I've seen these sensory bin ideas floating around Pinterest, and I remember my younger brothers having a bin like this when they were little, but I kept putting off letting my kids play with one. It was a combination of not wanting a gigantic mess (more than what I already deal with) and being worried about finding beans up their noses, but I finally went for it.
And they loved it! And *I* loved it! Who would have thought that a big bin of dried beans and random kitchen implements would prove to be so much fun?
With quadruplets, I kind of have to plan ahead for this type of project, so here is how I set up for it:
- I bought two large bins for the beans. That way, two kids could play in each, and we could keep issues down to a minimum.
- Then I went to the Dollar Store and looked for some fun seasonal items to add to the bins. I wanted Autumn themed bins, but didn't want to spend a ton. The Dollar Store was perfect!
- I also picked up some kitchen implements from the Dollar Store. I needed duplicates of some of the items, and didn't want to look through all of my drawers and cabinets every time we pulled the bins out. So the kids now have their own kitchen items that are just for their bins.
- And then for good measure, I swung through the Dollar Spot at the Target down the road. I found some more fun and cheap items that will work for other bin themes as well.
- The beans came from our local Aldis. Basically, I just bought the cheapest dried pinto beans that I could find. I'm pretty sure that I ended up putting about 14 pounds of beans in each box. For a singleton, you can probably get away with quite a bit less. :)
- And finally, I waited until a friend could come over and help me watch for beans going up the nose. The first time doing an activity is always iffy. We also had their cousin over that day, so our ratio was two adults to five 2-year-olds.
The kids were happily entertained for over half an hour which is phenomenal for two-year-olds! I also love that this is a non-consumable activity, meaning that my initial investment can be used over and over again. That's something this mama likes!
(Side note: It was Tutu Skirt Day at our house when we did this activity, hence the reason why the girls are all dressed up in these photos!)
Honestly, I thought that this would be a much bigger mess than what it ended up being. I laid out a sheet for the kids to play on, and it made the clean up super easy. (Way easier than THIS sensory activity!) It was so easy that I think this will make an excellent activity through the winter months when snow covers the ground.