Lately, I am all about this super easy (and pretty much free) toddler sensory bin. Need to make dinner? Entertain your toddler while nursing the baby? Sit for a minute? Sensory bin it is!
I have a confession. I’m not the Pinterest Mom I thought I was.
When my first child was just a baby, I used to ooh and aah over all of the amazingly crafty things I would do with her when she was older. I would endlessly Pin things while dreaming of the day these pins would become reality.
Well, truth be told, most days I’m just trying to get by. Taking care of a baby and toddler is certainly no laughing matter. I spend most days buried in laundry, reading every Daniel Tiger book ever made, and loading the dishwasher on repeat (#momlife).
Sometimes, though, inspiration will strike and I’ll find myself with an opportune 5 minute’s worth of time to throw together something amazingly crafty for my toddler.
True story: I purchased the container for this toddler sensory bin at Target and it sat underneath my bed for about 2 months before I actually remembered I had it.
It was one of those days where I was desperate for something to entertain my toddler while I took care of the baby. I suddenly remembered the bin under the bed and thus this super easy, yet super entertaining idea came to life.
The best part about it? You can probably make this toddler sensory bin with items you already have lying around your house. I only bought 2 things for this activity: the bin itself and the little yellow digger toy (which I found for 2.99 at Homegoods).
In our house we try to limit screen-time as much as possible…
so this activity has come in handy A LOT. Since I leave the lid on the bin when it’s not in use, it has the effect of being a really special activity that she only gets to do sometimes.
As an added benefit, something about scooping and shuffling around dried rice and beans has the most calming effect on a crazy toddler. It’s like a mini-zen garden for toddlers. YES.
More zen, less running around the kitchen while I make dinner? I’ll take it!
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How to Make a Toddler Sensory Bin
What You’ll Need:
- 28 Quart Clear storage bin (I got mine at Target, but you could easily grab one on Amazon)
- Uncooked Lentils
- Uncooked White/Brown Rice
- Uncooked Wild Rice
- Dried Black-Eyed Peas (or other dried beans)
Note: For the above items, I just used things I had in my pantry forever, that I knew I would never cook, or items that were passed expiration.
The quality of the products doesn’t matter since no one will be eating the contents, so no need to spring for the good stuff – just plain store brand will do!
Now, if you’re like me, and you love the idea of doing these types of activities, but #mombrain just takes over and you totally forget, here’s an idea – right now, I mean RIGHT NOW, before you forget, grab your grocery list and write on it: rice, dried beans, dried lentils.
You are now one step closer to a fun sensory bin for your toddler.
- Diggers (or other construction toys)
- Scoops (measuring cups, spoons, etc.)
- Cookie cutters
- Colorful buttons or beads
- Tongs, Spatulas (or other plastic cooking utensils)
- Small plastic cups
- Any other fun items you have on hand
Warning: Almost all of these items pose a choking hazard, so please customize the bin to fit the age of your toddler. At the time of this post, my toddler was 2 years, 8 months, and definitely old enough to know what she can and can’t eat.
- Mix all dried rice and beans together in the bin
- Add in toys, scoops, etc.
- Escort dogs out of the kitchen so they don’t try to eat what falls on the floor
furry cavalier not included
Any simple (screen-free) ideas for keeping a toddler entertained? What about other easy sensory bin ideas?
Note: This post contains Amazon Affiliate links.