Saturday, April 29, 2017

The Best Sensory Bin Fillers for Kids

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This big list of sensory bin fillers should inspire many sensory play ideas for you and your kids.

We have done our fair share of sensory bins over the years so I thought it was time to finally compile one great big list of sensory bin fillers for kids to try.

You can pretty much use anything in a sensory bin. There are the classics like rice, water, pom poms, or sand. Or you could try more unusual items such as cut up sponges, wood chips, or shampoo.

Whatever you choose, this list should inspire you to change up your sensory bins on a regular basis. The next great sensory bin filler for you is on this list!

Huge list of sensory bin fillers for kids

How to Pick the Right Sensory Bin Fillers for Your Child

It's a great big sensory bin world out there on the internet. Pinterest is literally filled with sensory bin ideas for kids.

But not all sensory bin filler ideas are created equal. Some just might not be a good fit for your child.

So before we get to the giant list of sensory bin filler ideas, there are a few things that you'll want to keep in mind. It's incredibly important to consider the following:

  • The age of the child - Some ideas for sensory bin fillers are just better suited for different ages. An older baby or younger toddler might do better with taste safe or edible options, for example.
  • Their development - How are their fine motor skills? Do they get easily frustrated? You might want to keep these in mind when picking materials for your next sensory bin. Maybe a pom pom sensory bin with some spoons might be a better fit than, say, water beads.
  • Their sensory preferences - Are there certain textures your kids love or hate? Do they get visually overwhelmed? You need to keep these things in mind. If you're not sure what they like or don't like, then I find that water is always a great first sensory bin filler. Or if they're likely to get visually overwhelmed, keep it simple.
  • Choking hazards - Is your child still putting everything in their mouth? Then maybe try some of the edible sensory bin filler options from the list below.
  • Their interests - What are your child's interests? What do they like to do? Can you build a sensory bin around that interest? For example, I once created a tissue paper sensory bin for my youngest since his favorite thing to do at that moment was rip stuff and I wanted to give him a safe space to do so. Seriously, tissue paper is such a fun sensory bin filler for toddlers. Highly recommend.
  • Your preferences and comfort zone - Don't feel creative? Afraid of the mess? Keeping it simple and just playing with plain white rice and some scoops it totally fine. Sensory play doesn't need to be complicated. There are tons of ideas for sensory bin fillers that will work for you and your child, no matter what your comfort level is.

The Best Sensory Bin Filler Ideas for Kids

While there are ways to use food for sensory play without being wasteful, not everyone wants to use play. That's why I've included both non food sensory bin fillers and food sensory bin materials on this list.

1. Rice

2. Oats

3. Sand

4. Dry pasta

5. Barley

6. Shaving cream

7. Beans

10. Play dough

11. Straw/hay

12. Packing peanuts

13. Chickpeas

14. Corn kernels

15. Rice noodles

18. Water

19. Shredded paper

20. Cooked spaghetti

21. Grass (fake or real)

22. Leaves (fake or real)

23. Cereal

24. Salt
29. Rocks

30. Cocoa powder

31. Baking soda

33. Pudding

34. Buttons

35. Dirt

36. Ice

37. Yogurt

38. Mud

39. Soap foam

40 .Fabric scraps

41. Cornmeal 

42. Snow

43. Coins (fake or real)

44. Flour

45. Popcorn

46. Lentils

47. Split peas

48. Baby oil

49. Tinsel

50. Ribbon

51. Spices

52. Seeds

53. Coffee grounds

54. Cornstarch

55. Frozen vegetables

56. Vegetable peelings

57. Herbs

58. Jell-O or gelatin

59. Candy

60. Nuts

61. Raffia

62. Flower petals (fake or real)

63. Potato flakes

64. Beads

65. Foam bits or blocks

66. Shredded coconut

67. Whipped cream

68. Baby cereal

69. Egg shells

70. Soap shavings

71. Corks

72. Seashells

74. Cut up straws

75. Cotton batting

76. Tissue paper

77. Crepe paper or streamers

78. Play silks or scarves

80. Balls

81. LEGO

82. Sticks

84. Yarn or string

86. Rubber bands or loom bands

87. Cut up sponges

88. Baby powder

89. Lace

91. Wood chips

92. Tree bark

93. Broken crayons

95. Slime

96. Bubble wrap

97. Acrylic vase fillers

99. Milk jug lids

100. Cut up pipe cleaners

101. Pinecones

102. Gift bows

104. Foam shapes, letters, or numbers

107. Costume jewelry

108. Moss

109. Lotion

110. Sawdust

112. Toothpaste

113. Clay

115. Paper clips

119. Puzzle pieces

120. Confetti

122. Balls of tin foil

123. Marbles

124. Cut up cardboard tubes or toilet paper rolls

125. Sequins or large glitter

127. Paint

130. Dandelions

131. Chalk dust

133. Clean mud

134. Floam

136. Pouch cap lids

137. Hair gel

138. Shampoo

139. Bird Seed

140. Cloud Dough

141. Oobleck

So hopefully you will have found your next great sensory bin filler from this giant list of sensory bin fillers. Which one was your favorite?

Other Sensory Bin Play Ideas & Resources You'll Love


A huge list of sensory bin fillers and materials - both non food and food related ideas! Great for toddlers, preschoolers, and kids of all ages!

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