Ocean Sensory Bin

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Picture this: a world where shimmering blue waters meet sandy shores, where colorful fish dart among coral reefs, and where the mysteries of the ocean unfold with every wave. Welcome to the enchanting realm of ocean sensory bins, where young adventurers can embark on an immersive journey into the depths of the sea without ever leaving home.

Ocean sensory bins offer a unique blend of sensory exploration and imaginative play, providing children with a hands-on opportunity to discover the wonders of marine life while engaging their senses and sparking their creativity. From vibrant blue rice mimicking the ocean floor to tactile sea shells and whimsical ocean animal figurines, each element invites children to dive deep into an underwater adventure filled with excitement and discovery.

As children dip their fingers into the cool, textured rice and explore the treasures hidden within the sensory bin, they not only refine their fine motor skills but also cultivate a deeper understanding of ocean ecosystems and marine biology. With each play session, they develop language skills as they narrate their underwater escapades, and they hone their problem-solving abilities as they navigate the intricacies of the sensory landscape. So, grab your snorkel and flippers, because it’s time to dive into the world of ocean sensory bins and unlock the wonders of the deep!

Activity Overview

  • Age Suitability: This craft is good for toddlers aged children 3 years old and up with adult assistance.
  • Mess Level: The mess level for this craft is medium.
  • Difficulty to Create: Low.
  • Skills Developed: Language development, shape recognition, color recognition, hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, imaginative play, creativity.

Materials Needed

  • White rice
  • Blue food coloring
  • White vinegar
  • Assorted ocean animal figures (sharks, dolphins, crabs, seahorses, etc.)
  • Sea shells
  • Plain chickpeas
  • Bowl
  • Small scoopers
  • Aquarium plants
  • Greenery to mimic beach vegetation
  • Sensory bin

How to Set Up an Ocean Sensory Bin

  1. Begin by transforming ordinary white rice into a vibrant blue ocean floor. Follow the simple recipe provided here, combining white rice, blue food coloring, and white vinegar.
  2. Once your blue rice is ready, fill one side of the sensory bin with this mesmerizing ocean bed, laying the foundation for your underwater adventure.
  1. On the opposite side of the bin, spread out the plain chickpeas, creating a sandy beach where ocean meets land.
  1. Scatter your ocean animal figures and sea shells throughout the blue rice, creating a bustling marine habitat teeming with life.
  2. Enhance the beach area with lush greenery and aquarium plants, adding a touch of realism to your seaside scene. Add seashells, the bowl and scooper. If you have a little person you can add them to the beach as well.

How They Played

As your little ones dip their toes into this sensory wonderland, watch as their imaginations come to life! Armed with small scoopers, they’ll eagerly scoop up rice and chickpeas, exploring the textures and shapes while engaging their fine motor skills. Through imaginative play, they’ll embark on adventures, swimming alongside dolphins, diving with sharks, helping turtles and collecting seashells along the shore.

Tips for a Success

  1. Opt for a large, shallow container for your sensory bin to contain spills and provide ample space for exploration.
  2. Encourage storytelling and imaginative play by asking open-ended questions and prompting your little adventurers to narrate their underwater escapades.
  3. Keep the excitement alive by rotating sensory bin materials regularly, ensuring each play session feels fresh and engaging.

Skills Explored and Learning Opportunities

Through this immersive sensory experience, children develop a range of skills, from fine motor coordination to sensory awareness and language development. As they interact with ocean-themed elements, they also gain valuable insights into marine life, ocean habitats, and the fascinating world beneath the waves.

Five Fascinating Ocean and Seaside Facts for Curious Minds

  1. Ocean currents act like giant conveyor belts, transporting warm and cold water around the world and shaping our planet’s climate.
  2. Sea turtles, equipped with magnetic sensors in their brains, use Earth’s magnetic field to navigate thousands of miles during their migrations.
  3. Seashells, crafted by marine mollusks using calcium carbonate, serve as protective armor and are shaped by their environment’s unique conditions.
  4. Coral reefs, bustling metropolises of marine biodiversity, provide shelter and sustenance for countless species, contributing to the health of our oceans.
  5. Beaches, dynamic ecosystems shaped by the interplay of waves, tides, and coastal processes, offer a rich habitat for diverse flora and fauna to thrive.

Play2Learn Toddler & Preschool Programs for Curious Toddlers

Play2Learn Toddler & Preschool Programs for Curious Toddlers image

There is no limit to your toddler’s energy and curiosity. That energy and curiosity although a joy can be challenging at times. Their interest in just about everything around them is what makes them great learners. One and two year olds can soak up so much just from their senses!

