple Sensory Bin
Before inviting the children to play with this bin, read some apple books and sing some apple songs!
You can find some apple songs in our October playlist.
Way Up High In The Apple Tree is a favorite in that playlist.
We use my apple tree props from our Song & Rhymes Props Pack.
Then, I read some favorite apple books.
Then it was time to explore the apple sensory bin!
Invitation to Play
By providing scoops and tongs, toddlers and preschoolers are encouraged to pick up the pom poms and apples. This is where the fine motor strengthening happens.
Toddlers will start by using their fingers, which adds more sensory to the activity.
Preschoolers can use the tongs, starting with two hands (one on each handle) and moving to using one hand (similar to holding scissors).
Scooping and Pouring
Adding scoops and measuring cups is a simple way of inviting the children to scoop and pour.
This is especially loved by toddlers, although preschoolers enjoy it, too!
As mentioned earlier, the sensory bin is perfect for building cognitive skills.
By providing pom poms with matching sorting bowls, the children are encouraged to sort the pom poms, transporting them to the matching bowls.
This sensory bin is a perfect example of learning through play. As toddlers and preschoolers explore the textures, transport the pieces, and sort by color, they are building important skills!
Make sure to keep this sensory bin for at least a few days so the children can revisit.
We usually keep our sensory bins for two weeks so there is plenty of time to explore!