Sensory bins are a wonderful way for children to practice a variety of developmental skills in a fun, engaging activity. My approach to the sensory bin is simple: dried beans + scoops + add-ins. The add-ins can be switched out seasonally, by holiday or whenever inspiration strikes.
Large tote with locking lid
3 lbs of dried pinto beans (give or take depending on size of bin)
Scoops, small containers
Add all materials to bin. That’s it!
How does it feel? (Language development)
Scoop and transfer beans into a small container. (hand-eye coordination)
Pick up individual beans. (fine motor development)
Depending on the add-ins you choose, the opportunities for early math skills are endless (think sorting, counting, more/less, etc.).
**The initial cost to fill the sensory bin can seem a bit much. (Not a lot, but $20 for a bunch of beans is not a normal purchase for me, anyways). However, the dried beans I have in my bin now have been in regular use for a loooong time. So it’s not as though that $20 investment is for only a few days of play. They should last months or even years, barring any particularly germy incidents.