Quiet bins are so important for the child and the parent. If you are a busy parent, you require no explanation as to why quiet bins are important for parents. These winter sensory bin ideas are for you. The calm, quiet, imaginative play, which your child experiences has the same calming and centering effect on children as it does for parents. It helps them to feel comfortable with quiet as well as in their own skin. Quiet play also lets kids learn through exploration and informal experimentation.
Winter Sensory Bin
A winter sensory bin is easy to prepare, requires very few materials and is incredibly versatile.
Your imagination is the only limit to the materials and items you can put in the winter sensory bin for your preschool child. It is important to remember to keep the use of materials open so that your child can decide how to explore. Also, choose a variety of materials to meet different types of sensory needs and allow for many ways of exploring.
Snow offers great sense of touch experiences for children. Make sure to provide materials which feel different when they are cold than when they are warm, so that this way your child can feel the difference that temperatures create. You can add ice cubes, pom poms, playdough, dish soap, and more. We want our children to remain at the quiet snow bin for the requested time set, so choose materials which can be explored in multiple ways. My children sometimes choose to wear gloves or mitts because the snow can be so cold for little hands. Other times they want to use their hands without gloves. It is good to have gloves nearby just in case they decide they want them, as they likely will want to wear them at some point during their play.
Sparkles and Prints
Snow can also change the way materials look. Many little ones like sparkly things, so I keep that in mind when choosing my materials. Shiny jewels are fun to hide, dig, and collect. Some fabrics look darker when they become wet with the snow, therefore they can learn about changing colours too.
Also, look for ways your child can change the look of the snow. Cookie cutters and items which can put prints in the snow are great for exploring. Children can explore depth and the types of shapes they see in the prints. If you have dried out markers and the snow is sticky and wetter or hard, you can give your child some dried out markers. They can use them to decorate the snow and the prints they created.
Regardless of the materials you choose for your child’s winter sensory bin, keeping the bin open for your child’s imagination is key. Avoid materials which suggest there is only one way to play. Be cautious of telling your child what to do with the materials. They will amaze you with their ideas as you inconspicuously observe them from a distance.
Winter Sensory Bin Play Ideas
In the photos, you will see materials which may give you some ideas.
- Hide items, such as plastic gems, in the snow. Provide your child with a digging and sweeping tool. Don’t tell them the jewels are there or what to do with it. Let them explore and discover on their own.
- Include construction vehicles in the snow. The children can explore how they want to use them. Items could be hidden in the snow. Cars could be included.
- Hide Lego in the snow. As your child finds pieces, they may choose to build. You could add an animal or some natural materials with it, to see how this sparks their imagination.
- Choose a variety of random safe items from your kitchen. I included small tubes for flowers, icing tips, wooden chopsticks, melon baller, and a silicone bbq brush. The melon baller made perfect little snowballs, which were used along with icing tips to create ice cream cones for a Peter Rabbit figure.
- Find items from nature for the quiet bin, include various shapes, textures, and colours.
- Include animals or dinosaurs.
- Include a small digging tool and a marble. Your child can make their own marble run.
- Choose different shapes and sizes of containers. Children enjoy transferring the snow from one container to another. This is also a great opportunity for them to explore and experiment with capacity.
The goal of these winter sensory bins is that they encourage your child to explore with the snow independently in a variety of ways, with a variety of items. Be careful not to include too many materials because this can be overwhelming and limit imagination, but have fun picking a few items that will provide your child with the challenge of creating ways to play with the materials.
Happy quiet winter sensory bin playing!
Belinda is a mama to two little boys and an experienced Kindergarten teacher. She has a love of using nature and technology to enhance and motivate children’s learning. She values the use and training of growth mindset at home with her family and while teaching. Follow along with her on Pinterest.
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