Penguin Sensory Bin (and bonus Toddler Penguin Activities)

Looking for ideas for your winter theme? Want to create a penguin sensory bin? Use this setup and tag along as this month; we embark on learning about animals living in cold environments.

Make a Penguin Sensory Bin โ€“ simple steps for setting up a fun penguins-themed invitation to play.

This penguin activity is perfect for introducing toddlers to the idea that ice is cold, it melts, and they love ice.

Penguin Sensory Bin
Penguin Sensory Bin

Sensory bins are great for development. I like to use themes to create inviting play ideas that will help them work on sensory-motor development while encouraging creative play. These fine motor skills are crucial skills used when entering Pre-K.

Aid your child to strengthen their hand and finger muscles too, later on, tie their shoes, button their jacket, and even hold a pencil!


Materials Needed:

How To Set up and Play with this Penguin Sensory Bin:

  • In a sensory tray (I used one of those circle divided snack trays) add ice cubes, shaving cream, and penguins into each are
  • Read a book about penguins or show a magazine with real-life animals and their environment. Allow for questions and observation.
  • Present the tray and tell your toddler you are building a penguin habitat. Allow them to play with the different textures and mix the textures around through play.


  • Cold
  • Ice
  • Melting
  • Wet
  • White


As an alternative to using ice we also did this penguins sensory bin using just shaving cream.

The benefit of doing the sensory bin just with the shaving cream is that the activity can last longer. The ice usually will water down and melt the shaving cream changing the fluffy texture.

When I set up the activity I just added the shaving cream and penguins, but when Manu started to play he wanted to add a few other animals and things.

By allowing them to explore the texture of shaving cream and getting creative they are not just having fun but are learning.

While sensory play looks like just messy fun, there is actually a lot of learning happening!

Things kids learn through sensory play
๐Ÿ‘‰ Observation skills
๐Ÿ‘‰ Cause and effect
๐Ÿ‘‰ Vocabulary
๐Ÿ‘‰ Hand Eye coordination
๐Ÿ‘‰ Verbal expression
๐Ÿ‘‰ Math and number concepts
๐Ÿ‘‰ science concepts

We love engaging inย sensory playย all year long. It is a really great way to discuss a topic or a learning theme.ย Studiesย show that kids retain information better when engaging the senses.
Photo by Ian Parker on Unsplash

Fun facts

Spark conversation with these facts

  • Penguins have flippers not wings
  • They cannot fly
  • They are known for waddling their feet when they walk
  • They live in the Southern Hemisphere, which is the bottom half of the Earth.
  • Most penguins like to eat krill (which is kind of like shrimp), 
  • They have black feathers on their backs and white on their fronts
  • They are excellent swimmers

Activities to Pair your Sensory bin with:

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