There’s just something about ocean life that captivates the attention of little ones! Fish, sea turtle, shark, whale- if its an ocean animal, my kids love it! This Fish In The Ocean Sensory Bin For Preschoolers is the perfect hands-on, sensory activity for any ocean creature lover! Your child will love making colorful fish swim through the squishy water beads in this preschool ocean themed activity!

Ocean Sensory Bin For Preschoolers

Recommended Grade Level:

Ocean Sensory Bin Supplies:

  • Water Beads
  • Plastic Play Fish
  • Sensory Bin
  • Water

Ocean themed activities for preschoolers and kindergartners are a great way to make learning hands-on, active, and fun!

Why Is Sensory Play Important For Young Children?

Sensory play can be any activity that gets a child to use their senses! Whether they are using their hands to manipulate materials, noses to smell, ears to hear, or tongue to taste– they are reaping the benefit of sensory activities!

Sensory play is an incredibly important part in cognitive growth for little ones!

Overhead shot of plastic toy fish.

I know, it’s crazy to think that something as simple as touching different textured objects can have an impact on brain development, but it can!

When engaging in sensory play using their hands and fingers, little ones are developing their fine motor skills!

Sensory activities promote language skills and vocabulary development in young children! They are a great way to start conversations with little ones!

How To Create This Ocean Sensory Bin:


Follow the instructions on the package of the water beads to get them filled with water.

Overhead shot of Dew Drops Ocean Breeze water beads for ocean theme sensory bins.

Two notes about this first step!

  • You will probably want to do this the day or night before you want your child to play with the sensory bin since it will take about 8 hours or so!
  • I needed 1 tablespoon of dry beads and a half gallon of water for mine! (1 tablespoon may seem like a small amount, but you will be amazed how big the beads get once they absorb the water!!)
Overhead view of water beads setting in a bowl of water.

Once your beads are ready, dump them into the sensory bin!

Add your fish and you are ready to play! Just keep swimming, just keep swimming! (If you have any Dori lovers in your house, you are bound to hear your little one singing while they are playing!)

Closeup of water beads for an ocean sensory bin.

Other Ways To Use This Ocean Sensory Tub:

  • Give your little one a net to “catch” the fish with! Great hand/eye coordination practice for your child!
  • Practice counting with the fish in the sensory bin! Can you catch me 5 fish? How many green fish do you see?
  • For some fun literacy and alphabet practice, tape small pieces of paper to the fish with letters on them, or write the letter directly onto the fish, and work on letter recognition while playing!
  • Pair your ocean sensory play with fun ocean themed books or riddles! This can be great for your child’s vocabulary skills!
Kid playing with a fish in the ocean theme sensory bin.

Creating Other Sensory Play Experiences:

One of the best parts of sensory play activities is they are simple and inexpensive to create!

  • Playing with play dough can be a super easy way to provide your little one with a sensory experience!
  • Combine water, glue, glitter, and other small objects into a water bottle to create a discovery bottle (also known as a sensory bottle)!
  • Create more preschool themed sensory bins like this fun bug sensory bin!

Find even more engaging activities in the Life Over C’s shop!

ocean theme sensory bin sq featured image-22
text saying [want more activities? Click to try these!]

author avatar
Kim Staten Owner and Curriculum Designer
Kim Staten is a mother of four children ages 20, 19, 16, and 12. Kim has taught at the preschool, kindergarten and early elementary levels for 16 years. With extensive experience working with special needs children, including her own children with special needs (Rett Syndrome, autism, anxiety, and ADHD), she creates hands-on curricula and activities that are great for working with children of all abilities in the classroom and at home. Hands-on, accessible activities are her passion. 

Similar Posts