Sensory bins for preschoolers give kids hands-on, exploratory play to practice vocabulary and learn targeted skills! You can create sensory bins on any topic, and as a preschool teacher of MANY years— let me assure you that the kids love them. And teachers love that it requires simple materials that you probably already have on hand in your classroom. Add this Honey Bee Sensory Bin to your rotation and watch while your students gain a deeper understanding of honey bees!

– Life Over C's Two photos of a honey bee theme sensory bin for kids.

Recommended Grade Level:

Honey Bee Sensory Bin Supplies:

  • 4 C white rice (dried)
  • Yellow acrylic paint
  • Black acrylic paint
  • 1 Tablespoon measuring spoon
  • 2-gallon ziplock baggies
  • Large cooking sheet
  • Wax paper
  • Bee’s
  • Scoops
  • Cups
  • Rigatoni pasta (dried) – optional for hive
  • Playdough – optional for hive

Table of Contents

When to Use the Honey Bee Sensory Bin in your Classroom:

Many insects can be overwhelming or even frightening to students. Bees in particular are insects that are beneficial and misunderstood! This Honey Bee Sensory Bin can help students connect with nature and understand bees. Also, is a great calming activity.

A rice sensory bin helps engage students in tactile ways that assist in facilitating brain connections. Playing with a sensory bin is a great hands-on way to explore bees in a way that is not intimidating or frightening. Since kids are already familiar with bees and typically have background knowledge, learning specific information about bees will allow for students to feel less intimidated by the insect–and learn that they are friendly and helpful!

I like to introduce the honey bee sensory bin at the beginning of the unit to allow kids to just explore through sensory play while we learn about honey bees!

Need MORE Sensory Bin ideas? Check out our favorites here:

Further Info about Honey Bee Spring Sensory Bins

In addition to learning specific insect information, students can think about:

  • How do honey bees affect the environment?
  • What positive ways can honey bees contribute to a garden?
  • What are some things that honey bees bring to the world?

Materials You Will Need for Honey Bees Sensory Bin:

  • 4 C white rice (dried)
  • Yellow acrylic paint
  • Black acrylic paint
  • 1 Tablespoon measuring spoon
  • 2-gallon ziplock baggies
  • Large cooking sheet
  • Wax paper
  • Bee’s
  • Scoops
  • Cups
  • Rigatoni pasta (dried) – optional for hive
  • Playdough – optional for hive
– Life Over C's Materials for making a bee theme sensory bin.

Step-by-Step Instructions for the Honey Bee Sensory Bin:

Step One:

The first thing you need to do is get all of your supplies together, and decide if you want to dye your rice to increase the honey bee theme. (The following steps will be completed like you have chosen to color the rice!)

– Life Over C's Two large Ziploc bags have white rice in them.

Step Two:

Split the rice into two separate bags. Add about 1 tbsp of the yellow paint to one bag, and 1 tbsp of black to the other bag.

Teacher Tip: For the best results on the dyed rice, use acrylic paint.

– Life Over C's A Ziploc bag of yellow rice and a Ziploc bag of black rice are sitting on a counter.

Step Three:

Grab a cookie sheet or tray and line it with wax paper. Pur out your yellow and black rice and let it dry for 3-4 hours! Once it’s dry, you can mix it together and add it your sensory bin.

– Life Over C's Black and yellow painted rice are drying a baking tray.

Step Four:

Now you’re going to start constructing your honey bee hive! Grab some playdough (whether you make it yourself or buy it, either way works great!) You’re going to want to flatten it on a plate to transfer it into your bin. Place dried rigatoni into the playdough to make the hive! It can be as big or small as you want.

– Life Over C's Pieces of rigatoni pasta are stuck to Playdough inside a tray.

Step Five:

Place the playdough base and hive into your sensory bin. Add honeycombs, scoops and small bees into your sensory bin!

(The rice will stick to your playdough, so use some that you are ok throwing away when you’re done with the bin, or cover it in saran wrap before you put rice on top of it!)

– Life Over C's Overhead shot of a completed honey bee sensory bin for kids.

Yay! You did it. What Now?

Once your students have had a chance to engage with the Honey Bee Sensory Bin, you can have a snack and break down the life cycle of honey bees!

Ways to Adapt/Modify/Differentiate the Honey Bee Sensory Bin

  • Life Cycles– Give your child real-life life cycle pictures of honey bees, and see if they can match them to these playdough lifecycle cards.
  • Math– Spring-themed math centers. dripping with honey bee goodness, from mixed addition and subtraction to pattern activities, word problems, and measurement.

More Ways to Explore Insects:

This sensory bin is a great way to introduce students to insects in general! Insects are a great unit of study for preschoolers and they love all the differenthands on ways to interact withe all the creepy crawlies! Lifecycles in general are a great link between honey bees and other insects!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use a different base, other than rice?

Although this is a “rice” sensory bin, you can use a different base for the honeybees. If you want to use more pasta from the hive to the base— that’s your call! You can also use pasta that is long and thin like spaghetti.

Where did you get your little honey bee figures?

There are so many different miniature bee options for sale! If you want resin, we found these honey bees on Amazon, or these larger bee and hive options from Hobby Lobby!

What to Add to the Honey Bee Sensory Bin

Leave a comment of something you could add to the honey bee sensory bin to give it your own twist! Sunflowers? Mini bottles of honey?

Do you love this activity?

Pin it for later!

– Life Over C's Overhead view of a honey bee sensory bin made with rice, pasta, a fake flower, and scoops.

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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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