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Stones and Sand Sensory Bin Activity


Bring the beach indoors at home or school and invite your early learners to play and learn with stones while digging around in moon sand. Your students will get hands-on and strengthen essential early math skills of sorting, grouping, and making patterns with this Stone and Sand Sensory Bin Activity. It’s super fun and sure to be a hit with your kids!

*Pair with our Play and Learn with Manipulatives Bundle for Pre-K & Kindergarten!

Grab some stones and this easy recipe for moon sand for a fun Stones and Sand Sensory Bin Activity! Work on patterning, sorting, and more!

Stones and Sand Sensory Bin Activity

Silky smooth moon sand is an excellent base for a sensory bin. It’s quick and easy to make and can be used again and again in a variety of different activities. You can make your own moon sand sensory bin easily!

Supplies Needed:

  • 4 cups of white flour
  • 4 cups of brown flour
  • 1 cup of baby oil
  • Deep tub or tray

Simply mix all of the ingredients together in the container you are using for this activity. Now it’s time to grab an assortment of stones!

For this sand sensory bin, we collected a selection of different-sized stones on a recent trip to the beach to add to our moon sand. If you don’t live near the beach, then pop over and pick some up from your local garden center.

Add some moon sand to a deep tub with an assortment of stones for a fun sand sensory bin activity.

Play and Learn with Stones and Sand

I sat down with my 4-year-old daughter to do this activity. It would also work well as a small group activity in a classroom setting.

Below are some of our favorite ways to play!

Sorting the Stones

We began by sorting the stones into sets of big and small stones. My daughter was eager to get started and happily divided the stones into two groups.

We then moved on to creating a basic pattern with the stones. 1 big, 1 small, 1 big, etc…

Being able to recognize, make, and form patterns is an important math skill to develop from an early age.

We created patterns with the stones in the sand using big and small stones.

Grouping the Stones

We then decided to introduce some color to the activity to reinforce and extend what we had learned so far.

We used chalk pastels to color the big stones blue and the small stones red.

Next, we used chalk pastels to add some color to the stones.

Once all the stones had been colored in, I let my daughter explore the stones in her own time and observed what she did.

The first thing she did was to group them into a set of blue stones and a set of red stones.

We sorted the stones in the sand sensory bin by color and size.

RELATED RESOURCE: Pattern Centers and Activities for Pre-K & Kindergarten

Making Patterns

I then encouraged her to make patterns with the colored stones, as we had done earlier. This time I started the pattern off and then invited her to continue it.

Being able to predict what happens next in a pattern is not just a useful math skill, but it is also an essential social skill. For example, it is important when learning about routines at home and school that kids can predict what happens next, and can spot any change in a pattern and react accordingly.

We also created color patterns with the blue and red stones in the sensory bin.

She ended the activity with a fun game of burying and uncovering the stones in the moon sand.

Moon sand is such a fun sensory bin, and adding even the simplest of items to your play can make all the difference and create fabulous learning activities for your children!

When we were done we had fun burying and hiding the stones in the sand sensory bin.

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