Need to breathe some life into old puzzles? Make a Puzzle Sorting Sensory Bin.
It’s a sad day when our kids outgrow a beloved toy. That’s how I felt when I realized my precious three-year-old was outgrowing some of her most treasured chunky puzzle. I wasn’t ready to say goodbye, so I made this Puzzle Sorting Sensory Bin instead.
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How a Puzzle Sorting Sensory Bin works…
First, you need to gather a few puzzles that your child loves. Chunky puzzles work best.
These could be puzzles they’ve outgrown or ones they still love very much and play with all the time.
Next to the puzzles, I put a large bin of rice and then dumped the pieces into the rice. I buried those pieces up good! I actually set my rice bin into ANOTHER bin so I had extra room to catch any excess rice.
Finally, begin the sorting process:hunting and digging in the rice to find the right piece.
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- Chunky puzzles (here’s one of my favorites)
- Dry rice (I keep this stored in a ziplock for years….)
- Storage container
The set up is simple but the learning… oh the learning!
What is she learning here?
My daughter is working on sorting, which may seem like a simple skill to adults, but it is actually a very complex skill for children.
In this activity, she’s analyzing pieces, making decisions about them, and categorizing based on those decisions – yes, all that from a little puzzle sort.
She’s always deeply engaged in a sensory bin, which is always good for our kids. She’s learning in a tactile way, working on cause and effect, and spatial awareness (and actually so much more because sensory bins do a whole lot of good).
It’s hard to see old toys sit there!
But re-purposing them into activities is just the way to breathe a little life into them.
And the best part about this activity?
Once my daughter had finished doing THREE ROUNDS of sorting (that was all her decision), she just sat there with the puzzle pieces, letting her imagination be free, and enjoying the sensory bin as just a sensory bin; the puzzle pieces as part of her game.
Now that’s what I was hoping for with this activity – to show her other possibilities for her puzzles beyond just “puzzles”.
Grab those old puzzles! Let’s give them new life!
A few good puzzles, a bin of rice, and you’ve got yourself one quick and easy toddler activity. Now that’s a great way to make it to nap time!