Need a quick and easy activity? Try this puzzle hunt sensory bin!
Give me a toddler and a rice bin ANY DAY because those two are like peas and carrots. You wouldn’t know it from the outside that dry rice and toddlers are MFEO (made for each other) but they totally are. Toddlers love a good rice bin moment and this puzzle hunt sensory bin is amazing for all the right reasons.
Rice bins are THE BEST with toddlers and one of my favorites. I’ve dyed rice rainbow, we’ve added our trash to it (clean, recycled trash), we’ve even put it into a kiddie pool for one massive rice bin. The takeaway message: rice bins are awesome.
Making a puzzle hunt sensory bin is super easy.
But how can you take these sensory bins up a notch?
How can you make something so fantastic even more fantastic?
By adding in your toddlers favorite puzzle that’s how. I used alphabet letters, but this shape version from Fun with Mama is awesome too!
Here’s what I did (and some tips for keeping this sensory bin tidy-ish)
I know that seeing my 2.5 year old playing with rice on a floor gives a lot of parents the creepies. I get that. But I also know that there was WAY LESS mess in cleaning this up than from the kids at dinner later that night…
So what I’m saying is: give sensory bins a chance just like you give dinner a chance every night (wink).
But what about THE MESS.
There really wasn’t one. I need a dust pan to sweep the droppings up.
Because I’ve taught my daughter how to use sensory bins and how to NOT use them. She knows the “rules”. Rome and sensory bin etiquette were not built in a day. And just like dinner time, I knew that by practicing with her and providing boundaries, she would learn not to throw rice while playing. Now if I could only get her to understand how to eat dinner as clean as she plays with rice…
My quick, quick set up.
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- Alphabet puzzle
- Storage container (this one is about 17 quarts)
- 2lbs rice
I took the rice and dumped it into a storage container that’s just a little bigger than a shoe box. I’ve had this rice for about 2 years now and it’s doing great all sealed up in a resealable zipper bag.
How I made this is 3-in-1 activity
Looks like a simple activity, right? Except, that I turned this into a 3-part activity.
First, my 2.5 year old helped me hide her puzzle piece – she took almost 5 minutes to do this, carefully burying each letter and deep in imaginary play as she worked.
Second, the actual activity: find the puzzle pieces and get them back into the puzzle.
Third, free play at the end.
Opening this up to free play is where it’s at!
Once she had finished – her little imagination took over. She built “sand castles” with the letters, found and reburied them, apparently letter W and letter P couldn’t find their babies… It was a whole big production that last 20 minutes .
TWENTY MINUTES with a bag of rice and a puzzle.
This puzzle hunt sensory bin isn’t the fancies activity but it’s a solid classic that your toddler can play over and over. It’s these easy little activities that make toddler life so special and so fun – and helps us parents make it to nap time.