Play is and should always be an essential part of every child’s day – at home and at school.
Play helps improve cognitive abilities, social skills, emotions and communication, and increases a child’s creativity. One simple way to integrate play that doesn’t look like “traditional play” is through the use of sensory bins.
But sensory bins can be messy. And we do need to update them regularly with new activities and fillers.
Before I taught in a self-contained special needs classroom setting, my answer to changing out the sensory bin fillers would have probably been, “Uh… rice and beans?” Actually, my first year that was my answer. Rice and beans. My first year in self-contained was also my first experience with cockroaches, which put a quick end to anything rice and beans. #gross
I then started branching out to other types of sensory bin fillers and discovered an entire world outside of rice and beans.
Sensory bins are great for interactive centers, doubling as incredible fine motor practice. Sensory bins are also a great way to introduce students to new, safe sensory experiences that they may otherwise not get to encounter (or want to encounter).
Switch out the fillers weekly, monthly, with each unit… or use shoe-sized plastic bins to create smaller sensory bin opportunities for your little learners. Bins don’t need to be elaborate to be effective.
They might be messy, but sensory bins are 100% worth the effort.
What are your favorite sensory bin fillers?
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