Sensory bins are fabulous for an entire host of reasons-they are great for stimulating the senses, fine motor skills, building imaginations, language development, they are a great way to reinforce a theme, and they are just a plain old ton of fun! With the chill and scents of fall in the air it is a great time to plan a fall or Thanksgiving themed sensory bin. They are simple to make and can be quickly put together to match any theme using items from around your home. Whether you are a homeschooler or a mom looking for fun activities for kids they are the way to go.
If you are looking for an activity specifically to keep the kids busy for Thanksgiving while you are making the meal or for afterwards a sensory bin or two is a great activity for them. My kids will play in a good sensory bin for hours. The key to keeping them interested is to make it amazing- a great scent, various textures, different ways to play with the contents inside, and they love a theme!
This particular sensory bin I went with a Thanksgiving Theme that started with a base of pasta , added a few additional pantry ingredients, some cooking supplies, and finally mini pumpkins.
To make the colored and scented pasta couldn’t be easier. Pour 3-4 cups of dry pasta into a gallon zippered bag and add; ½ tsp. allspice, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1 Tbsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice, and 2 tsp. of vanilla extract- you may need to add a little water, not much you just want enough liquid to move spices throughout bag.
To color my pasta a little darker than what the spices would do I added a little brown gel food coloring. Massage contents of bag until pasta is well coated, open bag and let dry for an hour or so.
The beauty of this is that you can use whatever spices you have on hand-apple pie spice, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, etc… to create a delicious scent. You can make colored/scented rice the same way.
Other ideas for a base filler:
- dried corn
- instant potato flakes
- colored pasta
Once you have made your filler and colored/scented it you can pour it into a plastic tub, you can use what you have on hand but I recommend using one with sides at least 4” tall and 12” wide x 24” long and preferably with a lid so you can close it up and reuse it later. After putting in the filler I added small items like cinnamon sticks and a tablespoon of cloves.
Add in filler:
- cinnamon sticks
- whole allspice
- bay leaves
- whole nutmeg
- vanilla beans
- dried apples or oranges
- star anise
- dried herbs
For the final layer place small bowls, spoons, cups, and other kitchen tools for scooping, pouring, filling mixing, measuring,etc.. If you use this bin all week swap out a couple items for new ones each day to keep it interesting.
Kitchen tool add ins:
- wooden spoons
- measuring cups
- cookie cutters
- mini grater– (this one was only in the bin while I was sitting next to it for supervision)
- If you want to add a few more themed items here are some ideas:
- silk or real leaves
- mini pumpkins
- mini apples
- toy turkeys
Charlee Ann had a great time playing with her Thanksgiving themed sensory bin. Here are a few of her favorite activities!
Who do you plan on making a Thanksgiving Sensory Bin for??