While I’ve always been a fan of sensory bins, I haven’t used them too often in my classes with the tots. That is starting to change as I’m seeing how popular they are with the littles… and their parents! This ocean sensory bin is so fun and my own children have enjoyed it many times and now, so have the tots in my class. Super easy to set up and encourages so much learning through play.
Here’s what you’ll need to get started:
- Large bin (We’ve also used our water table)
- Mixed blue beads (I grabbed a bag from the dollar store)
- Bag of decorative river rocks (or collect some in your neighborhood)
- Sea shells
- Plastic sea animals (I really like these Terra by Battat Sea Animals from Target)
Set up the river rocks on one side of the bin for the “shore” and the blue beads on the other side of the bin to represent the ocean.
Place some shells along the beach
Place some of the sea animals on the shore (such as the sea lion, turtle, crab).
Place some of the sea animals in the ocean (such as the octopus, sea star, sharks, eels, etc..)
Add water and your bin is ready for play!
Hand the bin over to your little superheroes and let them play!
My little guys had a blast!
The Science Behind the Activity:
This sensory bin allows children to have a sensory experience with different textures of rocks, shells, beads, toy animals as well as encourages them to get wet. While playing with your child, ask them which ones like the water and which ones prefer the shore. Do any of the animals like to eat other animals For older children, you can bring up the topic of predator and prey and habitats.
Follow up this activity with a book about sea animals, oceans, beaches. Visit an aquarium or tidepools. Or collect sea shells and rocks and sand from a trip to the beach and make a sensory bin when you come home to “re-live” your fun memories at the beach.
Or try some more of my Ocean learning activities:
- Ocean in a Bottle
- Why Does an Octopus Have Ink?
- Simplified Ocean Zones in A Bottle
- Ocean Zones in a Jar
- Exploring Life in Ocean Zones