What will we put in our next water sensory bin? This time it’s buttons. You see, this idea began with a simple trip to JOANN. As I searched for fabric, the boys tore up the button aisle. Mom. We neeeeeeeeeed these buttons. Mom, we do. We really need them. Spoiler, we didn’t need them, but got them for a new spin on water play for button sensory play.
I bet you can picture my expression when the idea hit—a total light-bulb moment. You see, I strongly believe that all these fun, simple activities we create for our preschoolers roll right into their everyday play.
RELATED: Let’s back up. Here is how you introduce sensory play to your toddler.
What makes water bins great
Why are we encouraging sensory play and adding buttons to water? Does that teach them anything?
For starters, creating sensory bins, in general, help facilitate working together, making decisions, and experimenting with problem-solving.
Another major reason we set up sensory bins is because it promotes child-led learning.
This means that your preschoolers are in charge of what comes next. Now guess what? Here’s where the magic happens. Your preschooler will begin to take what they practiced in the morning Breakfast Invitation and apply it to their independent play.
RELATED: Here is an organized list of my favorite sensory bins for kids!
When I choose sensory bin supplies, I look for items that will last longer than one afternoon. I created another preschool button activity for longevity that your child will enjoy.
Before you grab your under-the-bed storage bin and fill it with water, you must get these buttons. (If this is your first sensory bin, start with this step-by-step guide to sensory play)
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Big Colorful Buttons
These buttons also come with a lacing string to practice hand-eye coordination and fine motor. Sort the buttons by shape, color, or size.
Set up in less than 5 minutes
- Fill the bin with water.
- Add buttons to the bin.
- Stay close. The buttons are small. Use your discretion if this is right for your family.
- Add an assortment of sensory supplies.
This is our master list of sensory supplies. These are items we have used for years and are still going strong.
How my boys played with the sensory bin
At first, my boys did a lot of scooping, pouring, filling, and dumping. This practice is a wonderful way to understand better quantity, space, trajectory, and cause and effect. They also started to call the colored buttons in one container the pizza where they added toppings. (hello, imaginary play!)
Your preschooler will likely begin to test how much can fill a bucket before it spills over, or how many scoops it takes to empty all of the buttons out of your storage container.
As your preschooler begins to sort the buttons by size and color, you can remember that by Kindergarten, children will begin to classify objects into given categories; count the number of objects in each category and sort the categories by count.
There is so much more to “buttons and water” than we would think!
Who has time to search for ideas?
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Sensory play FAQ
Sensory activities engage touch, smell, sight, and sometimes sound and taste. Touching new textures creates different paths in the brain to enhance learning. Sensory bins are an easy way to reach more learning potential through play.
The main thing I consider with sensory bins is texture. I use it to introduce new objects that taste safe and are not a choking hazard depending on my child’s age and stage. Our favorite sensory fillers are beans, water, rocks, and kinetic sand (not taste-safe).
Use items you have in your kitchen for sensory play. Kitchen items explore size, shape, capacity, movement, hand-eye coordination, problem-solving, and discovery. My favorite items for sensory play are muffin tins, large ladles, ice cube trays, funnels, and whisks. These are my favorite sensory supplies for kids.