Sensory bucket favorites

Before I was a mom, summer was a time to relax and binge watch TV shows. But now my time is spent being a little more useful (oh and watching a lot of Thomas the Train), occupying my 3-year-olds time now that he doesn't have Day School.

This past week has also been filled with getting Seth fully potty trained (long story... maybe for another post) so we have been spending a lot of time at home just the two of us. Sensory bins are great to help teach as well as keep this busy toddler in one spot playing. We have done plenty of sensory bins before but this week I decided to borrow some Pinterest ideas to make some sensory bins to keep on hand. 

Here is what I bought at the local dollar store:
Beans (2 bags)
Pasta (had on hand)
Oatmeal (had on hand)
Cereal (had on hand)
Pebbles (2 bags)
Black Rocks (2 bags... may need one more)
Colored Sand (2 bags, different colors)
Colored Pebbles (2 bags, different colors)
Decorative glass rocks (2 bags, different colors)
Cotton balls
Rubber Ducks (2 sets of 3, you can buy more if wanted)
Measuring Cups (a variety)
Toothbrushes (pack of 3)
Play Kitchen Utensils
Small Tub
Gallon zippered bags (10 pack)

Bought at Hobby Lobby:
Ocean animals (1 pack)
Coral Reef (1 pack)
Reptiles (1 pack)

Already had:
moon sand (recipe here)
foam ocean animals (numbers written on them for matching)
rocks (with alphabet written on them)

While my little one was playing with some of the new sensory materials, I got all the materials unpacked and separated. I put the bases or fillers in the gallon bags. I mixed the red sand and light blue rocks in one bag and the blue sand, green rocks, and decorative glass rocks in another.

Then I put the different add ins in some quart baggies I had on hand.

I put the cotton balls and rubber ducks (after writing numbers on the bottom) in one gallon bag. And I usually keep the tractors in the moon sand bag (may separate).

And then I use the following as tools to mix in with any bin. Little One's favorite are the kitchen utensils and funnels.

Once you have all your bases, add ins, and tools ready to go, you can pick and choose which ones to use. For example, we used the sand, pebbles, and glass rocks with the ocean animals. Or another, the black rocks with the alphabet rocks and tractors. There are so many options!

One thing I have bought yet, because I couldn't find it, are some foam alphabet letters, like the ones for the bathtub. You can add those to anything. Also, I may get a few more bags of teal sand and use some cotton balls and play airplanes for airplane sensory play!

You can also use rice instead of the sand and die it whatever color you'd like. But it was easier to pay $1 for everything I needed at the dollar store ;)

My favorite part about all of this is that everything packs up nicely in the bins and slides under our guest bed!

What are your favorite sensory bin ideas??

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