When Hazel was a toddler I had heard all about sensory bins. I thought they were overkill. I mean, what benefit does it serve to let your kids play in an indoor sandbox or a bin full of dried rice and beans? Hazel was perfectly content to sit and read a book. At preschool she enjoyed all of the sensory activities there, especially the clean mud, but I left the sensory bins (and the cleanup) to her preschool.
When Ambrose was 18 months-old I finally woke up and started experimenting with sensory activities. This boy is a kinesthetic learner and needs to be touching everything. We spent the summer outside playing with water and in the dirt. I intentionally ran my fingernails in the dirt! In the fall we got a few rubbermaid containers to play with water, dried beans, colored rice, shredded paper, and water beads.
Sensory activities have saved my sanity. Ambrose can play for 30 minutes at his sensory bins, allowing me time to clean up after breakfast or make dinner. Yes, oftentimes these activities create a giant mess, but the benefits are worth it. I encourage the kiddos to clean up their mess, so it’s another training opportunity.
Sensory bins are here to stay. It’s a wonderfully calming activity for both children while they work on their fine motor skills and explore the phenomena of the objects/materials.