Last year I started using a sensory bin in our classroom!   It was something I had seen and wanted (huge shoutout to A Differentiated Kindergarten for her awesome sensory bin inspirations!) so I finally jumped in last year!   This has been a great addition to our hippopotamus time!  The ‘staches love it!  It’s engaging and easily differentiated!   And it can get messy….and you know I love me a good mess!
Our sensory bin is nothing fancy!   A plastic tub.  And it sits in a stand made of PVC pipe!   (I’m clearly on a mission to make my classroom all PVC pipe!)
What makes the sensory bin so GREG-TASTIC is what goes inside!   With some fairly cheap and easy items and some differentiated academic components, you have a super fun center/workstation/hippopotamus for your class!
Here’s how I differentiate my sensory bin:
I copy recording sheets on different color paper!  The color of the paper matches the color of the group for centers.  
When I create sensory bin resources, I create two different levels.   The recording sheets have the same images so the ‘staches know what they’re looking for in the sensory bin!
For example:  I made dinosaur bones and feet for CVC words and CVC-E words.  The pink and purple group had dino feet on their pink and purple recording sheet.  So they would grab a pink or purple recording sheet and because it has feet on it, they know to look for feet!   Same with the blue and green group and CVC words on the bones!  
Clear as mud?!
So here are 13 of our sensory bin ideas!
Halloween fun!   Oats and rubber critters from the Dollar Tree made a fun Halloween sensory bin!  (The oats are messy but easy to clean up!)
Outer space!   These are aquarium rocks!   $5 for a bag and you have a fun space themed sensory bin!
Click the picture to see my Space research creation!
Fairy Tales!   This is salt that I colored with food coloring!   Yep, salt!   I add in our letter gems and you have a magical fairy tale sensory bin!  Wanna see how we made letter gems?   Check out our post here!

Dinosaurs!   Floral moss from the Dollar Tree, some shells from Dollar Tree and plastic dinosaurs from Amazon!   ROAR!   (CLICK HERE to see the dinos on Amazon!)

Click the picture to see my Dinosaur research creation!
 Zoo!   This was perfect for the weeks leading up to the zoo trip!   Green Crayola sand!  And lion and tiger word cards!  

Halloween!   Shredded paper!  This was my least favorite sensory bin filler.   The paper sticks together and comes out in a giant clump!   Won’t be using this again!
Click the picture to see my blackline Zombie and Witch centers!

 Valentine’s Day!   This is a favorite!  CARAMEL scented rice!   I bought caramel extract and added a few drops to bags of rice and mixed!   The whole classroom smelled like caramel for weeks!   Add in some acrylic hearts from Dollar Tree and BAM!   
Christmas/Holiday!   I dyed pasta red and green for a festive feel!   Add in ornaments and trees to differentiate learning!  BAM!

Click the picture to see my blackline Christmas tree centers!
 Football!   Beans and rubber footballs from Party City!   I added word cards from my What Does The Fox Say CVC Word edition and BAM!   Great fall sensory bin!
Click the picture to see my What Does The Fox Say Word Work Bundle!
Winter!  Epsom salt and blue gems from Dollar Tree create a winter wonderland!
Click the picture to see my blackline blizzard center creation!
Another fall idea!  Oats and acrylic pumpkins, acorns and leaves from Dollar Tree!   
St. Patrick’s Day!  Metallic beans!   I used liquid metallic watercolor paint to make gold and silver beans!   They were so shiny and sparkly!  You know how I love sparkly things!
Add in some shamrocks and you’ve got a sensory bin fit for your leprechauns!

Click to see my blackline St. Patrick’s Day zombie creation!
Easter!  Easter basket grass.  Plastic eggs.  Each egg is labeled with sight words!  They match the sight words and write or color!  
Click the picture to see my post about my plastic egg math and literacy center ideas!
And that’s how we use our sensory bin!

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  • Reply Stacy Steen September 2, 2015 at 3:26 pm

    Do you have the measurements of you sensory bin? What I would need to make it? This looks like a perfect “lego” project for the Hubs!!!

  • Reply Dream Believe Inspire March 18, 2016 at 2:36 am

    This is amazing. It will be great for Sensory Processing Disorder children. How do you make the colored salt and the crayon colored rice? Thanks for sharing this.

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