I’ve been a big fan of sensory bins for a while now (see my preschool pinterest board), but the closest thing we’ve gotten to them was our big vat of beans last year. I took that out of rotation after a while, because it wasn’t holding interest. Well when I found these awesome supposed to be drawer organizer tray things at Marshalls a few weeks back I knew I had to try the bins out. They are a bit smaller than I would have liked, but for Tuesday’s little shelves in the dining room they work perfectly.
I’ve since learned they come in other colors, but the green, besides being outright awesome, totally reminded me of grass so I thought it would be an extra fun base to the bins.
I just ran around the house during a nap time and found random things to entice her to experience this activity. Pom-poms, small farm animals (left over from a college art project), cardboard tubes, some math blocks I found at a teacher’s garage sale (it was epic), a jar of shells, rocks and feathers she’s collected, bigger rocks, and buckwheat as the base material (from when I thought I would cook buckwheat… it never happened).
The bin sits on top of a thrifted set of shelves that usually hold her nature table, some books, and whatever she is really into (right now calico critters). I just added the bin, made from chinese newspapers, to hold those annoying purses she can’t live with out. I got the bin at Marshalls… Sciarrino and I seriously had the most epic shopping day, found everything we wanted and more, and it was all on sale. So fun. Anyway this is tucked in a small corner of our small dining room:
The kitchen is across from it, and both Bj and my offices are through that hallway so it’s really central. I like having this here as a dedicated space for her things instead of always having to pick up after her.
To introduce the sensory bin… I did nothing. I wanted her to find it. And she did, when I was out of the room (she was with her nana). She said it was “cool” and then stared at it asking us questions about it the whole time she ate (she got up really late from her nap).
In my mind there was no wrong way she could play with these bins, but I admit I figured she would go the animal pretend route since she loves that. Since I’m sure you’ll never ever ever guess what she came up with after encountering this, I’ll tell you: pretend hairdresser. I know, what?!?! She had us sit down (or a doll) and would go back and forth to the bin getting different “things” and “piggies” for our hair. Brush it with the feathers, rub it with the rocks, and other really random stuff. Totally awesome imagination, but I was like, where is this coming from!?!? Kids are so funny.
She had to be taught to clean up the bits of buckwheat that went everywhere. Nana is helping her here. I do insist that she clean up the mess, if she makes one, from this before she goes onto another activity. That wasn’t met with a very good response the first time, but she knows she has to do it now. And if she is really trying and can’t get every last piece I’ll help her out. All in all I like these bins, I’m sure I’ll try different variations. Though I do need to find a new place for the nature table, as she misses it and still calls this spot, “nature table”. I really am coveting this sensory table with a drain (the possibilities!), but am thinking about trying to make a homemade version. I wish I could find clear lidded bins like that with drains already in them.
Get ready for more school posts. We have noticed some behavior in Tuesday that makes me think we just have to get her sleep thing figured out and get a little most structure to her days, so I’m going to start working on that. Perhaps a dedicated school time would be helpful. Though I do really like unschooling, I think some Montessori activities at this age would be a huge hit, and give her mornings a nice purpose (she does so love to feel useful). I’m just trying to go with the flow.