35+ Brilliant sensory bins for Babies

If you have a baby, that is still exploring the world with their mouth, sometimes is hard to find ideas to entertain them. Read on because you will get a ton of sensory bins for babies you can set up today!

These sensory bins ideas for babies shared here are fun, edible-safe, and will ensure you always have something to do, but always supervise your little one when playing.

Why Use a Sensory Bin for Babies

Adding sensory bins for babies to your playtime is a great developmental activity to work on eye-hand coordination, language development, and fine motor skills.

All of these skills will help them develop the strength and hand coordination to, later on, dress on their own, tie their shoes, and even hold a pencil and write their name.

  • Sensory bins are hands-on learning tools for children to explore their world through the senses. They encourage exploration while incorporating a variety of senses: touch, sight, sounds, taste, and smell for children to learn and explore.
  • Sensory bins encourage language development: When playing with a sensory bin, it offers the opportunity to work on language development, it offers opportunities to discuss hidden objects.
  • Sensory bins work on fine motor skills: When children use their hands and fingers to explore the items in a bin, improve fine motor skills through scooping, grasping, stirring, and pouring with a variety of tools.

if you are ready to have some fun, then let’s get started! Let’s start simple and increase creativity as we go along.

Low mess Sensory Bins for Babies

Scarf Play

Playing with scarves is a must-do activity in my classes. These colorful scarves have so many play possibilities but today I want you to just fill a bin with your baby’s favorite toys (or pick a theme) and fill up the bin with the scarfs.

What you need:

How to Play:

  • Grab a shallow basket or plastic bin and fill it up with colorful scarfs
  • Hide your baby’s toys under the scarves and present the bin to baby
  • Let baby explore and encourage her to explore to find each of the toys hidden.
  • For different variations of this game, you can hide musical instruments, or bath toys, or even create themes around it. Farm theme, color red theme, etc.. you get the idea.

pigs in a blanket

This activity is so easy to set up and requires very little materials. I used to set this sensory bin when it was time to cook dinner. I would cook and baby would play happy next to me.

What You Need:

  • Painters tape
  • muffin tin
  • bath toys

How To Play:

  • Place one bath toy in each muffin section.
  • Cover it with a piece of painters tape
  • Present it to your baby and let her explore.
  • The goal is that she will take off the tape and rescue the pig. Celebrate when she does!

Texture Sensory Bin

How to Play:

  • Grab different items around the house that provide different textures.
  • A silk scarf, a fluffy carpet, or even rough sandpaper.
  • Bring these items close to the baby and let him/her explore the different textures.

Sensory Bag Obstacle Course

Sensory bags are not just for tummy time, they are actually super fun to make and explore. I remember when my son was starting to crawl I would make him a road of bags for him to explore. Here are three sensory bags you can quickly set up.

What you need:

  • Gallon Size Ziplock bags
  • Shaving Cream
  • Rice
  • Pom Poms
  • Duct Tape

How to Play:

  • Fill the first bag with shaving cream. Fill up about 1/4 of the bag only.
  • Remove all the excess air and tape to the floor with the duct tape along all 4 sides.
  • Repeat with the rest of the materials to create a sensory bag road.

Montessori Metal Sensory Bin

Montessori treasure baskets are a great sensory bin you can set up. There are different themes you can set up and there is so much learning to be done with them. I gathered more than 35 baby treasure baskets ideas for baby so be sure to check that out! but here is my favorite one you can set up right now with things you have already at home.

What you need:

  • Wooden basket
  • Silver/metal non-sharp objects

How to Play:

  • Babies explore with their mouth, gather metal objects that are not sharp like an espresso cup, a whisker and a spoon.
  • Place all objects in a basket and let your baby explore

Ocean sensory bin for babies

Ocean animals have always been a favorite subject to create sensory bins with. It offers a great opportunity for language development and vocabulary. This cause and effect sensory bin is so much fun and they can spend hours playing! it was my go-to activity when we had to go to my oldest son basketball games.

What you Need:

  • Old oatmeal container (or any container easy to handle with a big opening)
  • Large Ocean figurines

How to Play:

  • Place all the figurines inside the large oatmeal container
  • Place the oatmeal container into a larger sensory bin (optional)
  • Let your baby explore taking the animals and placing them back into the bin

Balls Sensory Bin

To make a ball sensory bin, simply grab a variety of balls and fill a box, bin, or basket with them.  

Color of the week Sensory Bin

Color of the week Sensory Bin

Early exposure to bright colors is a great way to encourage curiosity. Gather toys and things from around the house that are one color and create a little discovery basket.

color blue

Color Noodles Sensory Bin

Noodles have a unique texture that is something different for babies to explore with. Grab large noodles and color them using this technique and let your baby explore. If your baby tries to put the noodles in his mouth, redirect the behavior or give them a tether to hold instead while exploring the color noodles.

