Cheap & Portable Sensory Bins


Feel, see, hear, and smell: Engage early learners with their senses. Sensory play provides many opportunities to develop skills such as problem-solving, decision-making, mathematical skills, co-ordination of small and large muscle movement, fine and gross motor, creativity and much more.

So you want to have open-ended sensory-based learning but don’t have a big beautiful expensive sensory table? No problem! You can get short and long storage bins from most department stores. We got ours from Walmart. We have the big sand/water tables and as lovely as they are, I think the value in these cheap sensory bins is amazing. They stack well and take up very little for the amount of play that’s in them. You can also move them around very easily from tables to floors. We even take ours outdoors. They are also very easy to clean. We keep our sensory  in coolers in extra large ziploc bags. We change our sensory bins as interest changes. Below are some examples of the materials we use in them.

Bird sensory with split peas, birds houses, artificial plants, pine cones, and faux nests.

Dried peas with gnomes, gnome homes (made out of hot chocolate mix containers with materials and stuffing glued onto the lids, rose petals, and measuring cups.



Taking the sensory bins outside provides a calming atmosphere and environment for rich learning experiences.


Orange and black beans with pumping ice cube trays (amazing that it’s a 10 frame), hallowe’en bugs and critters from the dollar store, scoops and funnels.

Cloud dough with measuring cups, muffin cups, muffin tins, etc. Cloud dough just feels amazing. It’s hard not to touch it. It’s  parts flour to 1 part baby oil. It is always a hit!

We like to provide our learners with opportunities to add loose parts as well. This can transform any sensory bin experience into a new learning adventure.


Let us know if you give sensory bins a go. Happy mixing, pouring, and measuring!




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