One trip to Target gave me oodles of ideas for Halloween activities. Grab some beans, the plastic storage bin hiding underneath your bed, and some plastic skeleton heads. This skeleton sensory bin did not disappoint. Total prep time, less than 3 minutes.
Picture this. On one side of the room, I am at my computer working, and on the other is my preschooler playing in his skeleton sensory bin. Sounds dreamy, doesn’t it? On this day, everything aligned.
He wants to be close, and I have work to do. Here is how the two worlds collide, so we both get what we need.
RELATED: What’s the big idea? Read the importance of sensory play here. I also enjoy reading this professional article about the six stages of play development.
How to introduce sensory play
Before we look at this bin and think about an explosion of beans, let’s begin with the basics. Read this post introducing sensory play if this is your first sensory bin.
Things I am thinking about during sensory play:
- Do I dislike picking up what is inside the bin? I like using beans as a sensory bin filler because they are easy to spot during cleanup.
- Is what is inside a choking hazard? If yes, I use alternative fillers.
- Can this sensory bin sit out for a few days for my child to come back to? I always notice someone coming back to play if I can leave it out.
Craving a calmer morning?
Breakfast Invitations are simple learning games to begin the day with play.
What I noticed as my preschooler plays
As my child picked up the black beans, I could tell he was getting a good feel for the texture. We may think our child will toss the beans, but beans are calming to play with.
As he moved the beans around the bin, I could feel his body begin to regulate.
Since I added some fun plastic skeleton heads (that sounds so odd as I type this out), he immediately began filling and closing them up to shake.
RELATED: Looking for Halloween activities for kids? I’ve put together a great list!
This sensory bin enhances not only texture but also the exploration of sound. He sends multiple signals to his brain as he plays, strengthening his intelligence.
He strengthens his fine motor muscles by opening and closing the skeleton containers.
Yes! Sign me up!!!
Yet if beans are not your ideal sensory bin filler, look at these five secrets that support sensory play for alternative ideas.
Another fun addition to sensory bins is animal toys. I’ve listed all our favorites in one place.
Setting up this skeleton sensory bin
I used four bags of black beans for this sensory bin. Open them up and pour them in.
Next, I removed the plastic skeleton heads and placed them on the beans.
The final step was inviting my preschooler to play! And since he was already right by my side, he jumped in without hesitance.
PRO TIP: If your child is not interested in your play prompt, leave it out. Kids almost always circle back when we do not hover.
I picked these Halloween sensory supplies because the items listed have many uses. Use the plastic skeleton heads for a fun scavenger hunt and the black beans with funnels and measuring cups.
Remember, with sensory play, less is more. We don’t need a ton of supplies.
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Let’s talk cleanup
Can cleanup be a drag? Absolutely.
My formula for any kid activity is that it is a winner if the playtime is longer than set up and clean up combined.
My five-year-old did not want to pick up all the beans after he had played for 22 minutes. But with a little effort from the two of us, we finished it in record time.
Black beans on a white carpet are pretty simple to scoop up. (when the boys were toddlers, we played with beans on our back deck, and it created all sorts of plants growing between the decking)
Like most things, we all get a little smarter with practice.
RELATED: If you want more Halloween sensory play ideas, check out Halloween messy sensory play and eyeball soup.
1. dry black beans 2. orange rice 3. purple rice 4. plastic eyes 5. plastic bones 6. plastic skeleton heads 7. plastic bones 8. plastic ring spiders 9. mini cauldron 10. green water beads 11. orange water beads 12. cooked spaghetti. Find the BEST Halloween activities for kids here.
Nope! I prefer using an under-the-bed storage bin and a black mat. Find everything you need to introduce sensory play here.
My favorite Halloween sensory play is this witch’s brew water sensory bin. We played it 365 days ago, and my preschool still asks for it! Now that it is getting closer to fall, he can set it up on his own to play.