Let’s talk sensory bins. Sensory bins and the impact on development has been a very popular topic of discussion on my weekend parenting forums on Instagram. Lots of parents are recommending them and lots of parents have questions.
But, are sensory bins actually fun and good quality play for our children?
This article is intended to give you some background information, discuss the actual research behind sensory play and development, as well as to list some good sensory learning sites.
WHAT RESEARCH TELLS US ABOUT PLAY AND DEVELOPMENT
Who: Early Intervention – the earlier we start the better
A significant percentage of a child’s IQ develops by the time they are 4 years old. This means the more quality time we can spend with our children playing and developing them early, the better odds our children have developmentally. Of course other factors come into play biologically, genetically and environmentally, which shouldn’t be understated.
What: Play is key to development
How do we invest in our children early in effective ways that foster development.
There is no research out there about sensory bins per se. It’s more about the concept of play and the impact on development.
Research on the development of children and playing is clear. Providing early opportunities for the brain to build nerve pathways improves IQ and learning later on. And this often happens through meaningful play.
How: to create meaningful play that truly promotes development
The elements of development that play should address include motor, spacial, social (inclues, practical skills and standardized learning) and emotional development. Therefore, the more you can cater your playtime to those areas, the better chance you have of developing your child’s IQ throughout the early years.
Part of developing a child’s IQ from a motor, spatial, social and emotional direction also requires focusing on the 5 senses (i.e., touch, taste, smell, see, hear). We all know children are very experimental and tactile. That’s part of the brain developing in the learning process.
The idea behind sensory bins is that they give children the opportunity to explore the 5 senses, experiment, learn and process through various mini tactile environments.
THE CONCEPT OF SENSORY BINS
The concept of a sensory bin is that you can bottle up various materials like bits of paper, leaves, water, sand, stones, beads, etc in a small tupperware container and allow the kids to explore them.
There are lots of possibilities to create these min environments and the fun is endless.
I have also compiled 5 websites that do a good job of creating strong visuals and cool ideas for you to have a go at creating your own at home.
Take a look!
Here are some materials from The Power of Play that you can start with to get your creative juices flowing.
SENSORY BIN IDEAS
- Orbies/Water beads
- Kinetic sand/moon dough
- Rice, pasta, lentils, beans, cereal, oats, corn kernels
- Letters and Numbers
- Sand, water
- Shaving cream, goop
- Flowers, acorns, leaves, sticks, stones, bark
- Sea shells, aquarium rocks
- Plastic pellets, shredded paper, wrapping paper, bows, packing peanuts
- Pom-Poms, cotton balls
- Shovels, tweezers, scoops, spoons
- Easter grass, plastic eggs (Added fun alert: put little treasures inside the eggs.)
- Feathers, birdseed
- Various sizes of gourds for fall
SOME PROS OF CREATING SENSORY BINS
- Diverse play promotes development through the senses
- Strengthens bonds playing together
- Promotes independent play
- Simple and cost effective way to entertain toddlers and young children
- Improves creativity
3 SOLID SITES TO INSPIRE YOUR SENSORY BINS
STAY IN THE RESEARCH-BASED PARENTING LOOP
Happy playing everyone! Drop me a line with a picture below to let me know how sensory bins are working for you and the kiddos at home.
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Be good to yourself,