Thursday, April 11, 2013

Arctic Small World Sensory Bin

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Water beads have always been a hit with the boys over the past two years.  I recently bought some new blue ones and I loved the rich blue color.  They instantly made me think of the ocean.  So I decided to use them as part of a small world for the boys to explore.  And since it's still pretty much winter around here, I thought it would be fun to incorporate some snow from outside and create an Arctic small world.

And I absolutely love how it turned out so be prepared for lots of pictures!

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  • Large plastic bin
  • Blue water beads - You could substitute water with blue food coloring if you'd prefer.
  • Large ice cubes - I froze some water in round metal tins overnight.
  • Snow - Yes, we still have an abundance of snow here so I just grabbed a bucketful from outside.
  • Safari Ltd. Arctic TOOB
A close up of the musher, an igloo, and some animals.
A close up of some of the Arctic TOOB figurines.
While K was having his nap, I set up this invitation for J to explore in the kitchen.

Exploring the Arctic with a small world sensory bin.
J initially gravitated towards the snow.

Grabbing some snow.
Then J started throwing snowballs.  Yes, snowballs in my kitchen.

"Snowball, mom!"
Throwing another snowball.  Right at me, nonetheless.
Snow on the floor.  I guess that's one way to wash my kitchen floor, right?
Now that all the snow was on the kitchen floor at this point, J started to cover the ice with the water beads.  He described the beads as blueberries as he played with them.

"Cold blueberries, mom."
Picking out a figurine.  
Covering the ice with water beads.
Once the ice was completely covered, J exclaimed, "Look.  Cookie Monster!"  Funny thing though.  We have never watched Sesame Street.  We have just read maybe one or two books where Cookie Monster makes an appearance.  So I'm not too sure where he picked that up from.  It was still cute though.

"Look, mom.  Cookie Monster!  Two of them."
J was still ignoring the figurines at this point unless it was to move them out of the way.  He chose to play with the ice next.  He picked the chunks of ice up and dropped them into the bin.  He also spent a lot of time tasting the ice.

Ice is nice.
Really nice.
Perhaps the bigger one tastes better?
Once he was done tasting the ice, he was determined to put them in the garbage.  I suggested that he place them in the sink so that they could just melt away.  He did just that, leaving the bin with just the water beads and the Arctic figurines.  So that must mean it's a perfect time to step on in.  Honestly, a sensory bin isn't successful until someone climbs in.

J getting into it...literally.
Now that the snow, ice, and water beads have been thoroughly examined, J moved onto the figurines.  He was fascinated with the caribou, which he was convinced was a goat.  He kept making it run around while making some goat noises.  

Exploring the figurines.
Then he spent a lot of time looking at the musher.

"Look, mom.  He's sledding."
At this point, K woke up from his nap.  So, naturally, he wanted to join in.  He was so fascinated with the whale figurines.

K joins the fun.
K picking out some figurines.
Then the boys spent some time swishing their hands through the water beads, eventually getting them everywhere, but they did help pick up most of them.

Hooray, for another successful sensory bin!

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  1. Loved this one!
    Neat figurines!

  2. This is so fun! I want to play.

    1.'re welcome to come play if you promise to clean everything up ;)

    2. I promise to clean up!! :)

  3. A couple months ago we did one with just water, ice, and Toob animals and my daughter loved it. I will have to buy some blue waterbeads now because this looks like even more fun.

    1. The water beads were definitely one of the best parts!

  4. I absolutely love this sensory bin...sooo fun!! Amazing the things you come up with every day!! Awesome!!

  5. Visiting from Tuesday Tots. My Family-Focused Monday hop is live now and I would love to see one of your awesome posts linked up @

    Have a wonderful week.

    1. Thanks for stopping by. I'll be sure to check it out.

  6. Loved this, I pinned it and will definitely be doing this with my little one's.