But as a teacher or parent that thirst for learning can be exhausting. That is why I created this toddler and preschooler program. To help you get the most out of this time with your curious toddler without having to come up with creative ways to play and interact with them.

Play2Learn for Toddlers includes 20 Units for toddlers. Each 2-week toddler unit has 20 super easy to set up and engaging activities for toddlers 18 months to 3 years.

Play2Learn Preschool which includes 20 Units for preschoolers. Each 2-week preschoolers unit has 20 unique and easy to set up and engaging activities for preschoolers 3 years to 5 years. That’s over 800 learning activities for your toddler and preschooler at your fingertips! So many ideas you and your child will never be bored again! 

These toddler and preschool lesson plans and activities will definitely keep you and your toddler and preschooler busy playing and learning!

Click here for more information: Play2Learn

Book: Exciting Sensory Bins for Curious Kids

Exciting Sensory Bins for Curious Kids image

Did you know I wrote a book of sensory bins? Click here for more information Exciting Sensory Bin for Curious Kids. Or grab your copy at Amazon

Boring afternoons are made exciting with awesome animal-based bins, like Salty Shark Bay or Yarn Farm. Pretend play bins like Birthday Cake Sensory Play or Bubble Tea Party encourage creativity and imagination. And your kids will have so much fun they won’t even know they’re getting smarter with STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) activities like Sink or Float Soup, Magnetic Letter Hunt or Ice Cream Scoop and Count.

Designed for toddlers 18 months and up.

Book: Super STEAM Activity Book for Kids

Super STEAM Activity Book for Kids image

Learning all about science, technology, engineering, art, and math sets kids up for scholastic success―and it can be so much fun! Watch kids enjoy building STEAM skills as they color friendly fish, help water find its way to tree roots, solve math problems with mazes, and more. 

Find out more and grab your copy here.

Designed for preschoolers 3 years old and up.

Book: Big Book of Riddles for Kids

Big Book of Riddles for Kids image

Riddle me this: What’s an exciting way to practice critical thinking while having a blast? The Big Riddle Book for Kids, of course! From hilarious puns to tough brain teasers, kids can build problem-solving skills with hundreds of riddles tha. t show them how to think outside the box.

  • 350 riddles for kids—Have hours of fun with riddles, puns and jokes, and math and logic puzzles that’ll get their wheels turning!
  • Level up their skills—Riddles get trickier as kids progress through the book, challenging them as they get better at solving puzzles!
  • Double-check their work—Kids can check their answers in the back of the book with a handy answer key.

Help children expand their minds while having fun with this puzzle book for kids!

Designed for kids ages 6 years old and up.

TV Show: Curious Crafting

I’m so excited to share my crafting TV show Curious Crafting which launched in July 2022 on TVOkids and TVOkids YouTube! Season 2 aired in August 2023! My show was also nominated in 2023 for Best Live Action Preschool Series by the Youth Media Alliance Awards of Excellence.

Curious Crafting Season 1 is also now airing in Australia on ABC! Watch it here!

Set in the ultimate crafting space, Curious Crafting is a short form pre-school age series about the joy of making crafts. I lead a rotating cast of adorable little preschoolers (including my own) making magic out of common household objects.

In each episode we transform recycled items into magical crafts like a milk carton school bus, paper bag puppet or cotton pad turtle. The crafters learn and laugh their way through each activity while demonstrating what their young imaginations can create. 

Curious Crafting shares the adventure and joy of making art with takeaway lessons for creating crafts at home.

This show designed for toddlers and preschoolers 2.5 years old and up. 

Ocean Sensory Bin Summary

Materials

  • White rice
  • Blue food coloring
  • White vinegar
  • Assorted ocean animal figures (sharks, dolphins, crabs, seahorses, etc.)
  • Sea shells
  • Plain chickpeas
  • Bowl
  • Small scoopers
  • Aquarium plants
  • Greenery to mimic beach vegetation
  • Sensory bin

Instructions
 

  1. Begin by transforming ordinary white rice into a vibrant blue ocean floor. Follow the simple recipe provided here, combining white rice, blue food coloring, and white vinegar.
  2. Once your blue rice is ready, fill one side of the sensory bin with this mesmerizing ocean bed, laying the foundation for your underwater adventure.
  3. On the opposite side of the bin, spread out the plain chickpeas, creating a sandy beach where ocean meets land.
  4. Scatter your ocean animal figures and sea shells throughout the blue rice, creating a bustling marine habitat teeming with life.
  5. Enhance the beach area with lush greenery and aquarium plants, adding a touch of realism to your seaside scene. Add seashells, the bowl and scooper. If you have a little person you can add them to the beach as well.

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