3 Tips For Using Sensory Bins In The Classroom

12:00 AM

Sensory bins!

Does anyone else CRINGE when hearing that word in the classroom? When I first started teaching, the
first image that came to my mind was colored ziti scattered and broken all over the floor and sand being
thrown at friends from across the table.

I am happy to report, this is not the case! After giving sensory bins a chance and lots of trial and error,
I’ve figured out what works for me and my kiddos, and I am sharing with others.

Why Should You Use Sensory Bins?

First, let’s understand why we should be using sensory bins in the early primary classrooms. Some of the benefits include:
  • Language skills and expansion of vocabulary
  • Stimulating multiple senses at once
  • Opportunity to learn through play
  • Interact and strengthen social skills
  • Link to almost any learning objective
  • Learning of life skills
  • Fine motor strengthening
  • Increased engagement, which ultimately leads to learning

When multiple senses are engaged, learning happens. These are some of the most memorable experiences for children.

So now that you know the benefits sensory bins, let’s jump right into the tips for using sensory bins in the classroom.

Tips For Using Sensory Bins In The Classroom

  1. Use Larger Fillers

Sensory bins don’t need to consist of rice and sand, fillers can be large and easy to manage and clean up.

Some examples may be:
  • Pasta
  • Unifix cubes
  • Easter grass
  • Math manipulatives
  • Building blocks
  • And so much more!
These are just as engaging as the smaller fillers like sand and rice!
Plus, using fillers that students are already familiar with manipulating will take a sense of excitement away that may cause some extra craziness.

  1. Model & Practice
Ok, this is a biggie! Children need direct modeling and practice to understand and learn routines and expectations. Just like other classroom routines and procedures, model and practice your sensory bin expectations until perfect!

And even when you feel that your kiddos are doing well, be sure to keep an eye or seat nearby to be sure they continue to follow through with your expectations.

  1. Use Repetitive Activities
Don’t invent new activities and spend TONS of time preparing anything special for the bin. 
USE WHAT YOU ALREADY HAVE! This makes implementation for both the teacher and students SO much more simple.

  • So if you have a memory activity to practice ten frames in math, add the cards to a sensory bin and have students play memory by choosing the cards from the bin.

  • If you are “writing the room”, hide the cards in a sensory bin rather than around the room. Students will find the cards in the bin and complete the recording sheet. 

  • When your students are filling in ten frames to show quantities, have them use grabbers and items from a sensory bin to fill the ten frame.

Almost ANY activity can be added into a sensory bin for an extra boost of engagement and learning.

Tips For Using Sensory Bins In The Classroom

See, sensory bins really aren’t that bad! Actually, there are so many benefits to using sensory bins in the classroom (just reference the beginning of the blog post to see all the benefits)! 

Not only can these tips apply to the classroom, but they are beneficial for the home as well. Homeschool teachers and parents can also implement sensory bins with their children.

I also have a guide available for free, giving 5 steps for successful sensory bin implementation in the classroom. You can grab it here!
The 5 Step Guide To Sensory Bin Implementation

Be sure to ‘PIN” the image below to save this post for future reading and to spread the word.



by Amanda from Sparkling in Primary

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