Inside: Learn how to create a simple Thanksgiving sensory bin for toddlers. Keep your little one entertained on Thanksgiving day with this simple set up.
It’s Thanksgiving Day, and you’ve got potatoes to mash, a turkey to baste, and a toddler to entertain?
Well that certainly just upped the ante 🙂
Today I’m going to share with you a simple Thanksgiving Sensory Bin you can create in 5 minutes.
This is guaranteed to keep even the busiest little one entertained.
Why is sensory play important for kids?
Toddlers and preschoolers should regularly engage in sensory play. Not only is it fun and entertaining, it also helps build essential skills such as:
- Independent play
- Creativity & imagination
- Communication & language-building
Sensory play can also help with speech delays, sensory processing disorders, as well as with kids who are easily over-stimulated.
Other favorite sensory activities include: playdough, kinetic sand, water table, and oobleck (slime).
Related: Hands-On Activities for 4 Year Olds
Don’t take my word for it.
Try sitting with your toddler for a few minutes and playing with the sensory bin yourself! You’ll see how instantly calming and relaxing it is.
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How to Make a Thanksgiving Sensory Bin
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 28 Qt Sterilite Container (I got mine at Target)
- 1 or 2 bags Trader Joe’s Harvest Grains Blend
- 1 container popcorn kernels
- Mini gourds or pumpkins
- Foam turkeys, leaves, pumpkins & fall shapes
- Fall-themed muffin cups (I found mine at HomeGoods)
- Tissue paper squares (red, yellow, orange, brown)
- Scoops and funnels (Check the Dollar store!)
I shared my supplies below on Instagram.
Related: 5 Minute Toddler Sensory Bin
Please note: This activity must be done under adult supervision as the small pieces pose a choking hazard. For a younger toddler, leave out the popcorn kernels & Trader Joe’s blend and allow them to play with the other items.
Here’s how to make it:
- Pour the popcorn kernels and TJs grain blend into your container.
- Scatter the remaining items in the bin.
- Remind your toddler, preschooler (or big kid!) the rules for playing with a sensory bin —> Everything must stay in the bin. No throwing or dumping anywhere outside the bin.
- And let them get to work!
HELP! My toddler is uninterested or only plays for 5 minutes.
That’s okay, mama. All toddlers have preferences and some are interested in sensory play more than others. Leave out the bin. It’s possible they’ll circle back to it.
Try engaging your toddler with helpful play prompts to get their creativity flowing.
- “I wonder how many red leaves are in there? Let’s count them.”
- “Try filling the muffin cup with a funnel and see what happens.”
- “That looks delicious! Are you making mommy some soup in there?”
- “What happens if you bring one of your diggers in the bin?”
These prompts are meant to be simple and open-ended.