Think sensory bins need to be gorgeous? Think again.
I love seeing those gorgeous sensory set ups on my Pinterest feed. The beautiful small worlds lovingly handcrafted for a toddler to expand their horizons with. Those sensory bins are fabulous. But sensory bins don’t need to look cool to be cool.
The thing is: the goal of a sensory bin is for it to be inviting for the child and full of their imagination and personality. Who cares if it looks good?
I certainly don’t, and neither do they.
The hands down, above all else favorite sensory bin at my house is not the adorable farm set up I made once.
Or the worm infested mud pit (aka gummy worms and pudding).
It’s the “Anything Bin” which is our code name for the most special, most magical bin of all.
RELATED: Why is sensory play important? Find out why sensory is so great here!
It’s called the Anything Bin because anything goes.
Sensory bins are amazing for kids, and kids learn so much from them – but sometimes we over complicate things. Kids just want something fun to play with. What it looks like is a bit irrelevant.
So for this “Anything Bin”, I set down a storage container full of rice and asked my kids (ages 2 and 4) what the plan was.
Because I let them come up with the plan here.
The genius part of the Anything Bin is they take control and decide exactly how to play with the bin. No requirements by mom, no mom-led play, no mom-designed set up.
I provided the bin.
They provided the rest.
RELATED: Here’s how you introduce toddlers to sensory bins, and teach them how to keep bins tidy!
Here’s what they added to this Anything Bin.
This Anything Bin ended up being a mash up of two worlds: my son’s construction vehicles meeting my daughters beloved animals.
They each brought into the bin what they needed to make play happen, and play it did!
These two played for nearly 45 minutes with the Anything Bin.
Anything can happen with an Anything Bin.
I didn’t come into the Anything Bin with great expectations. Doing bins this way just sort of happened – I’ve listened to my kids enough to know that they have pretty amazing ideas of what they want to do. They usually know way better than I do what they need in a play space.
So the Anything Bin came out of my desire to watch them create their own small world sensory bin, and to leave my adult-world-expectations or vision out of it.
“Here’s your rice. What will you do with it?”
It really is stunning what all they can do with a blank sensory canvas. This is a must try. Sensory bins don’t have to be gorgeous works of art to be amazing, fulfilling, and wonderful.
Step one: fill the bin with rice.
Step two: Ask them what they want to do.
Step three: Step back.