Sunday, December 29, 2013

Sparkly Winter Sensory Bin with Snowflake Alphabet Letters

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Looking for winter sensory bin ideas? Then try this sparkly winter sensory bin with snowflake alphabet letters.

Some of my favorite things about winter are freshly fallen snow and hoar frost.

I especially love how freshly fallen snow and hoar frost sparkle. So I attempted to recreate that look in a winter sensory bin using glitter.

Now, I am not a big fan of glitter to begin with, but I braved (and almost fully embraced) glitter in order to make this snowflake sensory bin. And I think it was worth it (even if I did find glitter for weeks...).

Winter sensory bin idea with snowflake alphabet letters

A version of this post originally appeared on the CBC Parents website.

Sparkly Winter Sensory Bin: What You'll Need

Ready to give this sensory bin idea a try? Here's what we used:

  • Dish soap - I also had some vanilla brown sugar body wash that I tossed in too.
  • Splash of water - To help make our soap foam nice and bubbly.
  • Electric hand mixer - To whip up our soap foam mixture.
  • Small mirror snowflakes (optional) - I found these at the dollar store.

First, you need to make the soap foam. To do so, simply mix dish soap with a splash of water using an electric hand mixer. How much soap you will need will depend on the size of the container you are using for the sensory bin. Feel free to add glitter as well while mixing up the soap foam. It is optional, but it is a nice way to reflect the way freshly fallen snow sparkles.

Since I added some body wash, our soap foam ended up scented. It had a faint smell of vanilla, which was an added sensory bonus! However, it made our soap foam a bit yellowish in color, which is totally okay.

Sparkly winter sensory bin with foam snowflakes and snowflake alphabet letters

Next, I wrote the letters of the alphabet on the mirror snowflakes using a black permanent marker and added those to the sensory bin. If you can't find anything similar to the mirror snowflakes that we used, that's okay. You can simply label the foam snowflakes instead. I added plain foam snowflakes to the bin as well.

Part of the reason I wanted to label the snowflakes with letters is because my oldest, J, is really into letters. And when you have a hyperlexic child like I do, the best way to get a little buy-in from them is to use their passion and interest, which for most hyperlexic kids, is their interest in letters. So the inclusion of the snowflake letters really piqued J's interest in this sensory bin. However, labeling the snowflakes is optional.

Sparkly winter sensory bin with foam snowflakes and snowflake alphabet letters

Time to Play with the Winter Sensory Bin & Snowflake Alphabet Letters!

K, who is two, was really interested in the letter snowflakes, carefully them out of the soap foam.

Toddler picking snowflakes out of a winter sensory bin

Then K would happily identify the letters that he found. "It's B!"

Close up of child's hands holding a small snowflake labeled with a letter

Four year old J spent some time searching for letters, but then decided to play with the plain foam snowflakes instead, which was a bit surprising.

Close up of hand picking snowflakes out of a winter sensory bin

The fun thing about craft foam is that it sticks to things when wet. So J decorated the side of the bin with the foam snowflakes, which made the sensory bin feel even more wintery.

Preschool child picking snowflakes out of a winter sensory bin

Despite finding glitter for days (okay, weeks) after setting up this sparkly winter sensory bin, I love how simple and pretty it was. I kind of wish that I had thought to put the soap foam in the freezer for a bit so that it would have felt cold like real snow too. That would have been really fun too!

Winter sensory bin with snowflake alphabet letters for toddlers and preschool kids