Friday, May 31, 2013

Spring/Garden Sensory Bin

Little Stars Learning

The children have loved our spring sensory bin.

Potting soil is heated to kill bacteria and other organisms, so it is great as a sensory bin filler, AS LONG AS IT DOES NOT HAVE ANYTHING ADDED such as fertilizer or water gel. You want the cheap-o kind.

The components and their learning activities:


  • Matching by color
  • Grouping
  • Pretend pollination
  • Flower pot creation
  • Fine motor
  • Plant physiology
  • Botany
  • Biology

We tried making tissue paper flowers, but it was a craft FAIL, so I went ahead and bought silk ones at the dollar store. We made the butterflies, instructions at the end.


I gathered the plastic fruits and vegetables from the play kitchen. I went on-line and pulled images listed as FREE from the internet, printed them out, laminated, and adhered to craft sticks. I tried to make sure every growing type [vine, underground, above ground, etc.], and every type of edible part [root, leaf, seed, flower, etc.] was represented at least once, and preferably more than once.
  • Sorting by item
  • Sorting by type 
  • Graphing
  • Fine motor


For ideas, I suggested that they could sort the plastic items into the pots by the size they actually become, or the plant labels. "Which pot would a watermelon go into? A radish?"
  • Sizing
  • Sorting
  • Describing
  • Fine motor

Scoops, cups, spoons, tweezers, containers, scrapers...

Tongs, funnels...and they had access to all our other sensory bin tools as well. These were just the ones I initially placed in there.
  • Fine and gross motor
  • Quantities
  • Logic/reasoning
  • Observation

Since the purpose is to discuss growing plants, I dropped a yellow balloon from the ceiling over where they played with the sensory bin as the sun. They thought that was great. We also got out the spray bottles and "rained" on the garden a few times.
  • Biology
  • Botony
We didn't have a fuse bead butterfly template, and I wanted them to be large enough not to easily break, so we used our heart template.

I fused one side, then they did the other. I fused that one. We made a circle for the head out of black beads which I fused and removed, then fused them all together between parchment paper.

It's a wonderful fine motor activity.

There are many activities they can do with this sensory bin, and they are still wanting to play with it a month after I first put it out...

Tags: sensory, bin, fine, motor, spring, spring sensory bin, garden, theme, unit, plants, growing, planting, gradening, farm, farming, crops, vegetables, fruits, labels, signs, flowers, child, care, daycare, preschool, pre-k, camp, summer 

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