Silicone Cup Play

An easy activity you can do with your baby who might still be teething is to add a few silicone cups to a plastic bin and let her explore.

Little ones love to squish, grab, and mouth these colorful cups.

Water Based Sensory Bins for babies

Washcloth Teething Tray

Teething is so natural but it really disturbs the peace, the sleep, and the happiness of a baby! create these teething cold washcloth tray activities to soothe their sore gums.

Music & Water Sensory Bin

The sound a pot makes when being hit by a wooden spoon is music to a baby’s ear. Add some water and not only the sound will change but the splashing effect would be so funny for your baby.

This bin is an under-the-bed organizer from IKEA and I love it because it contains the mess inside and gives my baby freedom to explore.

Water Ball Pit Sensory Bin

Same bin different activity. Add a little bit of water and a bunch of balls and you got yourself the funnest pool around!

This was the fourth of July weekend so we chose only blue and red balls. I placed a bucket next to the container to place the balls in and out and work on some eye-hand coordination.

easy edible-Safe Sensory Bins for Babies

I used to find it so difficult to get ideas when my son was still mouthing everything, fast-forward three years and I not only have a ton of ideas to share with you but I even host my own edible-safe sensory bin classes for babies.

marshmallow sensory bin

When setting up the sensory bin with babies edible stuff is my go-to activity. For Valentine’s day, I set up a marshmallow sensory bin for the babies. Talk about exploring with the sense of taste! this was so yummy!

What You Need:

  • Marshmallows in different sizes
  • Red strands (optional)
  • Sensory bin

How to Play:

  • Place the marshmallows on the bin mixing the different sizes.
  • I added red strands and foam fortune cookies from the dollar store to give it some color and a theme since it was Valentine’s day, but you don’t need to.
  • Present the bin to baby and let them explore the different textures, feel the fluffiness and stickiness the marshmallows offer.

Edible Mud Recipe

Playing with mud is fun but not if your baby tries to eat it all the time. Well, you can still play with mud but you have to make it at home.

A little bit of flour with a little bit of cocoa powder and you get edible dirt; Add water and you get edible safe mud!

Fruit Sensory Bins

The first-year food is all about experimenting with textures and sensory bins are a great way to do this. I love berries because they can be smushed, can be used as paint and the flavor is so yummy!

Place a few berries over the high chair or inside a plastic bin and let your baby get messy, discover new flavors and get used to new textures.

Did you know that kids that play with sensory are less prone to being picky eaters as they get older?

One of my favorite citrus fruits to experiment with is lemon! I don’t know if it’s the bright color yellow or the fact that it is sour and it makes me want to see the expression on one’s eyes when they eat it.

You can do a sensory bin with water and add a few lemon slices or like Angelica here you can experiment with jello and lemon slices.

Experiment with all types of citrus like oranges, tangerines, and limes.

Beach Sensory Bin

Bring the beach inside with an edible recipe! When I did this in class the babies had a blast! And of course, my son being my son he ended up putting all of the sand over his head! Luckily it was easy to clean up. The best part is that it was super easy to make! All you need are crackers and a blender.

Watch the video and learn how to make Edible baby safe sand

water beads Sensory Bin

Regular store-bought water-beads can be very dangerous for babies and toddlers that still put things in their mouth, for this reason, I came up with a better version! An edible safe version that is so easy to make and so nutritious so are going to want them to eat it!

Learn how to make edible safe water beads here

Edible water beads

Rainbow Spaghetti sensory bin

Who doesn’t wish they could swim in a pool of spaghetti!! I know I would love to so that’s why we created a pool of spaghetti for baby David to explore.

You can make this spaghetti sensory bin following our directions here ( how to color spaghetti) and when you are done playing you can freeze it for playtime next time!

Create A Sensory Bin Using Cooked Oatmeal

This has been one of our funnest local event activities! The babies had such a blast playing with the oatmeal. I should call this a pool of oatmeal! the trick was to add extra water so that they could move around and splash away. We used quick mix oatmeal and added some food coloring to the water. We mix the two and left it for about 10 minutes to settle in. Then, we presented to the babies and they had such a great time! Some cried when the activity was over and it was time for clean up.

sensory play
Sensory play using colored oatmeal provides the opportunity to explore different textures

Pudding Pools using chocolate pudding

After reading this post, you won’t see food the same way again. Now everything will be an opportunity for sensory play. That’s what happened during our farm theme class. We created a pig muddy area with dried oatmeal and chocolate pudding. The babies had a blast! some even decided to join the pigs for a full on swim experience.

Another variation of this pudding farm activity is to pair pudding with edible sand to create a farm. We did it during our spring farm theme and it was a favorite mix for many babies!

