What do you do when you're stuck at home with your toddler?
One of our favorite toddler boredom busters to pull out is a trucks & oats sensory bin!
Have you tried sensory bins before? My kids cheer every time I pull out “their bin” for some sensory play time.
This trucks & oats bin is not only super easy to set up, it is a lifesaver when I need kids occupied and calm.
Sensory bins can often have a calming effect on kids as they sift through the oats and drive the trucks around and get immersed in the little world of the bin.
RELATED: These ten amazing sensory bins keep kids engaged and having fun when you’re stuck inside.
WHAT YOU NEED
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- Container of oats (I use a big container of Quaker oats)
- Trucks or small cars (we use these mini CAT trucks)
- Large plastic container (we like the 32 QT Sterilite container)
This is the best part. This sensory bin is SO simple to set up!
Just dump the oats into the plastic bin and spread them out. Add in the trucks and you’re ready to play!
See this bin in action below!
WHY ARE SENSORY BINS GOOD FOR TODDLERS?
- They are fun!
- They encourage imaginative play.
- They get kids off of screens and using their bodies to play and move.
- They allow kids to explore new textures and use their five senses.
- They help kids develop their fine motor skills.
- They can be calming and help kids focus.
- They teach kids self control.
Sensory activities are so important for toddlers, preschoolers, and even adults! There are so many skills you can learn from these simple activities.
There are at least 6 skills that I think are the most important ones for toddlers to learn (You can read all 6 skills for toddlers here) and so many of them can be taught when kids are exploring with their senses using sensory bins.
WHAT AGE IS SENSORY PLAY FOR?
Sensory play can be used for all ages, depending on the materials you are using.
This truck and oats sensory bin is taste-safe, so it is great for toddlers who can sit up on their own and play with objects and toys while leaning over the plastic bin. Preschoolers and older kids will also enjoy this sensory bin.
This bin is not great for toddlers who just want to try and eat the oats and suck on the trucks. Sensory bins like this one do best with kids who are moving out of the “eat everything” stage.
Big kids love sensory bins too! They are not just for toddlers.
KEEPING IT TIDY
If you're worried about keeping sensory play tidy, here are some things to remember:
1. It probably won't be as tidy as you hoped. Plan for a mess. Remember that kids are learning and exploring, so it's ok if things don't look picture perfect.
2. Put something under your bins! I love using a large vinyl tablecloth with a felt padded back. It is cozier to sit on. It also helps contain the mess a bit. With water activities like this one, I also bring several towels over.
3. Set the kids up for success. Explain and show them what your expectations and rules are for the sensory playtime. Show them how to keep things inside the bins.
4. If all else fails, take it outside. It is less stressful when a mess is outside.
5. Be prepared to enforce your rules and remove a sensory bin if a child isn't following the rules. I usually just put the bin away for a little bit if kids aren't listening or are being purposely destructive.
Do you have any other favorite sensory bins you set up again and again? Tell us about them!