Looking for a fun winter sensory bin? This activity fits the bill: wintry, easy, and engaging for your child. Winter activities do not need to be complicated, and this simple indoor activity proves it.
Why make a winter sensory bin?
The backstory is: I kept seeing gorgeous this winter sensory bin on Instagram and I got a little “insta-jealous.” In so many snowy sensory bins, the set ups are complicated and gorgeous…. but that’s the problem.
I live in the real world with real kids and real supplies, so I don’t care how beautiful a sensory bin is. I care how effective it is.
And this winter sensory bin set up that I made (though it will win no awards for beauty) had my daughter hooked for 45 minutes.
Update for 2022: This sensory bin is from 2018. My daughter was almost 4. She’s asked for me to remake this bin for her every winter since the first. This is her favorite of all the sensory bins I’ve ever made.
RELATED: Looking for other easy sensory bin ideas? Check out this page. It’s full of them!
What is in this winter sensory bin?
A box of baking soda, my friend (bi-carbonate soda)!
I dumped an entire box of baking soda into the lid of a disposable casserole dish (left over from Thanksgiving) and boom: my version of the Pinterest-worthy (or un-worthy) winter sensory bin.
Yep: just baking soda.
No fancy anything.
RELATED: What are the benefits of sensory bins and why are they important? Find out here.
- Baking soda – yes, I buy this in bulk now from Target or Costco
- Plastic lid or other small sensory bin
- Holiday trees from my Christmas village
- Paw Patrol characters – we love the pups! Between birthdays and holidays, we’ve collected them all one-by-one
Baking soda is so fun to play with in this winter sensory bin. It has a great texture and almost feels cool to the touch, just like real snow.
Is baking soda taste safe?
I would NOT recommend this bin for a child who still explores with their mouth and is likely to lick it or eat it.
Baking soda can be very harmful if large amounts are ingested (see this post from Poison Control).
My daughter (nearly 4 here) does not lick or ingest bins. We went over that as we began the activity and thankfully, with the bad taste of baking soda, it’s a great deterrent to eating any.
Make sure to use good judgement and supervision with this (and every) activity.
RELATED: Curious how I introduced sensory bins to my kids? I have a post about that.
What my daughter did with her winter sensory bin
The Paw Patrollers were the stars of this baking soda show.
My daughter LOVES her pups so I wanted to fill this bin with something she LOVES to play with. It’s so important that we use what our kids love even if it’s not the most Pinterest-worthy product.
Activities are more special and more fun when they have a connection to the child. Of course using adorable woodland animals and other winter toys would have been more beautiful, but these pups are more her style.
Her favorite toy in a winter sensory bin…. she LOVED IT.
Here are some other activities we’ve done with her beloved pups:
Frequently Asked Questions
To reiterate: baking soda is a cooking supply but is NOT SAFE when consumed in large, mass quantities. Do not leave a young child unattended with this amount of baking soda. For more information, please see this article from Poison Control.
Over the course of my kids’ early life, they would get 1 pup and vehicle for birthdays or Christmas. Multiply this by 3 children, and we had collected all the pups and vehicles in no time. Here is an example of the kind of pup and truck we bought.
I do! We love instant snow. This snow is our favorite kind. It’s not reusable like the baking soda is (you can bag up the baking soda and use it again for other bins or science experiments) but is fun from time to time.
Susie Allison, M. Ed
Susie Allison is the creator of Busy Toddler and has more than 2 million followers on Instagram. A former teacher and early childhood education advocate, Susie’s parenting book “Busy Toddler’s Guide to Actual Parenting” is available on Amazon.
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