St. Patrick’s Day Sensory Bin

When Grace was little, I was really an ambitious mom. I learned how to make sensory bins for her, and she loved them. I always thought they were fun at first, but then a huge pain in the arse after that.

I always left them out too long, and I picked up little pieces of whatever for weeks after.

I hadn’t put a sensory bin together since Allie was born (unless you count the bins of Barbies, doll house furniture, blocks, and books in the living room that she dumps out on a daily basis), but Grace found an old container of dried beans and played in it all afternoon a few weeks ago.

She has always loved sensory bins, so I decided to make a St. Patrick’s Day sensory bin for her and Allie.

This is one of those “It seemed like a good idea at the time.” kind of things that wasn’t a good idea at all.

It was only after our sensory bin disaster that I went back to my friend Allie’s website, and I read some of her sensory bin advice. She has a ton of it (and suggestions for different themes and materials), so if you want to know why these are good for kids, head over to No Time for Flashcards.

While we were at the dollar store, Grace asked me to make two separate bins – so she wouldn’t have to share her treasures with Allie. I knew I had more than enough stuff to fill two containers, so I agreed. Here’s Allie’s sensory bin:

St. Patrick's Day sensory bin

Materials

I pulled a couple of each thing out so that you could see what we put in:

  • Large foam shamrocks
  • Large glittery shamrocks
  • Green Easter grass (Huge mistake! This was the biggest part of the mess, and it was hard to play with the little pieces because they fell down into the grass. A couple of strings of Easter grass would have added to the sensory experience; that’s what we ended up with after fishing most of it out.)
  • Glittery St. Patrick’s Day shapes – rainbows, little shamrocks, and leprechaun hats
  • Mini maracas
  • Green sparkly fake carnations
  • Gold medals (From the party favors section – I had to take them off necklaces.)
  • Gold jingle bells
  • Green feathers
  • Green sparkly shamrocks (These were fabric, like silk flowers. Clover leaves on sticks. Weird, but fun for the bin.)
  • Green heart-shaped pony beads
  • Green and yellow foam smiley face stickers (from the teacher section – They said Good Job!)
  • Green flower beads
  • Clear and green flattened marbles in two different shapes
  • Green and gold bead necklaces, some round and some shamrocks (not in the materials picture below)
  • Green coins (not in the materials picture below)
  • Gold-wrapped chocolate coins (not in the materials picture below)
  • Small coffee scoop
  • Bug catchers (These are like Tweezers, but they have a ball at the end. They’re fun, good for fine motor skills.)
  • Kid-sized tweezers
  • Plastic SOLO cups (They are just the right size for pouring and scooping for Grace, but too big for Allie)
  • Plastic SOLO plates (I gave them plates for sorting and looking at their stuff. They didn’t really use them.)

Because we went to the dollar store, I spent $15 plus tax. I had everything else in our craft closet or kitchen. Some purple paper Easter grass from another project found its way into the bins, too, as you’ll see below.

St. Patrick's Day sensory bin

Grace helped me fill the bins, and she was playing before we were even finished. She hated the Easter grass, as did I as soon as I’d put it into the bowls.

I asked what she likes about sensory bins, and she said,

“Well, I love everything about them.”

{Of course you do.}

“That doesn’t really help. What exactly do you love about them?”

“I love pouring things back and forth in the cups. I love picking out the stuff. I love making salads and pretending to do stuff. I love that it matches the season. I can’t wait to make an Easter one!”

I had to instruct her how to pour at just the right angle so that I could take a picture of it. These skills are important when your mom is a blogger.

St. Patrick's Day sensory bin

Hurricane Allie made landfall just as we had finished filling the bins. Allie swept hers away, dumped it out on the floor, and whirled the contents across the room.

The sensory bin held her attention for five minutes, tops. Her favorite activity was swinging her hands and feet around, making the little flat marbles go zinging off into the corners of the kitchen and the dining room.

I need to be more strict with the “dump it and it’s gone” rule.

I also think I may have overwhelmed Allie with all of the different things in the bin. I think she might need a much simpler sensory bin. I’m going to try just some Fruit Loops in a pan for her and see if she does better with those.

Grace always just played when I put it in front of her, but Allie is much more challenging.

St. Patrick's Day sensory bin

Grace helped me pick up the giant mess that Allie made. I know I should’ve made Allie pick up the pieces herself since she made the mess, but she was so intent on spreading them all over the place that I just wanted her out of the fray, quickly, so that I could clean it up from a small area rather than a large one.

While we were cleaning up her sensory bin, she got up in the Learning Tower and filled eight cups with water, dumped two on the floor, and climbed up on top of the kitchen countertop to get more cups.

Hurricane Allie exhausts me sometimes.

Seriously, I can’t even keep ahead of her on days like today.

Anyway, this is about sensory bins, not my parenting predicaments.

By the time Grace and I gathered all the contents back up, she decided that the bin I gave her was inadequate to hold her treasures. She found a dish pan and played by herself for a long time.

St. Patrick's Day sensory bin

The Next Time…

As I mentioned above, I think I may have put too much extra stuff in Allie’s bin. It’s like sensory overload.

If I try this again with her (remember that she’s 2 years, 3 months old), I’ll do mostly flattened marbles with just 5-10 shamrocks or stickers.

This post is not sponsored, but I am working with SOLO on another sponsored project right now.

© 2013, Tara Ziegmont. All rights reserved.

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Comments

  1. Ashley W says

    We call my kids Attitude, drama and mayhem. My 3 yr old Mayhem reminds me so much of your Allie! I can never get much done w/ her around. I did a sensory bin for mayhem and just put a box of stale cereal and another one w/ plain oatmeal, w/ things to bury and cups to pour from one to the other. She loved it!

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