The night sky is a source of wonder for people of all ages, but children especially. This week we are exploring the night sky! We explored the solar system with the older kids over the summer, but we took a different route today to make it more skill-appropriate for Shiloh. I loved the way that this night sky sensory bin turned out! The sparkles contrasting with the black rice were so fun to explore!

– Life Over C's night sky themed sensory bin for preschoolers

Recommended Grade Level:

Materials for the Night Sky Sensory Bin

  • Black Dyed Rice
  • Gold Pony Beads
  • Gold Pipe Cleaners
  • Star Buttons
  • Gold Bead Strin
  • Gold Cupcake Liners

I had a blast putting this sensory bin together for my little one. I had originally planned to put together a DIY light table, but my budget said that this would be a better option. I also contemplated glow-in-the-dark star and solar system stickers, but as fate would have it, my craft store did not have them.

Then, I saw the glitter foam stars and inspiration struck. It was all sparkles and fun from there on out!

– Life Over C's night sky sensory bin supplies

My goal for the sensory bin was to introduce some new words to Shiloh. I did not expect her to say the words independently, but I wanted to expose her to the words in a limited environment.

– Life Over C's sparkly night sky sensory bin


We counted the tiny rhinestone stars as we put them into a cupcake liner.

We also lined up the foam stars in the bin and counted to three as we did.

– Life Over C's Counting stars sensory bin

Big & Small

We compared big stars and small stars with the sparkly foam sheets and the foam stars. We stuck the sticker to the foam sheet according to size and separated them with a metallic gold pipe cleaner.

– Life Over C's Compare big and small stars

Long & short

We used the gold beaded garland to compare length. I cut the garland into several lengths and we compared the different pieces.

Fine-motor skills

Then we worked on fine motor skills by threading the gold pony beads onto the pipe cleaners. Shiloh is great with her fine motor skills. Especially picking up and manipulating small beads, but she lacks understanding that she needs to push the bead further down the pipe cleaner before adding a new one, so we worked on that skill.

We also had some fun making star cupcakes which was also great for building fine-motor skills. She worked hard at aiming the handfuls of rice into the cupcake liner. Then she decorated it with beads and garland.

– Life Over C's  Build fine motor skills with this fun night sky sensory bin.

 To help extend the fun, I created a simple printable for practicing patterns. You can use the foam stars or the printable stars that are included. Then have fun creating your own patterns with the stars.

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– Life Over C's night sky themed sensory bin for preschoolers

Getting Ready for Your Space Theme?

Stock your library with the BEST Space Books for Kids!

Explore outer space through engaging, multi-sensory books that your kids are just going to LOVE!

– Life Over C's Text overlay 101 space books for kids with covers of nine space themed books showing on image
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. 

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  1. Ooh, so pretty! I love all the sparkles! We don’t get a good view of the night sky in the city but I’m thinking this would be a pretty cool alternative! 🙂 #ThoughtfulSpot

  2. Brilliant sensory bin – we’re working a lot on sensory language this would be a great activity will have to dye some rice.

    1. With this one, I dyed the rice after the kids were in bed, spread it out in the sensory bin to dry and air out and it was ready to play with when Shiloh woke up at 7am.

    1. I love the exposure to different textures that sensory play provides. It helps to solidify the concepts in the minds of little ones.

  3. I WANT TO PLAY! I love this sensory bin. You got so much packed into it that is.t’s just full of learning. The colors are beautiful.

  4. Your sensory bin is beautiful. I imagine our little ones would pretend it was treasure with all of the lovely sparkling elements. I love the great educational activities you shared to do with the bin.