Sunday, September 01, 2013

Gruffalo Sensory Bin Activity for Kids

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Toddlers and preschoolers are going to love this fun Gruffalo sensory bin! It's inspired by the classic children's book The Gruffalo and is great for retelling the story.

My kids and I adore the book The Gruffalo. It's such a fun story! We've read it more times than I can count.

And, for the longest of time, I thought it would be fun to make a sensory bin inspired by the book.

In the book, the mouse takes a stroll through the deep dark woods. Along the way, he describes various characteristics of the Gruffalo to various creatures that he encounters.

These rich sensory details that the mouse gives about the Gruffalo were perfect for creating this Gruffalo sensory bin.

Gruffalo activity idea for kids: make a sensory bin inspired by the book The Gruffalo!

Gruffalo Sensory Bin: What You'll Need

Obviously this activity is inspired by the book The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson. It's a classic and absolutely one of my favorite stories to read to the boys. I used the different scenes and descriptions from the book to bring the character of the Gruffalo to life by using the following items in this fun sensory bin:

  • Small orange plastic eggs - Use a black permanent marker to draw the Gruffalo's orange eyes
  • Large green pom pom - For the poisonous wart on the end of the Gruffalo's nose, of course
  • White dried beans - Represents the terrible teeth of the Gruffalo. Small rocks would work well too. Or you could try other edible small materials such as marshmallows.
  • Black ribbon - For the black tongue, just like in The Gruffalo book
  • 2 probiotic yogurt drink containers, labels removed - These represent the Gruffalo's terrible tusks and double up as tools for scooping the colored rice
  • Brown chenille sock, cut into strips - For the Gruffalo's fur
  • Purple colored rice for the purple prickles - The rice is dyed with washable liquid watercolor
  • disposable latex gloves (one filled with water and the other with popcorn kernels, but you can use whatever) - For the Gruffalo's terrible claws
Just add all of the materials into a large plastic container and this book themed sensory bin is ready to go!

Gruffalo sensory bin for toddlers and preschoolers

Close up of sensory gloves in the Gruffalo sensory bin

Your Kids are Going to Love this Gruffalo Sensory Box!

My oldest, J, has a habit of throwing colored rice everywhere. So since it was a gorgeous day out, we decided to take this sensory bin activity outside. That way the kids could feel free to make as much mess as possible. And I didn't have to worry too much about the cleanup part.

Anyway, the kids had a blast with this sensory activity. First, K played with the orange eyes, happily opening and closing the eggs.

Toddler playing with a Gruffalo inspired sensory bin

Toddler playing with orange plastic egg in a sensory bin

J also enjoyed the eyes, but he preferred to fill them up with purple prickles (colored rice) and teeth (white beans). Then he shook them like they were maracas.

Preschooler playing with rice and plastic eggs in a Gruffalo inspired activity

The next thing the boys were curious about in this sensory bin was the Gruffalo's terrible claws. AKA the sensory gloves. The boys had never seen anything quite like them before. I think these gloves were a great addition to the sensory bin and such a neat way to bring this particular description of the Gruffalo to life.

Toddler exploring Gruffalo sensory bin activity

Toddler exploring materials in a Gruffalo sensory bin

Preschooler playing with a sensory glove in a Gruffalo themed sensory activity

Next, K decided to reenact the book by putting the poisonous wart (the large green pom pom) on J's head. 

Toddler retelling The Gruffalo by placing a poisonous wart

Er...I mean in his mouth...I mean we do tend to go all in when it comes to sensory activities and themed activities like this. Annnnnd he is a toddler so...

Toddler mouthing a large green pom pom as part of a Gruffalo sensory activity

Ummm...perhaps on the end of his nose? Yes, that looks better! Now it's just like in the book. That's why book themed activities are so awesome. It's a great way to bring the story to life.

Toddler pretending to be the Gruffalo with a poisonous wart on the end of his nose

The boys then moved on to playing with the dyed rice. Rice is such a fun sensory bin filler and one that my kids have enjoyed many, many times. The kids used the Gruffalo's terrible tusks (the white yogurt drink containers, in this case) to scoop the rice.

Two kids playing with a gruffalo sensory bin

Then K slowed down and decided to pick up individual grains of rice and put them in the cup, one at a time. Could this become a Gruffalo counting activity perhaps?

Toddler playing with colored rice as part of a Gruffalo activity

I've said it before, and I will say it once again...No sensory bin is complete around here until someone has stepped right into the bin. And, of course, this Gruffalo sensory bin was no exception.

Toddler standing in a Gruffalo sensory bin with dyed rice

Other Gruffalo Book Inspired Activities You'll Love