My toddler loves sensory play, and honestly I love setting up sensory play! It is so versatile and easy to throw together, but is always so well received and well played with.
Something I started doing recently is re-using our sensory bin in a variety of different ways through the week. Sometimes I get two different activities out of it, sometimes I get 4-5.
This makes my life easier because I basically have an activity for the whole week with very minimal effort or prep. I’m working from home currently, so having a quick activity ready to go that I know will hold my toddlers attention is key to me having some productive time to focus!
I recently put together an Autumn Themed sensory table, and then re-used it in 4 other ways throughout our week. It was perfect for a busy week and each activity was a hit, with very little effort on my part.
We did an Autumn theme, but the same activities and ideas could really be done with almost any sensory bin.
THE ORIGINAL SENSORY TABLE
This was the original set up! Chickpeas and baby beans as our base, some artificial leaves, little acorns, and confetti leaves. I added in some scooping and pouring materials, and some mini pumpkins.
I also added in our cute little wooden acorns and pine cones which are actually from our Peaceable Kingdom game “Acorn Soup”.
CREATE AN AUTUMN TREE
We put the lid back on one side of our Ikea Flisat table and drew a little tree using dry erase markers m. I added some cut up paper rolls so they could be filled with the sensory base and mimic leaves. There was also lots of other loose parts to add to the tree! The dry erase comes right off with a baby wipe!
AUTUMN LETTER HUNT ACTIVITY
Next up, we added some wooden letters to the mix! I also added a sheet with Autumn inspired words next to our sensory bin. The goal was to find the letters and match them with the sheet. Our wooden letters were a dollar store find, but any letters would work. Adding an element of learning to your sensory bin adds a new challenge and is a great way to extend the play!
Add in some bowls, pots, and spoons and you have another fun activity! Autumn Soup! You could even take this one step further by creating photo recipe cards with specific items from the sensory bin. This adds a level of matching and following instructions to the activity.
AUTUMN THEMED SMALL WORLD
Lastly, add in some animals and any other small world items you may have (rocks, faux grass,faux plants) to create a little woodland forest. Small worlds are a great way to encourage imaginative play. Set ups like this one are so open ended and allow your toddler to explore and play as they wish. Children learn so much through pretend play!
So, there you have it! One sensory bin gave us 5 days of activities! While I used our Autumn bin as an example, I try to use all of our sensory bins in multiple ways when possible! You can always add in materials to extend the play and life of a sensory bin set up!