St. Patrick’s Day is a great excuse to get your Easter grass out early and create an engaging sensory bin for your child. This setup only requires a few affordable materials, all of which can be reused for other play-based learning activities. The nature of this bin also makes it easily adaptable to encourage both open-ended sensory play and some more structured numeracy learning.
What you need:
- Learning Resources® Primary Science® Jumbo Tweezers™ and Handy Scoopers™
- Easter grass (fake grass found in stores such as Walmart, Michael’s, and Dollar Tree)
- Mini cauldrons (Party City)
- Pretend gold coins (Dollar Tree)
- Learning Resources Dice Poppers
- Bin or container
Let’s Get Set Up
Simply put the Easter grass into the bin and spread the gold coins out. Add in a few of the mini cauldrons as well as the fine motor tools. You can decide whether you want to include the dice or not; sometimes, it is best to hold off and save that element of the activity for the second round of play at a later date, depending on your child’s age.
As with any sensory bin activity, I always like to allow plenty of time for my preschooler to explore the setup open-endedly. I intentionally avoid giving instructions and instead simply let my daughter lead the play and engage with her own play adventure.
With this setup, she initially chose to make ‘green soup’ in the mini cauldrons. She gathered pieces of the grass and stuffed them inside the cauldrons. Her little hands were working hard, and she was chatting about her yummy creation the whole time. She then added some gold coins and stated that I needed some of the coins to pay for my soup. I always love the creativity and conversation that flows with sensory play.
As she finished up making her soup, I introduced a Dice Popper! Hoping that it would lead to some counting work. I asked her to pop the dice and recognize the number before counting that many coins into the cauldron. I also added the challenge of using one of the fine motor tools to transfer the coins with. This was great for her early numeracy skills, as well as developing those all-important fine motor skills.
A tip when using fine motor tools with children is to always provide a choice of tool type. Different children find different tools easy and hard to use, and the last thing I would want is to frustrate my child by asking them to use a tool that they find too tricky. My daughter gave both tools a good try but found the Handy Scoopers much easier for this particular activity and enjoyed using those most of the time. Having the Jumbo Tweezers on the mat encouraged her to try them, and with time she will get more confident.
We will keep this sensory bin set up in our toy room for the rest of the week to allow for further play and learning. I always enjoy watching what other materials my little one chooses to bring into the play.