The Learning Resources® Jumbo Pets set has been such a staple in our play over the past year. The larger size of the animals, combined with their excellent quality and durability, has meant that we have enjoyed lots of creative adventures with the dog, cat, fish, rabbit, guinea pig, and bird. In this series of blogs, we are sharing some fun and unusual ways to use your Jumbo Pets to keep the play creative and engaging. This time around, we are exploring an epic rodent sensory bin using the jumbo guinea pigs.

The Set-Up

This rodent sensory bin idea is inspired by @missamys.classroom. She had the genius idea to use brown crinkle paper as the base, along with some fun rodent accessories. Our bin included two Learning Resources Jumbo Pets guinea pigs, a tiny mouse from Dollar Tree, and two rats from IKEA. I also put in a feeding bowl, hamster wheel, rodent tunnels, and a tiny hamster house, all from the local pet store.

Let’s Play!

My two kids were so into this sensory bin; in fact, I’d say it’s been the most popular one I’ve done in a good year or so for them. They loved that there were real rodent accessories and a fun selection of rodents to play with. The guinea pigs, in particular, are so detailed.

My seven-year-old went straight for the hamster wheel and desperately tried to spin one of the rats full circle on it. He liked experimenting with the different rodents to see which ones could turn around the fastest. Poor rodents got pretty dizzy!

My four-year-old was more than happy just pretend to play with the rodents. She was forming friendships between them and making up their names and little personalities. She enjoyed using the hamster house as the focal point of her role play, inviting the rodents over for playdates and cooking them food in the little food bowl.

The great thing with a larger-sized sensory bin like this is that it really encourages collaborative and cooperative play. My children were constantly chatting about their play with each other. It led to many exciting conversations about the different types of rodents in the bin and supporting them in their efforts to wait their turn and share the materials. It’s always fun to have an older sibling demonstrating play ideas for a younger sibling to follow.

It was amazing to see just how much this small world sensory bin prompted imaginative play. I like that the crinkle paper is a dry and relatively mess-free sensory base. It meant that the container could be easily stored and reused over a more extended period of time.

Do your children love small world play? I’d highly recommend using any of the Jumbo Pets to make an interactive sensory bin. It leads to the most beautiful collaboration and communication, as well as letting their imaginations run wild.

You can also print an adoption certificate for your not-so-furry friend!