Continuing with our space theme, which the Little Tots are loving, I put together a simple space themed sensory bin last week for them to explore and have fun with. I have absolutely no space toys, no rockets, aliens, astronauts – nothing, so had to be creative with this one and try to use things I already had.
For the base of this sensory bin I used black turtle beans which I had never even heard of before but came across a big bag of reduced ones in the supermarket and knew they would be perfect for this. They are larger than rice, oats and lentils which we have used a lot before, shiny and the pure black colour certainly had the attention of the Little Tots.
To make up for the lack of space themed toys I used this fantastic free printable from Picklebums website found here. I then also added sparkly pom poms for planets, some sparkly star sprinkles, tin foil for moon rocks and the printables of an alien, spaceship, astronaut and planets etc.
These beans added a lovely sensory element and even I couldn’t resist running my fingers through them. They also discovered pretty quickly that they made a lovely loud noise if the dropped them from a height back into the tray.
The Little Tots played with this for over an hour and I ended up having to move it from the playroom into the kitchen so I could start making their tea and they could continue playing.
There was so much imaginative play going on with this it was lovely to watch. Lots of recreating the books we have been reading as well as making up stories of their own. I also added some small tubs, spoons and tweezers so there was lot so pouring, scooping, sorting, counting and practicing fine motor skills.
To further extend this activity you could…
- Make a space themed sensory bin on a larger scale such as in a tuff tray
- Follow the children’s interests to make a different themed sensory tray (winter / Christmas?)
- Do a simple alien or space rocket craft
- Tray a different base such as dyed rice, coloured water or shaving cream
- Try this puffy paint recipe to recreate the surface of the moon
- Find some books about aliens and space. We’ve been loving Welcome to Alien School, Aliens Love Underpants and The Dinosaur that Pooped a Planet.