There is nothing quite like the summertime as a kid. From playing in the sand to playing in the mud to picking flowers and licking ice cream, it doesn’t get much better. Not to mention, the warmer weather makes it the perfect time of year to engage in outdoor play, taking full advantage of the sunshine and all that mother nature has to offer. That said, while we love taking part in sensory experiences in our home throughout the year, summer may be our favorite time to do so. Namely because the possibilities are truly endless!
Today I’m sharing ten of my favorite summertime sensory bin activities for little ones during this season that not only encourage them to embrace it, but foster their independence, creativity, fine motor skills, critical thinking, and beyond while doing so.
1.Fruit Ice Cube Water Play: To prepare, cut and freeze your fruits with water in ice cube trays or varying sized containers. Once they are ready, fill a basin with water and toss them in. Not only does this sensory-rich experience provide little ones with an opportunity to engage in science (melting, sink/float, etc.), but to cool off as they play on a warm summer day. Bonus: Set out a few extra fruits with a kid-safe knife for them to add to their bin at their leisure.
Note**: Citrus fruits can make skin more sensitive to the sun. So if you are using them, I would recommend using this sensory bin in the shade and washing hands when finished.
2. Clean the Rocks from “The Crazy Outdoor Mama”: I don’t know about your little one, but mine loves to “clean” things. I love the simplicity of this bin as all it requires in a basin of water, dirty rocks and a cleaning tool like an old toothbrush. Then, they are set to go!
3. Clean the Cars from “Busy Toddler”: Sticking with the cleaning theme, this activity gives kids an opportunity to wash their “cars” just like mom and dad. I like how it incorporates both dirt and water to give kids a multi-tactile experience.
4. Mud Muffins: A twist on “mud pie”- grab a large bowl, a muffin tin, some dirt and a watering can and let your little one “bake” until their heart’s content. For some added fun, set out bowls of flowers, leaves, rocks, etc. to be used to decorate them as well.
5. Leaf Sensory Bin from “Twin Mom Refreshed”: Looking for a quick and easy sensory bin? This one can be whipped up seconds. All you need to do is grab a bin and toss some leaves in it. Simply by adding a few leaves to a box, kids can experience different textures, explore varying sizes, build find motor skills, etc.
6. Flower Soup: This one works with a bin of water, flowers and just about anything you can find outdoors (leaves, seeds, sticks, etc.). Set out a ladle and bowls as well to add that extra “restaurant” like feel. Not only does using flowers provide for great fine motor work as little ones pick at the petals, but it also provides for an opportunity to talk about plant parts as well.
7. Watermelon Sensory Bin from “Pool Noodles & Pixie Dust”: Summertime and watermelon go hand-in-hand in this family. And it’s wet, spongy texture makes for a great sensory experience. Bonus: If you buy a seeded one, its a whole new world of fun.
8. Edible Herb Sensory Play from “Fantastic Fun and Learning”: Not only does this experience provide ample opportunity to dig in the dirt, but explore with both one’s sense of smell and taste as well. Not to mention, if you are lucky, you can use the herbs your little one picks and chops for you for dinner that evening too. Win, win.
9. Ice Cream Sensory Bin from Kaplan: Pretend play at its finest here, folks. With a few large colored pom pons, cones (real or pretend), and some toppings in the form of sequins, beads, etc., you have set your child up to run their very own ice cream parlor.
10. Sand Sensory Bin: If you don’t live close to a beach or are just in the mood to spend the day at home, this bin can be the perfect way to bring the beach to you! Fill a bin with sand and provide your child with shovels, pails, sifters, etc. For an added challenge, hide puzzle pieces, magnetic letters, or shells in the sand for them to find.
So there you have it. Ten ways to engage all of your child’s senses this summer while simultaneously taking advantage of all that the season has to offer. Happy playing!
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