Sensory bins are a popular and resourceful method of learning. They are easy and cheap to make, but how do you incorporate this with an infant/toddler that puts EVERYTHING in their mouth?
I have to admit, I was quite puzzled. Once my daughter switched from purees to whole foods, I introduced edible sensory bins.
Why Are Sensory Bins Important?
Sensory play is a great way to let your child explore, learn and help express theirself. Children have a very big imagination and this is enhanced with open-end play of sensory bins. They also help your child develop life skills, self-control, fine motor skills and tactile learning. The Busy Toddler has a great article on Why Sensory Play Is Important.
How To Make Edible Sensory Bins
Edible sensory bins are made with content fillers that are safe for your child to eat. This can be your child’s favorite snack such as, Cherrios, GoldFish, Jell-O, pudding, cake, fruits, vegetables, etc.
If your child is sensitive to textures, edible sensory bins are a great way to introduce new foods. They can help reduce stress and tantrums at mealtime.
Jell-O Dig and Play
My daughter does not like any sticky texture, she refused to play or eat cake at her birthday party. I knew the Jell-O dig and play would help her explore different textures at her own pace.
Fix the Jello-O by the instructions on the packaging. Decide which toys or items you would like to put in the Jell-O before putting it in the fridge. Choose items that are age appropriate for your child.
I used a cheap set of beach toys and a food container tub. The sea creature molds are large enough for my daughter to grab, but not small enough that she would have difficulty.
I was very surprised how interested she was in the Jell-O Dig & Play. She was not sure what to make of the sea creatures, but she went right for her food container. She did spend more time eating and chewing on the different toys, but that is OK. I expected that outcome. This activity is also wonderful for when your child is teething. My daughter prefers to chew on cold hard items, rather than the softer rubber teethers.
You can see in the picture below, she is exploring the different textures of the Jell-O with her fingers. I was very pleased with the overall outcome of this activity.
Farmer Scarlett and the Cheerio Harvest
This is a quick and easy edible sensory bin. With cereal being a harder texture, this will enhance her sense of touch and sound.
She can feel the different texture and use her fine motor skills to pick up the Cheerios. My daughter is in the stage of beating and smacking objects. She can use her hands to crush the Cheerios, which will cause different sounds and textures for her to explore.
If your child is having difficulties with using fine motor skills while eating, this sensory bin is a great learning method.
I believe my daughter enjoyed this one the most out of both activities. My cats did as well. She has been interested in moving (more like throwing) objects from one place to another in the last few weeks, and she did just that.
She did use more of a hand grasping movement at first, but later she started to pick up Cheerios one by one. As I anticipated, she held the Cheerio in her fingers and crushed it. She enjoyed hearing the sound and the change in texture.
I decided to use a metal bowl for this activity since my daughter LOVES to play with pots and pans. The sound of the Cheerios moving around in the metal bowl would be a new experience for her. As you can see by the pictures below, she was a big fan!
For more sensory play ideas, read my posts:
- How-To Make Edible Paint & Cardboard Box Activities – Yogurt based paint for infants and toddlers.
- No-Mess Painting For Infants and Toddlers – A how-to tutorial for fun artwork.
- Post-It Note Grab – Fine motor skill activity for toddlers.
- Sensory Play Ideas For Baby Development – A how-to tutorial on making your own sensory bags and bottles.
- DIY Sensory Board – How to make a sensory/busy board for less than $50!
- Easy Sensory Development Activities For Infants – Simple everyday activities to include at home.