My oldest, Lila, is almost 5 so I have seen these sensory bin ideas on Pinterest for a while. I have always wanted to do one but the idea of dried rice and beans all over my floor was enough to keep me away since I have a hard enough time keeping my house tidy as it is. Then when I came across the idea of using a birdseed bin outside I was sold. Not only would it provide beneficial sensory play for my toddler (and keep her busy for a few minutes!) but any mess left behind would feed the birds! Win/Win!
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I purchased some cheap birdseed and poured it in a tote I already had. I went around the house and collected tools that would be good for scooping and collecting. This fine motor tool set is great for this activity. I introduced this to my 2 1/2 year old, Willa, while Lila was at preschool so she would have free reign to experiment as she pleased (big sis tends to dominate any play activity).
This was a huge hit and I hate that I didn’t introduce this sooner or do this with my oldest while she was younger. It provided a good 30 minutes of unstructured play that engaged my toddler in tactile stimulation. She loved scooping, pouring, dumping, and just touching the seeds against her skin.
Yes, it got a little messy, as suspected, but we were outside! I swept some back into the bin and the rest was swept into the yard for the wildlife.
When my oldest came home and saw the bin she was just as excited as Willa! Both girls worked together making “pies”.
Have any of you tried sensory bins? How did you handle clean up?