Magnetic Apple Sorting Sensory Bin

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INSIDE: Magnetic Apple Sorting Sensory Bin is a fun sorting and STEM sensory bin for toddlers and preschool. It is a great sensory activity for Fall.

Magnetic Apple Sorting Sensory Bin

Magnetic Activities

I love magnetic activities and I can’t believe this is the first that I have done in a long long time! The inspiration for this activity is from an amazing blog Modern Preschool. I just loved the idea of using pipe cleaners to make apples that I just had to try! Be sure to check out her blog for more fantastic ideas!

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Play is at the core of learning during the early years and it can take many forms. One of the most important of these is sensory play because it engages all of a child’s senses (taste, touch, smell, sight and hearing) and has a enoumous positive impact on brain development.

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Magnetic Apple Sorting Sensory Bin

How to Set Up Magnetic Apples Sensory Bin

Grab your sensory bin or sensory table and fill it with green rice.

Making Magnetic Apples

Grab your red, green and yellow pipe cleaners and wrap them into a shape of an apple. Make Large apples using the whole pipe cleaner. Make a slightly smaller apple for the medium sized and them cut the pipe cleaner in half to create the small apple sized.

Cut a green pipe cleaner into 4 pieces and shape it into the shape of a leaf. Attached it to a brown pipe cleaner to the top the apple for the stem and leaf.

Magnetic Apple Sorting Sensory Bin
Magnetic Apple Sorting Sensory Bin

Place your apples in the sensory bin along with bowls and your magnetic wands.

Magnetic Apple Sorting Sensory Bin

How to Play

Invite your child to use the wands to pick up and sort the apples into the bowls.

Magnetic Apple Sorting Sensory Bin

They can sort them by size. Or grab some construction paper and have them sort the apples by colour.

Magnetic Apple Sorting Sensory Bin

I added some toy barrels to help they sort. This was a huge hit and would be a great activity outside on a warm fall day!

Magnetic Apple Sorting Sensory Bin

How to Make Coloured Rice for Magnetic Apple Sensory Bin

What You’ll Need

  • 1 Cup of White Rice
  • 1/2 tsp White Vinegar
  • Several Drops of Green Gel Food Coloring
  • Large Ziploc Bags
  • Parchment Paper
  • Baking Sheets or Tupperware containers

How to Make

  1. Combine the rice, white vinegar and food coloring in a Ziploc bag. 
  2. Seal it carefully and mix the contents throughly. 
  3. Repeat for each color.
  4. Lay a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet or line a Tupperware container. 
  5. Spread the colored rice out on the parchment paper and allow it to dry overnight. 


If you don’t have gel food coloring, regular food coloring will work fine. If you want your rice to be more vibrant add more than just a few drops of food coloring and a small amount of white vinegar. Although the instructions calls for 1 cup of rice I usually make between 6-7 cups of rice for a sensory bin. 

Magnetic Apple Sorting Sensory Bin

Age Suitability for Magnetic Apple Sensory Bin

This activity is good for kids 2.5 years and up. My kids are 3.5, 3.5, and 7 year old.

Supplies for Magnetic Apple Sensory Bin

(This post and list contains affiliate links for your convenience. If you make a purchase using one of these links, I may earn a commission. Please visit my disclosure policy for more information.)

  • Sensory bin or sensory table and bins
  • green rice (see above for recipe)
  • Green, yellow, red and brown pipe cleaners
  • Magnetic Wands
  • Paper
  • Sharpie or Marker

Looking for more Fall activities? Check out of these other round-ups for more ways to keep your toddler or preschooler busy this Fall:


STEAM Activity Book for Kids

Looking for a fun activity book for your preschooler or kindergartner? Check out my book Super STEAM Activity Book: Launch Learning with Fun Mazes, Dot-to-Dots, Search-the-Page Puzzles, and More! ! Click here to learn more or buy now!

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