No summer beach vacation plans? Bring the beach to you! This ocean sensory bin for toddlers and preschoolers is the perfect combination to get a little taste of seashells in the bubbly ocean. And fun fact: June 21st is National Seashell Day. Who knew, right? This summer activity for kids lands at the perfect time.
RELATED: First sensory bin? I wrote how to introduce sensory play to guide you with everything you need to know.
Set up this summer fun in a flash.
I prepped this cheap summer activity in less than 7 minutes. Here’s how you can do the same for your preschooler or toddler this summer.
You can prepare fun sensory bins with or without your child’s help. I enjoy mixing it up. Sometimes we all get it together (this helps children understand the sequence of directions). Other times I quietly prep as they play independently so I have something ready for them when they remember they are hungry. (again)
- Do you have ocean stickers? Place them under your sensory bin.
- Put your sensory bin on top of the stickers. Now you can see them through the transparent bottom. No stickers? Skip this part!
- Fill your sensory ocean bin with a little water.
- Add a few drops of blue food coloring. Mix it around.
- Add a few drops of dish soap.
- Add shells, driftwood, and/or large white ocean rocks into the sensory bin.
- Invite your toddler and preschooler to play!
Another great thought about this low-prep summer activity is that most of your materials are probably already in your home. Search around, and you are sure to find some similar variations. Even better? Use these items again if you’d like with this collection of sand sensory activities for kids.
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This 40 QT bin is a simple way to inspire more sensory play at home with kids. Here is why sensory play is important.
Add a pop of blue to your ocean sensory bin to bring it to life!
Collection of Seashells
Use this collection of seashells for your ocean sensory bin and even play dough! Children explore the textures as they play.
A few tips to make this water play successful
My three-year-old and four-year-old loved this activity so much that they played with it for almost an hour.
Kitchen utensils you ALREADY OWN make a great addition. I keep all of my outdoor sensory play supplies in this post.
For this sensory ocean bin, we tossed in the following:
- water pitchers
Would I keep this sensory bin in my workroom as I create content for Days with Grey? Hard no. But take a look at that post for a genius way to work at home with kids.
What will your kids DO this summer?
Take the guesswork out of your days with the Summertime Bundle.
- Startup Guide creates your summer routine.
- Activity cards have easy activities.
- The PDF calendar puts your plan in place.
Sensory water play is just like it sounds. It is a sensory bin with water. Keep the water level low for younger children, and stay close as your child plays with the water.
1. Pouring water through funnels
2. Scooping water with measuring cups
3. Adding food coloring to water bottles and watching the colors mix
4. Putting water in spray bottles and aiming for a target 5. Adding water to tubes and watching the water flow through. Here are 35 winning water games for kids.
Having a toddler at home can be tricky to start play. I created this free download to help you create a calmer morning with kids at home through play.