Sensory bins, or sensory boxes, can be quite beneficial for children with special needs. But why is that? Whether you are using them at home or in school, here’s how to incorporate sensory bins for special education needs and purposes. And honestly? If a craft challenged, mess fearing mom like me can embrace the idea of sensory boxes and sensory bins? Anyone can. I hate the mess and honestly, I’m not a huge fan of creating or touching slime. I may have a few sensory issues myself that need to be addressed.
Why Use Sensory Bins for Special Education Needs?
Sweet B uses sensory bins quite a bit at school. They provide her with a unique opportunity to experience play without having to be fully immersed in an experience. Sensory bins are also something that I’d like to start doing at home- both for her and for Squeaker.
One of the reasons I haven’t tried to make them yet is because of choking hazards where Squeaker was concerned. Sweet B also has a tendency to put non-food items in her mouth, so that was something else I had to take into consideration.
Another reason I haven’t started making sensory bins? I had no idea as to where to start. Of course, I found tons of ideas for inspiration from Pinterest but I was looking more for basic instructions. That and I wanted to start a list of ideas for rotation when we start Tot School with Squeaker so I wanted to make sure that the bins were going to be diverse enough for that.
Other things to keep in mind were price and storage space. I want the bins to be accessible but I don’t want them to take over the living room or dining room.
I want to introduce sensory bins into the house because I want to be able to provide this interactive learning experience. That being said, I also want to have these as themes that I can use in both Sweet B’s afterschooling program and in Tot School with Squeaker.
Sensory Bins or Boxes Ideas for Special Needs
Since I turn to Google or Pinterest for just about everything these days, I figured I should start with blogs that I like to visit and go from there. The issue, if you can call it that, from that point on was narrowing down what I wanted to focus on as far as introducing sensory bins to the girls.
For the time being, I left Pinterest alone (mostly because I knew I would get incredibly sidetracked… and also because I tend to be a Pincrastinator- see it on Pinterest, think that I’ll have time to do it and never get around to it) and stuck with the blogs.
And, as I’m sure you know, there are some incredible blogs out there.
Specifically, I wanted to look for blogs that had some sort of special needs focus and/or had something that was geared towards someone like me. On a budget, but still wanting to provide a sensory bin experience.
I found more than a few helpful posts that met my immediate needs and I want to share those with you.
* Deb @ Living Montessori Now has a great introductory post on Free Play Tubs. These tubs are, in essence, sensory bins.
* Over @ The Educator’s Spin On It, I found a great post on making a sensory bin for multiple ages.
* On Building Blocks and Acorns, there’s a great guest post from The Chaos and The Clutter about making mess free sensory bins.
* Little Bins for Little Hands has a great post about their top ten sensory bin items.
* Learn, Play, Imagine has an amazing post about 5 Simple Sensory Bins for Babies and Young Toddlers. I liked this one in particular because of Sweet B’s pica.
* And last, but certainly not least, The Chaos and The Clutter has a great post regarding sensory items that you can purchase from the dollar store.
Those are all great starting posts for someone like me who’s interested in learning more about sensory bins and implementing them into our home. As I mentioned before, I want to be able to use these for both Sweet B and Squeaker, even if that means adapting them to fit their individual needs.
Because of that, I don’t want to have to make too many modifications, but I know that from time to time that will be necessary.
And even with my pincrastinating ways, I’m still going to make a Pinterest board just for sensory bins so I can really get a better idea as to what I should be doing. Visuals motivate me, even if it still takes me some time to actually get them together.
Have you used sensory bins for your children? If so, how did they go? What types of items do you usually use?