A coloured sensory bin is a great way to introduce a new colour to older children as well as providing a great sensory experience for babies. This blue themed sensory bin was inspired by the Little Tots  all loving a book we were given by a parent called ‘Timmy wants the Blues’. This book has really captured their attention so I decided to put together this sensory bin to build on the book.

I used a storage box and filled it with the following blue things I found around the house and in my craft box:

  • Blue dried rice
  • Pompoms
  • Wooden blocks
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Spoon
  • Plastic bottle lids
  • Foam letters
  • Tissue paper
  • Feathers
  • Nail brush
  • Straws
  • Small cups (for filling and emptying)
  • Megablocs

The wider range of textures you can find the better. Little hands loved exploring this sensory tray, throwing rice everywhere, taking things out, exploring them and putting them back in, sorting out the objects and filling the containers.

Dying Rice

To dye the rice for my sensory bins I use the cheapest rice I can find, usually the supermarkets value brand, and food colouring. I squirt a few drops of food colouring into the rice and mix it together until I have the colour I want. I then spread on a baking sheet to dry.

If the oven has been on and is cooling down I place it in there to dry quickly but otherwise I leave to dry over night. I have tried methods using vinegar or alcohol gel to speed up the drying but found these either didn’t work or left a horrible smell.


Early Years Outcomes

Sensory trays are always a great chance to observe EYO’s. So far I have used this box on 4 occasions with the following ages 14m, 15m, 18m, 22m, 3yrs, 4yrs and even a 7 year old and observed the following:

  • Communication and language: Paying attention, learning new language (colour and texture).
  • Physical development: picking up small objects, passing from one hand to another, showing control in using jugs, enjoying sensory experience.
  • Personal, social and emotional development: Playing alongside others and watching others play.
  • Maths: counting and shape sorting.
  • Understanding the world: looking for dropped objects, banging two objects together.
  • Expressive arts and design: describing textures, enjoying sensory experiences.

The Early Years Outcomes document is a non-statutory guide to support practitioners. It can be used by childminders, nurseries and others, such as Ofsted, throughout the early years as a guide to making best-fit judgements about whether a child is showing typical development for their age, may be at risk of delay or is ahead for their age. 

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