5 Little ducks Sensory Bin

Water is one of the first sensory bin activities I did with my baby and is the go-to activity I do on the first day of sensory class with babies. This is because for parents water is less intimidating than let’s say a pool of oatmeal as clean-up is easier, and babies absolutely love water, so it is always a win. I pair this activity with rubber ducky finger play and books to bring it all together.

5 little ducks sensory bin

sea Shells Sensory Bin

Next time you head over to the beach collect a few large seashells (also available at craft stores), add some water and you got yourself a seashell sensory bin. Shells have different shapes, sizes, and textures, making it a great loose part play activity.

Winter Wonderland Gelatin Tray

Gelatin (preferably unflavored ones) is a great sensory play activity. It offers such a different texture, it is cold and is squish-able. it allows for the sense of touch and taste to be explored.

Cereal Bases Sensory Bins for Babies

Edible-Safe Cheerios Cereal Sensory Bin

Another easy sensory bin idea you can do is using cereal as a base. Our first sensory bin was using cheerios. You can let the baby explore how the cereal would fall when placed in different containers and the sound it made. I do recall the dogs having a blast eating a few Cheerios during playtime; Which if I am honest, having a dog was such a great help when cleaning up came around lol.

Art Based Sensory Bins

Edible Paint Sensory Bin

The best thing you can do is to get yourself a large plastic bin. Put your baby inside and do any activity that could be messy inside. This way you minimize the mess. Under, put a large towel or vinyl table cover to catch any mess that spills out of the container.

This was an edible safe paint activity I hosted. You mix baby yogurt with food coloring and you let the babies paint away. Of course, you can’t save their creations but they will have a lot of fun. To make soft pastel colors, add only 1 drop of food coloring but if you want stronger colors then increase the amount of food coloring you put.

Painting with Water

This is not much of a sensory bin but I couldn’t leave it out! Using construction paper a paintbrush and water you can make your first science experiment together. Painting with water.

The water will make a reaction to the paper and it will show as a darker color which is like magic to our babies to see they are doing that as they move the brush around. Of course, their creation will not be saved because once the paper dries out the water streaks will fade away.

Textured Paint Sensory

This activity was fun to do and I noticed my son didn’t really try to eat the paint that much. We did use washable toxic-free finger paint with sprinkles but you can definitely do it with edible-safe paint too.

Cover your bin with paper and add some paint around. Add some sprinkles for an added texture experience.

Paint with Ice

This activity can be done outside using loose paper or inside a bin like the above activity to keep everything together. Freeze some water in Popsicle molds and add food coloring or Koolaid to them to create the colors.

Let the ice melt a little bit before starting to paint to release some of the food coloring out and into the paper. This craft can be saved once it dries out.

Holiday Themes Sensory Bins

fourth of July sensory bin for 1 year old

A sensory bin that seconds as a snack tray! this whipped cream sensory tray is perfect to get messy without having to worry about if they put it in their mouth. It is actually super tasty!

My son is older than a baby in this photo because I couldn’t find the original… but trust me! babies love it just as much! You could skip the blueberries for choking safety and just leave the whipped cream with the stars.

Check out our full post for detailed instructions on how to set it up

Fall Discovery Sensory Bin

Fall is a great time for babies to explore the season. Babies love to explore fall sensory bins with real objects like pumpkins and flowers, so why not offer those objects in a safe way with a fall discovery sensory bin. Grab different size pumpkins and other things related to fall that are safe to put in their mouth and let your baby explore with the sense of taste, smell, and touch.

What You Need:

  • Pumpkins
  • Flowers
  • Fall/autumn things

How to Play:

  • Fill up your sensory bin with all things found in fall that are safe to eat. You can use fake pumpkins like I did but real ones are a lot better for this bin.
  • Present to your baby and let them explore each item.
  • Use this opportunity to talk about colors, textures, and even weight.

Sensory Bin For Halloween

This Jell-O activity is not only fun but is super tasty! the babies had such a good time grabbing the monster’s eyes, squeezing them, and tasting what was left in their hands.

Check out our full tutorial on how you can make these edible monster eyes at home

Candy Cane Edible Christmas Activity

This activity can be done in two ways. You can use yogurt (we did Greek yogurt) or you can do it with the whipped cream. Add some red food coloring and swirl it around with a toothpick to create some lines. Be careful not to mix it all the way.

Present to the baby in a sensory bin or paper and let them explore with fingers, hands, and of course with the mouth 🙂

Check out the full tutorial of candy cane edible Christmas activity

edible christmast craft

last thoughts on sensory bins for babies

And there you have it! thirty-something bins you can set up for your baby to have sensory playtime! Remember to keep things edible, always supervise your little one and of course, take lots of pictures!

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