Friday, January 11, 2013

sensory bin - winter theme change-up

the boys have gotten tired of the winter-themed sensory bin i told you about (pictured above).  two days ago, in fact, i put all the other toys away and opened up the sensory bin in the middle of the living room floor in an attempt to make it inviting.  no takers.  then i prompted the boys to play with it.  "play with the sensory bin", i said.  still no takers.  so i asked them if they wanted me to switch it out to a valentine's theme.  they seemed to like that idea.

but valentine's day is still more than a month away.  by the time the actual holiday rolls around they'll be tired of a valentine's theme, too.  so what is a girl to do?

this situation called for a winter-theme switcheroo!  i thought, maybe, a play on ICE would be fun for the boys. could i make the bin more icy?  here's what i came up with...

 again, please excuse photos with terrible, horrible, no good, very bad lighting.

i took out all remnants of the snowy theme - the pom-poms, styrofoam balls and sandwich bag "snow"balls.  i left in the sea glass and the large clear glass gems.  then i added in more sea glass, in two different shades of blue and more glass gems, also in shades of blue.  i replaced the 1/3rd cup measuring scoop with smaller tablespoon and teaspoon measures.  i included funnels, a strainer, and small medicine droppers.  which, when used with WATER, make for super fun squirters!

the water was cold/icy so the boys' sense of touch was definitely affected!  the solid bits of glass, some more smooth than others, mixed within the liquid was fun for them to investigate.  so far, i'd say the squirters are the favorite part of this bin.

it was surprising how much force harrison had to use in order to suck the water up, especially in the squirter that was designed to irrigate wisdom teeth.

harrison also enjoyed filling the funnels with gems and seeing if the water would go through.  he tried different experiments to stop up the funnels.

he used the measuring spoons to scrape all the "ice" to the middle of the bin to create a dam.  he commented on the different sounds of this bin.  the sound of the metal spoon clanging against the glass gems was loud.  it was a sharp contrast to the gentler sound of the water dripping through the funnels.

graham also enjoyed squirting.  he had a difficult time with the wisdom teeth squirter but he kept trying until he figured it out.

he had fun doing other things, too.  he made a stew (his words) by sorting out the small blue gems and putting them into one of the blue bowls.  he also made an ice cream cone (again, his words) by putting the clear gems into the biggest funnel.  he really loved using the strainer to scoop up the icy glass pieces.

the boys, collectively, spent more than two hours playing with this bin today.  they played both together and separately.  i had fun playing with it, too!

i only added a couple cups of water, which is easy to dump out after each use.  all in all, this was a very simple way to renew their interest in the bin and give them a new perspective on the winter theme! 

all glass gems and the blue bowls were purchased at the dollar tree
all sea glass was purchased at michael's
the white funnels were purchased at target dollar spot 
all other items were simply found around our house


April said...

I am amazed by your creativity! How do you prepare these bins? Did you already have everything on hand, or do you decide what you're going to put in the bin and then go out by yourself to get everything on a different day?

rachel white said...

hi april! my hunch is that you would have everything you need on hand to make a water bin like this. find a container, maybe even something from your kitchen, a 9x13 pan or a roasting pan. then gather some medicine squirters or even a bulb syringe - that would be fun! grab a couple different spoons or scoops and some small bowls to fill. that might be enough to hold their interest for a while. but you could add in more...something for them to scoop out of the water. marbles, buttons, beads, bouncy balls, even legos would work. see what you can find around the house and work with what you've got. lastly, on a different day you might try adding bubbles to the water - oh! or straws for THEM to blow bubbles into the water! - or shaving cream would be fun/messy to experiment with, too!

for this bin i had everything on hand already. over the past year or so i've purchased things here & there and i store them in the basement. for me, it's easier to see what i have on hand and either build a theme around it OR don't build a theme, just throw stuff together! it usually holds their interest for a while simply because it's "new" for them to play with! i ALWAYS stop by the dollar spot when i'm at target and try to think about the things i see in a different way...always asking myself if the boys would have fun playing with this? does it fit into a theme?

it's bitter cold outside today! let me know if you end up making a bin!! good luck!!!

Kari Farr said...

Ok Rachel, I have to ask. Did your boys actually keep the water in the bin for the most part? I don't think it would be long before Andrew and Allison would be having an indoor water fight! LOL :) Neat idea though. I may have to try it sometime. We use the syringes from medicine for water toys in the backyard in the swimming pool. The kids LOVE to play with them!

rachel white said...

hi kari! the boys actually do really well with water. it's when there are beans or rice in the bin that they make a big mess. i can't tell you how many times i've cursed myself for letting them play with dried beans!

this morning harrison added fresh water to the bin and they both played together for an hour. graham had one accidental, minor spill and i had to remind them to keep the water in the bin. but for the most part they do a great job!

do you have any other ideas for keeping the kiddos busy on cold days like this?