Make a Sensory Bin for Sensory Play and Exploration

Learn how to make a sensory bin for stimulating sensory, imaginative and fine motor play.


Sensory bins are easy to make, and can be put together quickly, for very little cost, using items that you have around the house.

If you’ve never made a sensory bin before, you and your child are in for so much fun! A sensory bin can provide hours of imaginative, open-ended play and skill development. Sensory bin play is great for strengthening fine-motor skills, introducing new vocabulary, exploring new and unfamiliar materials, and of course, a sensory bin is awesome for engaging your child’s senses.



First, you’ll want to think about:  

  • what kind of container to use for your sensory bin
  • a theme for your sensory bin
  • what to use as a base for your sensory bin
  • toys/materials to fill your bin with
  • tools and instruments to provide with your sensory bin


Ok!  Let’s get started!


First you need a container to make your sensory bin in.  The size of your container will depend on how many children will be playing with it.

If just one child will be playing at the bin, your container can be fairly small.  I often use:

  • a shallow cardboard box
  • a foil roasting pan
  • a small baking dish
  • a shallow Tupperware container

For 2 or more children, you’ll want a larger container so the kids can gather around it comfortably. Some of my favorite containers for larger sensory bins are:

  • a new, un-used litter box
  • large, shallow cardboard box
  • shallow storage container


For your theme, it’s always fun to choose something that your child is passionate about. You can always choose a theme that is new to your child too, as that will offer lots of opportunity for learning.  Dinosaurs, farm, ocean and construction themes are always popular here.

Fill Your Bin With:

For the inside of your bin, the possibilities are endless.  Rice, cotton balls, corn kernels all make for wonderful bin fillers.  Encourage your child to go along with his or her theme and bring size appropriate toys into the bin.  This is a wonderful activity and your child will enjoy taking the project from start to finish!

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