Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Easy Ocean Sensory Bin for Toddlers & Preschoolers

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If you're looking for ocean themed sensory activities for toddlers and preschoolers, then look no further than this super simple ocean sensory bin. 

I put together this ocean animal sensory bin shortly after my sons' birthdays back in September and the inspiration for it was tissue paper. Yes, tissue paper.

Let me explain. There was a bunch of blue tissue paper bunched up in gift bags and they just looked like ocean waves to me. So I figured that the tissue paper would make an excellent base for an ocean sensory bin for my boys. And I was right. Obviously.

So I know that the inspiration for this sensory activity was a bit unusual. I mean who gets inspired by tissue paper at a kids' birthday party? Obviously me. But seriously, the tissue paper looks so pretty in this sensory bin, don't you think?

Ocean themed sensory bin for toddlers and preschoolers

Ocean Sensory Bin for Kids: What's You'll Need

I promise that this activity only takes a couple of seconds to put together. It's basically one of those dump and go style ideas. Here's what we used for this ocean themed sensory bin:

  • Blue tissue paper - Upcycled from birthday presents and used to create tissue paper ocean waves
  • Seashells - Because every good ocean sensory play idea requires seashells
First, create a paper ocean at the bottom of a plastic container with the blue tissue paper. Try to create waves out of the tissue paper as best as you can. Try bunching the tissue paper or adding multiple layers to create some bigger "waves."

Then add seashells and sea creatures and that's it. You're ready for a bit of ocean sensory play! If you wanted to sneak in some extra learning, you could label the seashells with some letters or sight words, but that's totally optional.

Ocean sensory bin with tissue paper for toddlers and preschoolers

Ocean themed sensory bin with tissue paper for toddlers and preschoolers

A Simple Ocean Sensory Play Activity that's Perfect for Toddlers & Preschoolers!

Four year old K decided to really chill out with this sensory bin. He put on his headphones and turned on my MP3 player to listen to some tunes and audiobooks while he played. It was so eerily quiet while he played. Seriously why did I not think to pair some headphones with a sensory play activity before? Talk about a game-changer!

Preschooler playing with ocean toys in a sensory bin

So if you're in need of some quiet and calm in your house, then maybe you want to try pairing headphones with this sensory bin. I highly recommend it! You could totally keep it on theme too. Just play some soothing ocean sounds for your kids to really amp up that sensory experience.

Close up of a preschooler wearing headphones and playing with blue tissue paper in a sensory bin

Anyway moving on...K really loved to stack the fish on the sea shells, pretending they were beds for the ocean creatures. Then he would gently tuck the creatures into some waves, by pulling the tissue paper over top. Night night, ocean creatures. Time for sleep.

Close up of preschooler's hands in an ocean themed sensory bin

Close up of preschooler's hands in an ocean themed sensory bin

Preschooler holding toys in an ocean sensory play activity

And there you have it! A super simple no-prep ocean sensory bin. I just know your kids are going to love it!

More Sensory Bin Ideas the Kids Will Love

Ocean sensory bin for toddlers and preschool kids