Bean Bin

Seasonal Sensory Bean Bin

If you walk into most preschool classrooms and/or occupational therapy rooms, chances are you will find something called a sensory bin.  This is something that most children enjoy and if your child has sensory issues, is something that can be used to help get them more comfortable with different textures.  I like to use this as an obstacle course station combining a sensory based activity (digging with hands into the beans) with thematic vocabulary, literacy or math skills to make it more purposeful.  I find that with my son, he is more willing to engage in something if there is a purpose to it.

There are many different variations of the sensory bin.  The one I am going to show you is very easy to make and when I put it together it just looked like something that belonged in an autumn themed obstacle course!  Are you ready to dig in?

Step 1: Begin with an empty bin, preferably with a lid so it can be stored for future uses without the risk of spilling.

Step 2: Purchase a variety of dried beans. I like to use lots of different kinds to make it more colorful.

Step 3: Fill the bin about 1/2 full with the dried beans. Mix them up and it's ready to go!

Step 4: I like to hide items that go with the theme to help build vocabulary as well as math skills of counting and sorting.

Some colorful, plastic pieces in the shapes of acorns and leaves to find in the bean bin. Once found, they can be counted or sorted. With these particular pieces, I would write out "leaf" and "acorn" so they could sort them while also getting seeing what the word looks like.

Now you see them...

Now you don't! Items are pushed down into the beans so it's all set for your child to dig in there and find the hidden treasures.

I’ve got all sorts of ideas for things to hide in sensory bins so stay tuned to see how easy it is to slip in literacy and math while your child is engaged in a sensory based activity.

4 comments to Bean Bin

  • What a great idea… and to use a container w/lid is so smart. Where did you find the little leaf and acorn shapes?

  • Obstacle Course Mom

    Thanks! I got the pieces from Michaels Arts and Crafts. I believe their original purpose was as vase fillers, kind of like stones, but I like to use them for things like the sensory bin as well as for math manipulatives.

  • Tiffany

    Your ideas are awesome! My son is a late talker and has PDD NOS and has some of the same challenges as your son. He is 5 and I have been working with him at home since he was 2. For the last year, we have been working on school readiness/academics. Your website has given me lots of great ideas! I have your site bookmarked and plan to check back often! Thanks so much!!

  • [...] in My Obstacle Courses (probably as much as Andrew loves having them!) and showed how to make a Sensory Bean Bin.  This Snowy Sensory Bin is perfect for a winter themed Obstacle Course and you can see it in [...]

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