We LOVE sensory bins! It is a great way for Mila to play independently and learn through hands on play that engages her senses!

All of my favorite sensory bin items are on my Amazon storefront!

What the heck is a sensory bin?

A sensory bin is any sort of tub or container filled with materials that will stimulate your child’s senses! They can help your child with motor skills, self control (“Don’t put that in your mouth! That stays in the bin!”), cognitive development, as well as many other skills like estimating, spatial awareness and concentration. They can help with sharing and cooperative play (if playing with others), promote critical thinking skills, and help your child learn basic life skills like scooping, measuring, pouring, and dumping. Sensory bins are a great way for your child to play independently, and interacting with your child during sensory play is a great way to work on language development!

Before I continue…

I want you to know that sensory play doesn’t have to be intimidating or expensive! It should be a fun, open ended way for your child to play and explore!

You don’t need an expensive sensory table or fancy themed bins to engage your child! Seriously, try putting some cheerios in a bin with different sized cups and spoons and you’d be amazed at all of the different things your child does with it!

Often times, you can use things you already have around your house, like:

When I set up sensory bins for Mila, I typically give her minimal or no instruction at all. For example, if we’re using corn kernels (a current favorite of Mila’s), I will simply pour some in a bin with various cups, scoops, and pots and pans from her play kitchen and let her play! She likes to fill cups with the corn and pass it out like it’s tea, or she puts it in her Melissa & Doug Mixer and “makes cookies” with it!

If I do a “mud” set up (cocoa powder, cornstarch, and water), I typically have 2 bins side by side; one with the “mud” and one with soapy water. I will put whatever animals I have on hand in the “mud” bin, with a few tools (cups, tweezers, tongs), and then a scrub brush in the soapy bin. I will tell her that the animals are dirty and need to be cleaned and let her imagination do the rest!

Below are some sensory bin items we have acquired over the years that we utilize frequently in our sensory bins. None of these items are necessary! However, having a few on hand keeps the sensory bins interesting and most of them can grow with your children and be used for years!

 These items are great to give and receive for birthdays and holidays when you aren’t quite sure what to get for a child! In the coming weeks, I plan to show some step by step guides for sensory bin set ups that we are doing or have done and highlight what tools we use and why!

Frequently Asked Questions:

“Isn’t it such a mess?”

It can be! This varies from child to child and age to age. My general rule of thumb is this:

Don’t put out more than what you’re willing to clean up!

You can also try to contain the mess in something like this or you could try this TikTok hack with a bed sheet!


"How do I do it? Where do I start?"

For lack of a better phrase…just do it! It doesn’t have to be extravagant (especially if your babe is young) in order to excite your child. They’re most likely going to be happy about being presented with something new! Choose a filler that you have on hand and want to try (make sure it’s taste safe and not a choking hazard if your little one puts things in their mouth!), lay it down in a bin, add some tools, and that’s it!

Here’s baby Mila (age 11 months) with a very simple sensory bin: ground up cheerios (taste safe) with some colorful shape blocks from a shape sorter toy we have! With this sensory bin, she could dig, play and eat the bin filler, explore textures with her hands and mouth, and together we could talk about colors and shapes!

"What type of bin or table should I use?"

Really, any large Tupperware or storage bin you have should work!

We were gifted an IKEA Flisat table for Mila’s first birthday so that is what we use! They became very popular in 2020-2021 so they aren’t always in stock

If you’re looking to invest in a sensory table, there are tons of amazing ones on Etsy, or this one on Amazon is comparable in style. Don’t forget the bins that go with it!

In the meantime, go get started! 

All of my favorite sensory bin items are on my Amazon storefront!

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About the Author

Hannah is a Certified Lactation Counselor located in Lancaster, PA, and a spouse and parent to two lovely daughters. Her passion lies in aiding women in achieving success on their breastfeeding journeys and raising awareness regarding the numerous benefits of breastfeeding. She knows firsthand the struggles of breastfeeding as a mother, which has fueled their desire to help others. Hannah provides personalized and compassionate care to families, whether they are expecting, new parents, or preparing to return to work.

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