Make a dumping station for your toddler!
Let’s be a little brave, friends and build a dumping station for your toddler. Hear me out: toddlers love to dump. They love to make messes and they love learning with their senses so why not give the people what they want?
For this activity, I created a dumping station for my 17 month old as a perfect “baby’s first sensory bin” for her. It was a very controlled situation and she loved it. I’ll sell you on this idea. Promise.
Building a dumping station is so easy!
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- Pourable sensory base – I picked rice, since it pours well, is reasonably edible, and cleans up easily. My rice is dyed rainbow colors from this fun little rice activity we did a few months ago.
- Storage tub
- Stacking cups
To set up this station, I grabbed our bag of rainbow rice (I’ve had this rice for almost 18 months now…) and filled my toddler’s stacking cups with rice. I also added in a few empty containers just in case she’d want to pour into something.
My 17 month old, Kate, has had plenty of experience with sensory bins (like corn meal bin and rainbow Oobleck) so she understands some of the basics: they are for play, for fun, and not to be eaten.
Oh and that we keep things clean. Toddlers aren’t born knowing that they need to keep sensory bins in check – that’s kind of a “needs to be taught” skill. After months of watching brother keep things tidy and hearing it from my mouth on repeat, Kate is finally understanding this. Hallelujah!
This dumping station went over incredibly well!
She was beyond excited to dump each little cup into the large storage bin. So much hand eye coordination and grip strength to tip those cups!
I found this set up perfect for a young toddler who might be overwhelmed by the open ended possibilities of a sensory bin. This gave Kate a place to “start” and she let her imagination go wild from this great jumping off point.
She did have a few errant pours and would “UH OH!” at the mess and help put it back in the bin. Thank goodness for vacuums. And thank goodness she recognized that rice on the carpet isn’t what we were going for.
Once all the cups were dumped, I refilled them again. We played this on repeat for 19 minutes. Can you believe it? Something held her attention for 19 minutes! It was amazing.
This dumping station was a great way to set up and present a sensory bin to a young toddler who may be unable to scoop on their own. It was the perfect Bin 101 activity for my girl! We give it two huge thumbs up.
We can’t wait to play dumping station again soon!
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