Ornament Winter Sensory Bin

colored rice sensory bin is one of my favorite types of sensory bins to set up. It is also the first experience I had with sensory bins a few years back and I have been in love ever since.

Create a sensory rice using your favorite color rice for a fun learning activity.

This sensory bin will focus on working on scooping and grabbing skills. Eye-hand coordination among with giving toddlers a free place to explore, investigate and try new things through cause and effect activities.

Supplies used:

  • Colored rice (follow our color sensory rice recipe here to get the most vibrant colors!)
  • funnels
  • ice cream scooper (but you can use any spoon)
  • cups or bowl (we used ornaments because it is almost Christmas season and I had purchase a bunch of them to do some art activities later on!)
  • a bin to place the rice.

Why is setting up a Rice Sensory bin important for development

Sensory bins are hands-on tools for children to explore their world through senses.

Have you ever played with rice? Grab a handful of rice and slowly let the rice fall. It is the most calming sensation. Listen to the rice falling down, if you are using a metal bowl it makes a fun sound as it hits the bowl. It almost sounds like rain! (You shouls also make a rain stick sensory bottle wirh some of your leftover rice form this bin! Is so easy!)

This activity allows for a lot of senses (to be activated during sensory bin play.  Touch, sound, even smell!

Sensory play may calm, focus, and engage a child. It brings learning into a natural environment and invites kids to explore and investigate. It allows kids to develop confidence in trying new things. Sensory play creates cognitive connections in the brain as they play in a natural play environment.

are you convinced yet that sensory play with rice is just amazing? So let’s get started in setting a sensory bin with rice.

Step 1: color The rice

The first thing to do when setting up a sensory bin with rice is to make the colored rice.

Yes, you can used regular rice without coloring but color just makes everything more fun! You can make tons of different color variations.

if you have read anything about color theory, you know that colors evoke different moods. Cool colors such as green and blues promote a calming mood as oppose to red and oranges that evoke high energy and cheerful emotions.

For this sensory bin we used a combination of yellow and green. Honestly, it was a leftover rice I had from a previous zoo themed bin I had created. Yellow and green is one of my favorite color combinations!

To make the rice we use ziplock bags (one per color) a teaspoon of vinegar and a cup of rice. Mix them all in the bag, shake shake shake and lay to dry.

Check out our sensory rice recipe where I show you the step by step process and you can print out a quick guide to getting the perfect most vibrant colors here.

Sensory bin tools

The sensory bin tools are key for a successful sensory bin play. I used to put random things and not know why I was putting what.

When choosing your tools, you want to have an idea of how you want your kids to play with it. Of course, they will create their own ways of using the materials but you do want to have a general goal in mind.

I knew that for this bin, I want to work on pouring skills as well as transferring skills.

We need Something to pick up the rice with. I provided an ice cream scooper and a small coffee mug.

The little mug is metal and it makes an amazing sound when the rice is being dropped in it. It also has an easy handle to practice pouring skills.

We needed somewhere to place the rice into. I provided a challenge! The small ornament balls. And to help with the small opening I provided funnels. Just look at those little hand muscles working through to get the rice in!

how to present the sensory bin table

I have the IKEA flisat table which is a very common table to use for sensory play. This table has two compartments. In one I always but my sensory bin filler, in this case the rice. On the side I always add the extra supplies so that he can use whatever calls his attention.

Sometimes I use the small bins to present the extra items and sometimes I use two large bins side by side. It really doesn’t matter how you present it as long as it looks attractive! This is why I think coloring the rice makes such a difference.

You want to cover the floor to catch any spills or place the table in an area that is easy to clean up.

Once you set up the activity your job is done! Just sit back, relax, drink your coffee and watch your little one explore.

Always supervise play to make sure your toddler is not putting rice in places they shouldn’t. Like their mouth, ears or nose.

What is it with kids exploring things by placing them in their nose?!

So always supervise, let them explore as long as it is safe.

How to clean up the sensory Bin

Once play has been finished you can set up the bin again for playtime at a later day or you can place the rice in a ziplock back and store it for later.

If places in a dry area, tour colored rice should last for a while. Just play, store and reuse.

Last thoughts

Sensory play is super important for development during the early years. Fine motor skills can be developed through play using sensory bins. Help your toddler strengthen his hand muscles that will give him the skills needed to later one learn how to Putin their shirts, tie their shoes, hold a pencil and write the ABC’s.

If you are interest in developing your toddler through play, join us!

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