What’s better than lounging on a beach with ocean waves lapping at your toes?! Possibly nothing. This beach sensory bin brings all the magic of the seaside into the classroom. It includes sand, shells, and crinkle paper but you can include any other other ocean-themed items you’d like in this preschool sensory bin. Children will love scooping, digging, finding and exploring in the Ocean, Sand and Seashell Sensory Bin Activity.

– Life Over C's Seashell sensory bin perfect for summer sensory play.

Beach Sensory Bin Supplies:

  • Sensory Bin
  • Kinetic Sand
  • Seashell Mix
  • Decorative Paper Shred
  • Bowl

Sensory Activities in Preschool

KIDS’ SENSORY BINS

BENEFITS OF SENSORY PLAY IN EARLY CHILDHOOD REACH FAR AND WIDE. THEY ARE A GREAT WAY TO OPEN UP SMALL WORLDS TO BIG IDEAS.

I love activities that are truly open-ended! Children can explore and get creative in any way they want to with this beach sensory activity. Play activities at the sensory table are a wonderful way to allow kids freedom to explore, talk, re-tell, and engage multiple senses.

This beach themed sensory bin brings the ocean to life! Children will love to dive into the ocean sensory bin to sift sand, find shells, and scoop “waves” for an interactive learning experience.

Using creativity in kids’ sensory activities supports many cognitive tasks. It’s also a great way to calm children when they get a little antsy while giving them time to really explore through sensory play.

In addition to exploring sand and surf, you can guide kids to think about other things too:

  • How is the beach different/same from your back yard?
  • What kinds of animals live on the beach/in the ocean?
  • Can you sort the shells by size/shape/color?
  • What would you do during a day at the beach?
– Life Over C's Playing with the beach sensory activity.

What Can Preschoolers Learn With an Ocean and Sand Sensory Bin?

OCEAN THEMED SENSORY ACTIVITIES

LEARNING ABOUT THE OCEAN IS A GREAT TIME TO INTRODUCE SCIENTIFIC VOCABULARY THAT SOMETIMES TRANSFERS TO OTHER TOPICS.

You can use vocabulary related to ocean habitats:

  • Beach
  • Buoy
  • Tide/Current
  • Surf
  • Algae
  • Barnacle
  • Reef
– Life Over C's Playing with the kinetic sand in the preschool sensory bin.

Why Is It Important For Kids To Engage in Sensory Play?

Children are naturally curious about everything around them. Sensory activities are a great way for them to dive into hands-on exploration.

Build Fine Motor Skills

As children draw in shaving cream, pinch pom poms, or scoop sensory sand and water beads, they use important hand and finger muscles. The more these muscles develop, the easier it will be to color, draw and write.

Making Connections in the Brain

When children interact with sensory material, their brains become active. With each sensory experience, neural connections begin to form that become important for later learning.

Sensory Play Inspires Creativity

Beach sensory play can be a jumping-off point for a whole other world of talking and learning new vocabulary. It’s a wonderful way to allow kids to be creative, so don’t worry if the beach morphs into the surface of the moon!

How To Make The Ocean, Sand, and Seashell Sensory Bin

Step One:

Add the sand to the sensory bin. Leave some space to add the paper shred to represent water. 

– Life Over C's Materials for the seashell sensory bin.

Step Two:

Place the shell mix into the bin. 

– Life Over C's Place plastic seashells, kinetic sand, and shredded paper into the beach themed sensory bin.

Step Three:

Invite the child to engage with the sensory bin. Observe what he/she does with the contents of the bin. (optional ingredients: river rocks, ocean animals)

– Life Over C's Mix all the seashell sensory bin ingredients together.

Extend the Activity:

Ocean Craft

Choose from a variety of ocean-themed crafts, from tissue paper jellyfish to a paper plate octupus. Crafts are a great way to extend learning beyond the sensory bin.

Make Molds

Use sand molds of ocean animals to learn about life in the ocean. Use molds in the sensory bin or take learning outside to a real beach or sandbox.

Sort and Count

Use the seashells for preschool counting and sorting. Seashell activities for preschool can range from simple one-to-one correspondence to adding and subtracting when they are ready.

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– Life Over C's Seashell sensory bin perfect for summer sensory play.
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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