With Christmas coming up so very quickly it is easy to get into a spin! We are trying very hard to keep things simple this holiday season – and we are doing quite well. Though I must say I am surprised at how tricky it can be to keep things simple this time of year! Even though I feel we are still in a fairly relaxed place, I thought it would be nice to take a break from the flurry of Christmas crafting and activities.
My Sammy loves sensory bins (as long as they are not too messy – this dinosaur one is about as far as he will go mess wise!). So we made a very simple, nature, relaxing sensory bin. It was so very easy to make and it was amazing how relaxing and soothing the play was.
Just before we get started, you might also want to get a copy of my Sensory Bins 101 guide. It is filled with tips and tricks for getting started with sensory bins in your home and classroom. It also has some amazing sensory bin ideas to fill you with inspiration!
To create this nature sensory bin:
To create this nature sensory bin I simply added 4 things to our base of white rice.
First, we added pine cones which still smelled of pine
Next, we peeled (and the boys ate) some clementines – or ‘clemens’ as my wee ones say (like “lemons except sweeter”- yep, I’m not correcting that one for a good long while! Cuteness)
Then we put in some cinnamon sticks
Finally, we added some walnuts that we had left over from our Gnome crafting
My hope for this bin was that it would be soothing and relaxing with lovely things to smell, see, touch, and hear.
The scent of the pine cones and the clementines mixed with the cinnamon makes a very soft but fragrant play experience. Sammy decided to give everything a good sniff at first. After this first big whiff, he was happy to leave the objects away from his nose and explore with his other senses.
I was aiming to put very neutral colours into the bin – and opted to use our wooden bowl. I didn’t want anything too stimulating to look at. The clementine peels were sort of a last minute add in, and though bright orange, they added a lovely scent and also an interesting sensation to touch.
For a relaxing sense of touch, I chose the rice as a base. I personally love the way it feels, and I know my Sammy does as well. By adding in some hard and soft nature items to this sensory bin it added to the experience of this sense as well.
Finally, I was able to get a soothing sound for the bin by using the pine cones in with the rice. There is nothing quite like that sound. I absolutely love that gentle sound. It reminds me so much of a rain stick. Madeline thought that sound was very much like a rain stick too – and has been brainstorming ways to construct one herself out of pine cones and rice. I will let you know what she comes up with!
This nature sensory bin was a great change of pace for my wee ones. I have been using it before rest time and also during the ‘pre-dinner itch’ and it has really worked wonders settling my little ones.
I know I say it time and again, but it continues to amaze me how it is always the simplest things that provide the most enjoyment and use! This bin took me minutes to pop together and has been enjoyed for days!
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P.S. Don’t forget to grab your free Sensory Bins 101 guide!