Monday, April 3, 2017

Dollar Store Sensory + Activity Bin Ideas for Toddlers

I made a trip to the dollar store today to gather some materials to make activities + sensory bins for Ronan (who is 14 months and needs to be occupied at.all.times.). With baby girl on the way (post coming soon about that too!), I am definitely going to need to have quick + easy ways to keep Ro entertained on the fly. As I present the activities to Ro, I'll update this post and share them here too! I hope you find them helpful, and as always, be sure to share if you do!

Why Sensory Bins? 
As an occupational therapist, I work on a daily basis with children who are delayed in development. Whether for typically developing children or those with disabilities, the benefits of sensory bins are endless. They promote and encourage: fine motor skills (i.e. bilateral hand coordination, grip strength, finger dexterity), eye hand coordination, language development, independent play skills, sensory awareness,  cause and effect, and SO many more skills. There really isn't a reason NOT to use them ;)

**all items in this post were either purchased at the dollar store OR I already had at home. Total cost for EVERYTHING was approximately $50.

Prehistoric Sensory Bin
Ronan is currently OBSESSED with dinosaurs, so it was a no-brainer to pull this bin out first for him. He was "roaring" the whole time. He loved opening and closing the eggs, making the dinosaurs stomp around in the rocks, and staring me dead in the eye as he brought the rocks to his mouth waiting for me to yell NO at him (insert eye roll here). Ohhhhh boys.

Obviously, you can use your imagination and switch out the dinosaurs for other toys that your child is currently interested in (dolls, cars, animals, etc...). I like the size of the rocks + gemstones for this activity, though, because they are the perfect size for little hands and encourage exploring an element that is found in nature.

2 bags of medium-sized assorted rocks (in the floral section)
1 bag of gemstones (also in the floral section)
plastic dinosaur toys
plastic easter eggs

Beans Sensory Bin
This one is pretty simple and straight forward. Simply fill a bin with dry beans, add any type of "accessories" you want, and let them go at it! Ronan liked pouring the beans in and out of the container I put in there, mixing them around with the utensils, andddd we ended our play time when he started deliberately pouring them all over the floor haha.

2 bags of dry beans
any additional "accessories" (I used plastic easter eggs, play utensils, and an empty container)

Rice Sensory Bin
This one is also pretty simple and straight forward. It is the same concept as the dry beans, but with rice! Ronan was also a fan of this one, and again, it ended when he started spilling them all over the floor on purpose. And for those of you asking if he puts anything in his mouth while he plays.... the answer is yes. Haha I just have to monitor him to make sure he doesn't choke or do anything dangerous!

2 bags of rice
any additional "accessories" (I used plastic easter eggs, play utensils, and an empty container)

with love,

kellie ann
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