Summer is just around the corner, and what better way to celebrate than by bringing the beach and the ocean right into your home? This beautiful ocean sensory bin is a fantastic way for your learners to dive into the wonders of the ocean habitat. It’s a hands-on, playful learning experience that they’ll love! Trucker had an absolute blast exploring this ocean themed sensory bin. He had so much fun as he dug through the gravel and played with the ocean animal figurines in the water. It’s a fun and educational Under the Sea sensory bin that your toddlers, preschoolers and kindergarteners can embark on, right from the comfort of home or the classroom! This sea life sensory bin is a great sensory play idea for your ocean learning activities in your classroom.
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Ocean Sensory Bin – Sensory Play for Kids
Let’s dive into a world of sensory exploration with this ocean sensory bin! It’s a fantastic way for kids to engage with different textures and stimulate their senses. As they explore the items in the bin, they aren’t just playing – they’re expanding their creativity and building their vocabulary.
This post will share some ideas for creating an ocean-themed sensory bin for your child or classroom. Whether you are looking for ideas on what items to include, want some creative activities to do with the bin, or just want to know how to put it all together, this blog post has you covered. Read on to discover the wonderful world of ocean sensory bins and the fun and learning that they can bring.
What are sensory bins and their benefits? – Sensory Play Ideas
Sensory bins are an awesome way to engage children’s senses and learn through hands-on tactile play. Depending on the materials included, sensory bins can engage a child’s sense of sense of touch, sight, smell, and sound. As kids explore the different textures present they are getting a ton of sensory stimulation which is great for their development.
One of the great things about sensory bins is their versatility. They can be themed around holidays, seasons, or any topic of interest. You can have a fall themed sensory bin for a week, and swap it out to a bird themed sensory bin the next week if that is the topic being covered in your classroom.
Sensory bins can also be tailored to support different areas of a child’s development. A sensory bin can be geared with materials to develop fine motor skills, or it can be filled with small hidden items to promote language development.
Sensory bins can work as a great calming activity for learners. I often create simple, calming sensory bins filled with a single bin filler material like rice. Learners can focus on pouring or scooping, providing a soothing experience without overwhelming distractions.
Ocean Activities for Kids – Sensory Bin Ideas
An ocean sensory bin is a great sensory play activity for your kindergarten learners. It is also a great way to incorporate an ocean learning activity into your ocean-themed lesson plans and activities.
One of the key educational benefits of an ocean-themed sensory bin is its ability to introduce children to marine life. As children explore the bin, they can discover different sea creatures, sea plants, and elements that make up the ocean ecosystem. This can spark curiosity and lead to discussions about the various species that inhabit the ocean, their characteristics, and their roles in the ecosystem.
In addition to marine biology, an ocean sensory bin can also be used to teach about ocean conservation. As children play and learn about the ocean, it provides an opportunity to talk about the importance of keeping our oceans clean and protecting the creatures that live in them. You can include elements in the bin that represent pollution, such as plastic waste, and use this as a talking point to discuss the impact of human activities on the ocean.
Furthermore, the sensory bin can also help develop a range of skills. For instance, fine motor skills can be honed as children manipulate small objects in the bin. Cognitive skills are also engaged as children explore, make observations, and draw conclusions about the items in the bin.
In essence, an ocean sensory bin is not just a container filled with fun items; it’s a miniature, interactive ocean world that can inspire learning and foster a love for our oceans.
Supplies for the Sea Life Sensory Bin
Putting together a sensory bin is definitely a fun and creative process. Here are some supplies that you can consider when creating your very own ocean sensory bin.
- Large plastic bin (any large and relatively deep bin would work)
- Ocean creatures
- Aquatic plants (fake plants work great for this!)
- Scoops and tongs
These are some suggestions that you can use as a sensory bin filler for your ocean sensory bin, to mimic an ocean environment. You don’t have to use all of it, a couple of these or just even one would work great for this sensory bin!
- Blue colored rice
- Blue colored water
- Natural sand or blue sand
- Glass flat marble beads (the blue ones look really pretty underwater)
- Blue aquarium gravel
- Pure water pebbles
The goal with this under the sea sensory bin is to provide a fun, tactile experience for your learners. So feel free to get creative and add or substitute items based on what your learners are interested in or whatever you might have on hand!
