Sensory bins are great for toddler play and developing fine motor skills but many parents shy away from them due to the potential mess.
I came across the idea of using a birdseed bin OUTSIDE and I liked the sound of that. 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 a plastic storage bin. I went around the house and collected tools that would be good for scooping and collecting. We have this fine motor tool set and it is perfect 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! It provided a good 30 minutes of unstructured play that engaged my toddler. 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”.