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How to Use Sensory Bins in Kindergarten!

How I use my sensory bin in my kindergarten classroom. I share play-based learning activities that are fun and engaging to use in your classroom. 

sensory bin: how I use my sensory bin in my kindergarten classroom. I share play-based learning activities that are fun and engaging to use in your classroom. 

I actively use my sensory bin in the classroom. It is changed out weekly and I use it to reinforce various skills: math and literacy concepts, fine motor, co-operation, and problem-solving. Our students return to the sensory bin throughout the week, and I love coming up with new activities to put in it.

Here are a few examples of what I have done in the past. Let me know what your favorite sensory bin set-up is in the comments!

kindergarten sensory bin

This is an open center- students can self-regulate and visit the sensory bin at any time. I wrote a blog post about how I use free choice centers in my classroom if you want to learn more. I also make sure to incorporate learning into in some way- it can be about social, math, literacy, or science skills.

Usually, I do not introduce the sensory bin or its contents to our students, instead, I let them explore the materials that are in it.

Keeping it Simple

Water and pompom sensory bin for kindergarten fun, hands-on activity.

Sometimes I like to keep the sensory bins really simple, and they are some of the most popular bins! Water and marble run was a huge hit, and it was so simple to set up. Pompoms, water, and toys were another popular choice.

Straws and connectors sensory bin for kindergarten fine motor and building skills.

Some weeks I just put out some simple items that students can build with. These straws and connectors provided endless fun, but the only work for me was dumping the materials in the bin! You don’t have to spend a ton of time and money to put together your bins, have fun with them.

Literacy Skills

CVC word sensory bin literacy activity for kindergarten. Link letters to form CVC words and work on literacy and fine motor skills.

For some of the sensory bins, I put out materials that will focus on literacy skills. I have worked on letter recognition, beginning sounds, CVC words, anything that I have noticed my students need a bit of extra work on.

For the bin above, I used my CVC Word Linking cards. Students found the letters to make the CVC word and linked them together. It is available in my store if you would like to use it:

square thumbnail

Uppercase and lowercase letter match for kindergarten literacy center. Perfect for sensory bins or literacy center.

You can use a variety of literacy manipulatives and activities in your sensory bin (acorn letters, Alpha Pops, letter beads, stacking letters, magnetic letters & cookie sheets, etc.). Combine them with fun sensory or fine motor items for some great hands-on learning experiences.

To see how I use these letter cards, check out my Match the Pair post. These letter matching cards can be found here.

Math Skills

A fun and easy math sensory bin that will work on ten frames, counting, number formations and number recognition.

You can also focus on your students’ math skills in your sensory bins. We have used these cards and recording sheets to reinforce number recognition, ten frames, and tallies.

I made a pack of 10 Sensory Bin Number Sense Sets:

Sensory Bin Math Sets- Square preview

Apple themed sensory bin for fall. Work on number recognition and number formation skills with the number set sheets.

Math sensory bin for spring to practice number recognition, adding, fine motor, sorting, estimating, adding. Fun and hands-on kindergarten sensory bin.

As with your literacy sensory bins, you can add manipulatives to incorporate a variety of math skills. This spring bin can be used to reinforce number recognition, adding, subtracting, estimating, sorting, fine motor skills, and much more!

Add numbers, tweezers, animal counters, measuring cups, etc. to make this a great hands-on learning experience for your students.

Science and Wonders

Crocodile and alligator sensory bin for kindergarten science. Hands-on and fun learning!

Students can explore different science topics in your sensory bin! I base what we learn about on my students’ wonders, so I try to extend their learning to all areas of the classroom.

Construction site sensory bin for community helper theme in kindergarten. Hands-on learning with this fun construction sensory bin.

Our students love coming in every week and discovering what is inside the sensory bin, it is an amazing way to engage them in their learning. If you want to learn more about how these activities work in my classroom, check out My Ultimate Guide to Kindergarten Centers.

more sensory bin ideas

My blog post with 7 Non-Food Sensory Bin Fillers has even more ideas for materials and add-ins that you can use. I also like to do themed bins like a Fall-Inspired one, and Winter one.

What are your favorite items to put in your sensory bin? Tell me in the comments!

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