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Sensory Bins For 1 Year Olds

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Have you ever wondered why touch and feel books are so popular among babies and toddlers.

Because using their hands and touching things is their favorite thing to do.

Young children first learn best about the world around them with their hands, eyes and ears – through their senses.

Sensory bins stimulate not only touch but also sight and visual exploration.

Sensory Bins For 1 Year Old Toddlers {Super Easy 2 Minute Set UP}

Research demonstrates that as children actively use their senses in conjunction with one another, this helps to build synapses (pathways) between nerves in their brain.

But not only babies and toddlers love sensory play, there moms love it too (wink).

They work pretty much like Playdough Play For 1 Year Olds – check it out.

If you’re looking for ways to develop your babies brain and let them have a ton of fun – check this list of easy sensory bins for 1 year olds.

Duck Pond Sensory Bin

Pond with ducks sensory bin

Set Up:  5 min

Use: 1 time use

Should make at least 4 hours in advance (better overnight)

Age: 12 month + but can be adapted for younger babies (with very close supervision during play)

Resources:

  • Plastic container
  • 1 Pack Gelatin
  • Water
  • Bath Ducks (other bath toys or any water resistant toys of your choice for a different theme sensory bin)
  • Grass from the backyard (or other natural props)
  • Big towel to use as an activity mat for easy cleaning

How To Make Duck Pond Sensory Bin

Make blue color jelly following this recipe.

Let cool in the fridge for at least 4 hours or until jelly is set.

When ready to play take the container out of the fridge, arrange ducks and grass creating a pond theme.

You can also place the ducks in the “pond” while jelly is still liquid. In this case it’ll be harder to remove the ducks from the jelly or your little one will have to wait a bit for jelly to melt a little.

Fruit & Veggie Peels Sensory Bin

fruit discard sensory bin

Set Up:  1 min + the time you peel the veggies or make the juice in the juicer

Use: 1 time use

Age: 12 month + but can be adapted for younger babies (with very close supervision during play)

Resources:

  • Plastic container
  • Fruit & Veggies peels (from previously washed produce). Feel free to add leafy greens. I also love using the juice discards after we make the juice.
  • Big towel to use as an activity mat for easy cleaning

How To Make Fruit & Veggie Peels Sensory Bin

Wash and pat dry fruits & veggies before peeling. Set aside the peels.

If you’re not going to use this material for the sensory bin immediately keep it in the fridge for max 24 hours in an airtight container.

Remove it from the fridge an hour or 2 before use so that it doesn’t feel too cold for little hands. Skip this step during the summer.

Place a plastic container on a big (old) towel and fill it with previously prepared material.

Cornmeal Sensory Bin

playing with cornmeal sensory bin

Set Up: 2 minutes

Use: multiple times

Age: 12 month + but can be adapted for younger babies (with very close supervision during play)

Resources:

  • Cornmeal flour
  • Big plastic container with a few small containers inside
  • We used IKEA Flisat Table with 3 containers.
  • Muffin Tin
  • Plastic or wooden figurines  – we used this Farm World Set and fish from Magnetic Fishing Game
  • Scoops & Spoons – we used these wooden scoops, a ladle from IKEA Kid’s Kitchen set and just a small wooden spoon I had in the kitchen.
  • Big towel of bed sheet for easy clean up.

How To Make Conrmeal Sensory Bin

cornmeal flisat table sensory bin

Add cornmeal flour and scoops in a small container, add figurines in the other container.

Since I used a Flisat table I’ve place an muffin tin over a bigger container.

You can place a muffin tin next to the other materials all placed in a large plastic container.

I also recommend lining a towel or bed sheet under and around the table  for easy clean up.

Since my little is really interested in hiding things, my idea with this set up was that little Mr. would place the figurines in the tin and then cover (hide) them with cornmeal.

He played however he wanted though 😀 Just pouring corneal into the muffin tin and of course attempting to do the same outside the containers.

But he definitely had a lot of fun.

We have used a simplified version of this cornmeal sensory bin since he was about 9 -10 month old.

I would simply add large figurines in a big kitchen bowl and cover them with cornmeal.

Do all the set up on an old bed sheet and simply let him dig his little hands in the bowl and discover the animals. Lots of learning and language opportunities here as well.

Once the activity is over, simply gather the bed sheet and dump the cornmeal in the bowl again.

When using containers with older kids the clean up is even easier. Store cornmeal in a plastic zip lock back or a plastic container with a lid.

Rice Fishing Sensory Bin

rice fishing sensory table

Set Up:  2 min + few more minutes if you want to make colored rice and you’ll also have to let it dry overnight.

Use: multiple times

Age: 12 month + but can be adapted for younger babies (with very close supervision during play)

Resources:

  • Big plastic container (to better contain the mess) + 1 or 2 smaller container
  • Colored rice or just white rice, especially for babies under 12 month.
  • Prompts – we used fish and a rod from Magnetic Fishing Game
  • Scoops, spoons & bowls (optional) – we used these wooden scoops, a small wooden spoon I had in the kitchen and a couple of cork coasters for bowls.

How To Make Rice Fishing Sensory Bin

Color rice to blue or turquoise color.

Add it in the container together with magnetic fish and a rod.

Add spoons, scoops and bowls to the sensory bin.

When done with the activity store colored rice in plastic bag or a container with a lid.

First Color Sorting Sensory Bin

Set Up:  2 min 

Use: 1 time use

Age: 12 month + 

Resources:

  • Pit Balls of 2 different colors, equal amount of each color. We used 7 red and 7 blue.
  • Food Coloring (red and blue accordingly)
  • 3-4 plastic containers. We used IKEA Flisat table so we needed just 3 but you can also use a large 4th container to contain all other containers and the mess that comes with this sensory bin 🙂
  • Big plastic spoon. You can also use a sieve which might even work better (= less spills).

How To Make First Color Sorting Sensory Bin

Fill 2 plastic containers with a little bit of water (add more water if desired).

Add a few drops of food coloring to each until desired color intensity.

Place pit balls and spoon (sieve) in a empty container.

Show your little one how to sort colors.

Let the play begin!

You’ll Also Love:

Foam Color Puddle Sensory Bin

bath foam sensory bin

Set Up:  1 min 

Use: one time use

Age: 12 month + but can be adapted for younger babies (with very close supervision during play)

Resources:

  • Big plastic container
  • Tear-free shampoo
  • Food coloring
  • Some kitchen tools like whisk, big spoon etc.

How To Make Foam Color Sensory Bin

Add a drop of tear-free shampoo  and some food color at the bottom of plastic container.

Add warm water trying to aim it at the shampoo.

When shampoo starts to foam and bubble sensory bin is ready.

It’s best used outside in warm season or you can also do this sensory bin in the bath tun any time of the year.

It’s fun for little ones not just to play with the foam but also see bright water color underneath the white foam.

Taste Safe Slime Sensory Bin

Set Up:  2 min + time for textured slime to rest in the fridge (overnight)

Use: multiple times

Age: 12 month + but can be adapted for younger babies (with very close supervision during play)

Resources:

  • Plastic container
  • Corn starch
  • Water
  • Food Coloring
  • Kia seeds (optional)
  • Big towel or bath tub or outside space to perform this activity.

How To Make Taste Safe Slime Sensory Bin

If you want to create texture sime like I did, add 2 tbsp of kia seeds and a few drops of food coloring in 1 cup of water. Stir well and let sit overnight.

When ready to play transfer kia seed mix to plastic container and add about 1 cup or more of cornstarch until slime is still liquid but would come of your hands easily.

Let your little one explore.

What are your little one’s favorites sensory bins? Let me know in th comments below 😊

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