Big Kid Sensory Bin – because they need activities too
I am really passionate about this activity: A big kid sensory bin. There’s a rumor that once kids hit a certain age and head into elementary school, we stop doing kids activities with them. They’re too “old” for something like a sensory bin. (Spoiler alert: no they aren’t.)
Some would argue you move from activities to workbooks because these kids need more learning. That part about workbooks is a lie but the more learning part…. I can get behind that. But it’s going to look a little different than you might expect.
RELATED: Looking for Big Kid Toys? Here’s my go-to list of open-ended favorites.
Why do big kids still need sensory bins?
Think of so many adult cubical spaces from the 1990s. Do you remember what sat on the corner of so many desks? A zen garden. For peace and calming, people would rake and tend too little boxes of sand.
In other words, adults had little tiny sensory bins on their desks to play with throughout the day. ADULTS.
Even in adulthood, we know the beautiful effects of a sensory bin on our well being – it’s not hard to see how this would still help our (older) children.
Big kids need sensory bins too.
A big kid sensory bin mean big time learning
There’s no rule out there saying sensory bins are just for early childhood or something meant only for toddlers.
(Obviously, since we know adults play with them at work!)
Sensory bins have a way of connecting with ALL children in a way that no other toy or activity does. I call sensory bins “the great equalizer” of play because only in a sensory bin will you find a toddler and a preschooler and a kindergartener and a 5th grader playing side by side.
But they will in a big kid sensory bin because sensory bins are magical.
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Here’s what I see with sensory bins:
- They’re calming
- They still provide help with teaching self-control
- They still give kids a chance for dramatic / imaginary play
- They let them learn through trial and error
- They give children a chance to practice life skills
- They learn about math concepts (volume, capacity, etc)
Sensory bins have value for big kids.
There is so much more learning in a bin than in a workbook
Here’s what big kids DO NOT need to be doing: workbooks.
Workbooks are a 2D way to learn. They give kids a chance to find one thing: the right answer. There’s no trial and error with a workbook. There’s no dramatic play or independent play.
No one actually learns from a workbook – a workbook is a chance to PRACTICE basic skills.
A sensory bin is a chance to LEARN complex skills through play.
Sensory bins are so much better for big kids than workbooks.
RELATED: Want to know more about workbooks and worksheets? Read about them here.
My big kids favorite sensory bin…
I asked my big kid (6.5) what his favorite sensory bin is: “Kinetic sand.”
I really didn’t need to ask him this – I know it’s his favorite. We keep kinetic sand out all the time and I find him there the most. He’s always playing with his kinetic sand.
In fact, when he comes home from school, this kinetic sensory bin is where he goes.
This is how he unwinds.
This is how he centers himself from a long school day.
This is his calming place.
Kind of sounds like an adult and their zen garden, huh?
Make a big kid sensory bin
Please remember that sensory bins are ageless. Big kids need them just as much as our toddlers and preschoolers.
If your big kid is coming home from school grumpy and snappy – try a big kid sensory bin with them and see the difference.
There’s something magical about sensory bins… no matter how old we are.
What will your big kid sensory bin look like?