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This week we pulled out all our farm toys so we could make a letter F sensory tub: Farm in a Box. I got this idea from Small Potatoes, where she has an incredible amount of sensory ideas — including a whole series called Building a World in a Box.
Farm seemed like a good word to start with for the letter F – especially since we have a lot of farm toys. I poured our beans and rice combo into a big plastic bin. My Two helped me pick the farm animals out of our animal box (no, a kangaroo isn’t a farm animal; neither is a whale). Then I gathered our Fun on the Farm playset (great toy!) and our Playmobil farm set.
Now it was time to “build a world…” You can see that our bin wasn’t enough space for the boys. After my Two started pouring rice and beans onto the table for another playing surface, I pulled out a cookie sheet for each kid.
So what’s the point of sensory bins, anyway? I’ll admit I’m kind of new to this. Because, really, who wants to get a bunch of beans and rice (or lentils, oatmeal, corn, or pasta) all over the floor? Sensory bins are great because they appeal to the senses – hence the name, of course. They look fun, they feel fun, and they sound fun.
They taste fun, too, if you let your 12-month old play with them — which is why I put the bin on top of the kitchen table, and my little guy stays down below.
Sensory bins do not have to be a giant mess if you have enough of a play space. These big plastic containers work great. I am kind of a hawk at first to help the boys realize that the point of a sensory bin is to keep the items in the bin, not all over our floor.
Sometimes it works.
Something of a mess is inevitable. At least at our house. But it’s so good for my toddler and preschooler. They exercised their imaginations for a long, long time. Well over a hour. I’m sure they’d have kept going, but it was snack time. And nothing gets in the way of snack time.