Ahhh… I finally feel like we are home! We’ve been living in Little Rock for almost 3 months now and we hadn’t done any sensory bins. But today as I put this sunflower sensory bin together, it felt like life had finally returned to normal. Normally, we do 2-4 new sensory bins a month as a way for Shiloh to work on various skills and help expose her to new topics like frogs, princesses, and colors. Because my special needs preschooler needs to touch and see things to understand them, sensory bins are a great way to help her learn while playing. This sunflower sensory bin is our introduction to the fall season and this is the first time she’s ever seen a sunflower (real or pretend).
Materials suggested for the Sunflower Sensory Bin:
12 cups of rice dyed yellow (I used Golden Yellow from Wilton.)
Hand sanitizer (for dyeing rice)
Food coloring (for dyeing rice)
Foam sticker sunflowers
Cupcake liners (the fall ones are turned inside-out)
Sunflower seeds in the hull
Flower cookie cutter
To dye the rice, put 6 cups of rice into 2 ziploc bags (for a total of 12 cups of rice). If using pump hand-sanitizer, squirt 10 pumps into each bag of rice. Add the food coloring to each bag. I use a rounded knife-tip full.
Close the bag and carefully squish the rice around until it is completely covered with the coloring. Open the bag and allow the rice to dry. It was so nice and warm, that I set mine outside to dry quicker.
After the rice is dry, put it all into a large, low-sided plastic container. Mine have lids so that I can cover them and we can play with them over multiple days/weeks.
Decorate the rice with the other items and then allow your children to explore!
I thought that Shiloh would go for the sunflower seeds first because she’s never seen them like this before. She has always seen them already hulled.
However, she wanted to start exploring with the chopsticks right away.
She has tried chopsticks before, but I think that not having played with them for a few months made it seem like new territory. This time she wanted to try picking specific things up with them instead of just using them to stir.
She tried them for a little while and even had some success picking up a few of the sunflower seeds, but she abandoned them to explore a little more hands-on.
She had some fun with dumping seeds from the nests into the cupcake liners which is great for hand-eye coordination. Then she wanted to dump some more as I demonstrated putting the seeds into the cupcake liners with the tongs.
Then, she moved on to picking up small amounts of rice and dropping them into the cookie cutter…
and the cupcake liners.
Then she returned to the chopsticks for some more practice.
But she finally gave up trying to pick up things with the chopsticks and tried putting things into the space with her hands. I guess we’ll have to work some more on this skill!
After that I worked on some language skills with her, helping her learn the word sunflower. But when I mentioned the word “nest”, she immediately made the connection that birds belong in nests, so she went to search out some birds from our Littlest Pet Shop collection. She returned to play and kept herself occupied while I worked on school with the other kids.