Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Music Themed Sensory Bin

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In my piano studio, I have a vinyl decal (that I made) that says, "Without music, life would be flat."  It's true.  Music plays such an important role in my life, especially since I am a piano teacher.  As a result of my teaching, my boys have developed a love for music at a very young age.  It's not surprising that they particularly enjoy the piano and listening to classical music.  So to celebrate our love of music, I put together this music themed sensory bin, which is also baby friendly, making it good for even the littlest of sensory explorers.

Music themed sensory bin from And Next Comes L

To make this sensory bin, I printed off some classical piano sheet music from online.  There are plenty of databases to download classical sheet music from since a lot of it is no longer copyright protected.  My favorite site can be found here.  For this bin, you can print off any sheet music you'd like.  Beethoven and Brahms, however, are two of my favorite composers, so I chose to print off some of their sheet music.  I talked about these amazing composers with my boys, albeit very briefly, which paid off though because two days later, J was talking away about Beethoven.  Once you pick your sheet music, shred it up.  The boys always find paper shredding entertaining.

Music themed sensory bin from And Next Comes L

Close up of music themed sensory bin from And Next Comes L

Other items in this sensory bin included: some small instruments such as maracas, rice filled egg shakers (I made my own so you could too), and a cowbell.  I also cut out music notes, rests, and dynamic markings from black felt and black craft foam.  These items gave me a chance to talk about what the different musical symbols mean.  Staccatos or short notes in music were also included in the form of large black pom poms.  Perhaps the most popular item, though, was the metronome.  I knew that I had to include it in the sensory bin since the boys frequently steal it from my piano room.  My metronome has a name.  It's Mr. 500 (see picture for why).  My beginner piano students always get a kick of the fact that my metronome has a name.  The metronome is a popular item in our house because the boys absolutely love to adjust the knob to make it click at different speeds.  And it's a perfect tool for exploring the concept of rhythm!

Metronome in a music themed sensory bin from And Next Comes L

J explored this sensory bin first since K was napping.  He began by pulling out the different music symbols.

J exploring the music themed sensory bin from And Next Comes L

Then he slowly pulled out all the shredded sheet music.

J exploring the music themed sensory bin from And Next Comes L

And then he tossed it onto the floor!

J exploring the music themed sensory bin from And Next Comes L

When J finally came across the metronome, we started shaking the maracas and egg shakers in time with the metronome.  Like I mentioned above, the metronome is an awesome way to explore the concept of rhythm.

J shaking maracas to the beat from And Next Comes L

Later that day, K had a chance to check out the sensory bin.  He reached for the maracas first.

K checking out the music themed sensory bin from And Next Comes L

But who needs a maraca when there's a metronome!

K and the metronome from And Next Comes L

Then K had to dump the bin and climb on it.  Makes sense to me.

K standing on the music themed sensory bin from And Next Comes L

J joined in alongside K for another round of sensory play.  They happily scattered shredded paper everywhere.

J and K exploring the music themed sensory bin from And Next Comes L

This picture is perhaps my favorite from this activity.

J among shredded sheet music from And Next Comes L

And just so you know how fun this sensory bin is...everyone and their cat will want to play with it!  See.  Even our one cat, Scooter, couldn't resist playing with the pom pom staccatos.

The cat enjoying some sensory play from And Next Comes L

This post originally ran as a guest post on House of Burke on May 17, 2013.  You can see the original post here.

Music Fun for Your Little One Series from And Next Comes L
And don't forget to join us all week for more "Music Fun for Your Little One" activities! Or check out the other posts in this series:
Four Music Games for Toddlers & Preschoolers {And Next Comes L}
Giant Chalk Keyboard {And Next Comes L}
Homemade Rainbow Xylophone {And Next Comes L}
Piano Quiet Book Page {And Next Comes L}
Musical Hide and Seek {And Next Comes L}


  1. Very cute bin! Thanks for sharing at Mom's Library!

  2. Many people find papers useless once being teared by a shredding machine. Little did they know, that it can serve another purpose. Like in your case, you were able to think of an idea that will bring fun and excitement to your children. Shredded papers are very simple, yet bring joy towards your cute little boys. Even your cat is having a good time! :)

    Ruby Badcoe @ Williams Data Management

    1. Shredded paper is definitely a lot of fun to play with! And yes, my cat likes to join in on the fun occasionally too.