Discover Sensory bins as a tool to help navigate learning.
2020 is a messy year.
One word: Chaos. Our planners went into the trash. Our routines went out the window.
With many at home full-time doing virtual learning or at home part-time doing hybrid learning, how can we help calm the storm for our children?
As an autism teacher, I deal with numerous behaviors from spitting to hitting to property destruction to eloping. Why? One word: chaos. A simple change in plans for my students can alter their whole day. How do I calm the storm in the classroom? Sensory Bins!
Here’s a list of my favorite sensory bins (and cheap- hello Dollar Tree #teacherbudget):
1. The “have a broom and vacuum on hand” bins:
- Colored rice: Add rice to a container, add food coloring, drizzle ½ teaspoon of vinegar, shake, spread on tray, and wait to dry. (Pop in the oven for a few minutes to dry quicker.)
- Colored pasta: Add pasta to a bag, add some rubbing alcohol and food coloring (amount depends on the coloring you want), mix, sit for 15 minutes, spread on a tray and wait to dry.
- Farm themed: Cornmeal, chickpeas, or corn kernels. Add in tractors and farm animals.
- Construction themed: Black beans or brown sugar. Add in construction trucks and paper towel rolls.
2. The “two-for-one deal” bins:
Play + a Snack!
- Pudding: Add some carrots in pudding and bam, you have a carrot farm! How many carrots can you pick?
- Jello: Blue colored jello, plus ducks and frogs … and you have a pond.
- Whipped Cream: Add an airplane or helicopter to play in the “sky.”
- Apple themed: Apple Jacks and cinnamon sticks. Add in fake apples (or get crazy and use real apples).
- Goldilocks and the Three Bears: Oatmeal. Add in a toy bear and Little People girl.
3. The “heck yes, this is free” bins:
- … Add dinosaurs, insects (I prefer fake insects!), monster trucks.
4. The “this counts as a bath too, right?” bins:
- Car Wash: bucket of water and a bucket of soapy water. Add dirty hot wheels to clean.
- Farm themed: a bucket of water and a bucket of soapy water. Add dirty farm animals to clean.
- Mix colors: cups of water and food coloring. Get a dropper and work on fine motor skills.
- Ice cubes: Water and ice cubes. Add polar animals for an Arctic adventure.
5. The “grab the wine, because we’re about to get messy” bins:
- Moon Sand: 4 cups of flour, 1 cup of coconut oil. Mix.
- Oobleck: 2 cups cornstarch and 1 cup water. Stir. Add food coloring.
- Fake Snow: 2 cups baking soda and ½ cup of cheap Suave shampoo (white). Mix.