This is incredibly late, I know. This is a sensory bin from September 2016. Rather than dwell on dates, lets get into how I made these bins, how we played and learned with them, and ways you can replicate and adapt these bins for your little beasts.
I don’t typically change a sensory bin mid-week but this week was an exception. We have two sensory tables. One was purchased last summer from Craigslist and is in the living room. The other is my own design and downstairs in our homeschool room. The table upstairs was the dry bin that was changed mid-week while the other was filled with water and bubbles. Let’s get started with this week’s dry bins.
Number & Math Concepts
As you can see, this bin is full of apples. One of the first concepts we talked about was attributes. We took a lot of time inspecting the apples to find similarities and differences and sorted them about a dozen different ways. We even compared the size of the buckets! We used our eyes to guess size difference then used the measuring cup to test our hypothesis as to which bucket could hold the most oatmeal.
These apples are a mix of foam and wood. While describing attributes, Liam noticed some were harder than others. Even sounded different. I didn’t prepare to talk about weight but I took advantage of the opportunity. I grabbed his Primary Bucket Balance by Learning Resources and we discussed, hypothesized, and tested the weight of the wood apples compared to the foam apples. In the future, we’ll bring mass into the conversation. I also added number concepts unifix cubes. I wish I could tell you where to get these. I found them at a yardsale and I tossed the original package forever ago. The apple unifix cubes also came with the set. I don’t need to explain how we used these.
Literacy & Fine Motor
This bin focuses on letter recognition (upper and lower case), spelling simple words, letter sounds, visual discrimination, and of course hands-on fun. If you didn’t notice, these two Apple Oatmeal Sensory Bins are basically the same. I switched the concept manipulatives from math to literacy. I removed the unifix cubes and replaced them with apple letter charms, lacing string, and there’s a small group of wooden apples that I drilled holes in so they could be laced.
The first thing Liam noticed was the smell. It smells delicious! I mixed a random amount of apple pie spice to dry oatmeal. Immediately after smelling it, he was digging in. You could also use steel cut oatmeal, which has a different texture. It didn’t take long for the bucket of apple letters to be dumped and buried. But I used this as another way to fulfill another task. I grabbed an alphabet spinner from a game we have and we spun for letters and using tactile discrimination he had to feel for the apple letters until he found the letter he spun. Once he found the letter, he laced it on the string.
Replicating & Adapting
Unfortunately, I can’t throw links and prices at you for things in these bins. Everything (minus the oatmeal) was purchased at a yard sale or thrift store. But, I do have some ideas for you. If I didn’t have all these apples, I’d use another product we have called Attribute Apples by Learning Resources. These would be a BEYOND perfect and an immediate substitution. No thrift store hunting.
You can easily use red beads and string or pipe cleaners to lace “apples.” I recommend hittin’ up The Dollar Tree if you have one near you. If not, that sucks and I’m bummed for you, but a craft store is almost as cool and still works. This is where you can also find little buckets for your apple picking. At The Dollar Tree, you’ll want to gander through the wedding stuff and at a craft store, go to the area with all the miniature fairy furniture. That sounds really strange if you’ve never stumbled upon that aisle in a craft store, but it exists. And it’s cute.
Here’s where you’ll need to get creative and do your own thing.
The apple letters I used, are apple charms I found at a yard sale with alphabet stickers I cut up from Target. As I mentioned earlier, the math concepts unifix cubes are awesome but I bought them at a yard sale (brand new) but I tossed the package. SO! Use anything you have or can cheaply find. I’m sure you have magnetic letters and/or numbers. Throw them in there! Dice. Toss some in! OR! If your kiddo is too young for the concepts bit, just let them scoop and play and just chat with them while they make a mess.
Head over to Caramel Apple Literacy Water Sensory Bin to check out this week’s other sensory table I mentioned earlier.