How to Create an Ocean Sensory Bin
Creating this ocean themed sensory bin is a fun process and can be a great way to build up discussions about the various elements being included in the sensory bin.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you create your own:
Choose your container: Any large and slightly deep container will work. The bin should be large enough for hands to move around freely, but not too deep that children won’t be able to reach the bottom to play with the animals. A clear plastic bin works great because it allows children to see the contents from all sides.
Select your sensory bin filler: This will act as your ‘ocean’. Blue dyed rice, aquarium gravel, blue play sand or flat marbles beads would make for a great base. If you use gravel or flat marbles you could add a layer of water on top to make it realistic. You could also just use water colored blue with a few drops of blue food coloring.
Set up the scene: You can opt to add in a beach with some gravel on one side and decorate it with small sea shells to create a beach scene.
Add ocean creatures: Now it’s time to populate your ocean. Add plastic sea creatures, shells, pebbles, fake plants and anything else that fits your ocean theme.
Include tools for exploration and fine motor play: Add items like scoops, tweezers, cups or a net for scooping and pouring. These can help develop fine motor skills.
The process of creating the bin can be a learning experience too. Involve your learners in the process, let them choose the items to be included and help out with creating the sensory bin.
Discuss why the items are being included, and what they represent. This can lead to interesting conversations about ocean life and habitats.
This is a great chance to bring out the creativity, critical thinking and observation skills in your learners, so enjoy the process of learning and creating the sensory bin together with them.
Sensory Bin Ideas – Ocean Learning Activities for Kids
There are countless activities that children can engage in this sensory bin to explore and learn from their mini ocean world.
One idea is to have a ‘Marine Life Discovery’ activity. Hide various sea creature figurines or toys in the sensory bin and have children dig through the materials to find them. Once they’ve found a creature, they can identify it and share a fact about it. This activity not only enhances their knowledge of marine life but also encourages communication and vocabulary building.
Another activity could be ‘Ocean Cleanup‘. Include items that represent pollution, such as small pieces of plastic or foil, in your sensory bin. Children can then use tweezers or their hands to remove these items, mimicking a real-life ocean cleanup. This activity can lead to discussions about the importance of keeping our oceans clean and the impact of pollution on marine life.
For younger children, a simple ‘Scoop and Pour‘ activity can be beneficial. Provide them with cups, spoons, or other tools to scoop up the sensory bin materials and pour them into containers. This activity is great for developing fine motor skills and can also be used to introduce concepts like full, empty, more, and less.
These are some simple suggestions that can be used to entertain children in the sensory bin, and it can also create a meaningful learning experience that can engage their sense and stimulate their curiosity.
Tips for Using an Ocean Sensory Bin
Here are some tips that can help to make the most of your sensory bin.
Firstly, consider the timing and setting for using the sensory bin. Sensory bins can be a great calming activity to start the day, to transition between activities, or to wind down at the end of the day. They can also be used during free play times, or as a focused learning activity during a lesson on oceans or marine life.
When using the sensory bin, encourage children to explore freely, but also provide guidance and ask questions to stimulate thinking and learning. For example, you might ask a child to find a certain creature, or ask them how the materials in the bin feel.
In terms of maintenance, it’s important to keep your sensory bin clean and safe. After each use, check for any broken or sharp items and remove them. If you’re using materials like water, sand, or rice, these may need to be replaced periodically to keep the bin fresh.
For storage, sensory bins can often be covered and stored as they are. If space is an issue, consider using a bin that is shallow and wide, which can be easily slid under a bed or stacked with other bins. You could also store the materials separately in zip-top bags or containers and assemble the bin when you’re ready to use it.
Creating your own Sea Life Sensory Bin
Now that you’re ready to dive into creating your own Ocean Sensory Bin, I’d love to hear about your experiences! Did your learners discover a new favorite sea creature? Did they come up with a creative way to clean up the ‘ocean’? Share your stories and photos in the comments below or on social media and tag me @TheChattyKinder.
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