Inside: Sensory activities for preschoolers. This calming tactile activity is perfect for kids.
In my early days, beans and I did not go hand and hand.
I would set my preschooler up a bin such as this, and although it was an amazing learning opportunity, beans were everywhere! (sidenote, the link above takes you to one of my very first posts.)
Was I doing something wrong? Did my kids need more practice?
The answer to these questions is YES and YES.
For starters, I have learned that the size of the bin DOES matter. My favorite bin is the long under the bed storage bin. You will find the exact one we use in the supply list below.
Secondly, my approach was all wrong. Practice and routine, along with a large shower curtain, are 3 other secrets to success.
Sensory activities, such as this one, help when the days seem to be dragging on. You can find even more ideas like this on our Alphabet Activity Cards.
Go gather your beans! You’ve got this in the bag.
How I set it up
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– For the scoops, I used empty plant containers. Some other variations you can use are:
With supervision, my three-year-old and four-year-old are ready to set the sensory bin up themselves.
They know to lay out the plastic shower curtain, bin, and beans. (or whatever material we decide on ahead of time.
Making the plan is KEY.
I stay close to monitor and set myself up for success.
Keeping an eye on what my preschoolers are doing is a helpful way for me to make sure the beans stay somewhat in control.
I begin with, “Try to keep all the beans in the bin. Remember, you have ALL this space to work with.” – cue mom pointing to the inside of the bin.
Now, kids push the limits.
They all do. So when I ask them to stay inside the bin, I leave a little wiggle room for what ends up outside of the bin.
If I let my preschoolers dive in head first without a small limitation, I am certain that bean plants would be sprouting from the cracks of our deck.
Next, walk away but remain close to supervise.
Some sensory bins last for an hour, and others 20 minutes.
Keep in mind, it is all about the temperament of the day. What doesn’t work one day, may work another. Keep at it. Keep practicing.
I typically allow my boys to walk away once because they almost always come back.
After two times leaving the sensory station, we clean it up. We sweep the shower curtain and can typically be done in 5-10 minutes. Pack your beans in a small storage container, and put it away up high where it won’t be accidentally spilled.
Do your kids DIG sensory Play? You can find an entire collection of ideas here!