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How to Use Sensory Bins in Pre-K & Kindergarten


My students LOVE sensory bins! Young children explore the world around them through their senses, so sensory bins are the perfect addition to the classroom. Not only do they increase engagement, they are shown to increase learning as well. Incorporating sensory bins in Pre-K and Kindergarten can be simple and so fun!

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Learn how to use sensory bins in the classroom to encourage fine motor practice and sensory stimulation with your Pre-K and Kindergarten students!

Sensory Bins in Pre-K & Kindergarten

We all know that a young child explores with their senses. They want to touch EVERYTHING! They want to know what it feels like, looks like, sounds like, smells like, and tastes like – literally everything goes in their mouth.

Because we know this is how they interpret the world around them, we must incorporate this into their learning environment. This sensory stimulation makes student learning more meaningful and authentic.

Plus, sensory activities are great for building fine motor skills! Sifting through rice or beans to grab a magnetic letter or number sounds easy to us, but it is actually quite challenging for little fingers.

Two birds, one stone!

Sifting through a sensory bin for small objects is great for building fine motor skills.

Sensory Bins Made Simple

I know sensory bins might seem like a lot of work, but once you get some basic supplies, you can easily add a sensory element to a variety of activities!

Turning a center activity into a sensory experience can be simple! Take math for example. Are you working on number identification? Fill a bin with beans or rice, and toss in some magnetic numbers. Poof, you have a math sensory bin.

Are you doing a literacy center where your students are matching uppercase letter cards to cards with the matching lowercase letters? Fill a bin with some beads or beans and stick the letter cards into the bin. Then have students pull a card out of the sensory bin and match it to the lowercase letter on their table.

See? You can incorporate sensory materials to spice up any activity.

Fill a bin with some beads or beans, add in some letter cards, and you have a simple sensory bin literacy center.

What materials do I need for sensory bins?

The great thing about sensory bins is you can fill them with inexpensive materials you probably already have on hand! Beads, beans, rice, pipe cleaners, water, sequins, gems, pasta, etc. The options are limitless!

You will obviously need a bin or tub. I like using clear bins so students can see in the container, but you can use whatever you have.

If you don’t have any materials on hand, you can easily get supplies at your local dollar store. Here is a list of some of the items I find essential when creating sensory bins for my students:

Check out the free printable guide for ideas for sensory bin fillers.

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Are you ready to get your FREE printable copy of the Sensory Bin Materials guide? Grab this quick PDF guide by clicking the large, yellow button at the very bottom of this post!

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