Simplifying Sensory Play

Simple Sensory Play Collection



After years of themed sensory bins, I have gotten to a stage in life where I need to simplify.  We still do the occasional themed bin, but I need to have our sensory materials more easily accessible both for Ladybug and for me!  She still really enjoys sensory materials, and so do my boys.

Earlier this year I reorganized our supplies and we have been using them this way since September.  It has made it so much easier!

I listed out all of the “base” sensory materials we normally use and a few I wanted to add to our collection.  I got out small bins we already had {these are from Target} to store them all in one place. I also got a set of gallon sized zipper bags for the items that wouldn’t fit in my bins.

Sensory Item Storage

 

I also purchased 5 small bins that rotate through our All By Myself Preschool Boxes.

All By Myself Preschool Boxes - Mini Sensory Bins

I put one of these small pink bins in each of her All By Myself Preschool Boxes, so each day she will have a new sensory material to play with. I chose these bins because they have lock tops but she can open them independently.  The small slim size was also a part of my purchase decision!

I store the baggies and clear bins in my storage room on a shelf. You can see the bag section on the left is overflowing! I would have used all baggies but I had these bins that were empty.  So, I use both.

Sensory Bin Supplies

I also have an area that I keep open to prep the bins each week.  Although, it doesn’t always look like this.  Reality is, the area often gets junked up and I sit on the floor.  But this was my original plan and if clean I do this.  Thankfully it’s clean again since I cleared it to take pictures for you!

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Here is a visual version of our current sensory items…

Sensory Bin Supplies

Sensory Bin Supplies

Sensory Bin Supplies

Many items listed would NOT be good choices for independent play for most tots.  Ladybug is 4 1/2 and has never been one to put anything in her mouth.  She is always close by me and I feel comfortable with what I have chosen for her.  You’ll have to make that decision based on your own child{ren} and your comfort level with certain items.  I am aware that some of the items I listed are not considered “safe” by some people, the decision of whether or not to use an item is yours.

Helpful Links ~

All By Myself Preschool Boxes

 

See how she uses these sensory items in our Learning with Ladybug blog posts.  Click on an image to see the post, this is a collection of a majority of my posts from this school year!

Home Preschool January 2014  All By Myself Preschool Boxes Aug 2013  Learning with Ladybug Home Preschool January 2014

All By Myself Preschool Boxes Sept 2013   Learning with Ladybug Nov 2013  Learning with Ladybug Age 4

Home Preschool Nov 2013  All By Myself Preschool Boxes October 2013  Home Preschool Oct. 2013

Learning with Ladybug ~ Age 4y, 9m

Home Preschool January 2014



Welcome to our weekly preschool at home blog feature, Learning with Ladybug!  As you probably know, I scrapped our preschool plan and built a new one based around our current needs.

We have a few main preschool categories, you can read the entire plan here, I will break my weekly posts down by category so you can see what she did each week within a certain area. If we have a letter focus, I will do a separate post to make searching easier.  I will do the same for any themes we do.

See our entire Home Preschool Plan here!

{disclaimer: affiliate links are used in this post}


Spielgaben ~ Play Based Learning

We continued our work with box 5 in Spielgaben, which contains cubes and triangular prisms.  Below she was using one of the worksheets to recreate the design.

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In another lesson we made a pyramid together…

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For this worksheet she had to create the shape shown and then match up the number of blocks used for each shape.

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Making toothpick creatures is still one of her favorite activities.

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FYI ~ I am not being paid at all to continue to share about Spielgaben, I was given the set to review and write one post {this one}.  What you will see from here on out is just because we are loving it so much!

Jim from Spielgaben saw my blog posts and emailed me to say thanks and offer my readers a deal on the pre-orders now being taken!  If you contact Jim from Spielgaben, he will give you a discount if you mention my blog!  Regular price to pre-order is $405, and my readers can pre-order for $355 {these are AUD prices but the conversion is similar, it actually favors USD right now so your price will be lower than AUD}.  Shipping is free. Contact Jim with any questions!


Messy Fun

We have always had lots of messy fun but I am making it a more intentional part of our plan.  Almost all of my ideas are pinned here on my Sensory play board.  I am trying to have one planned messy creation experience per week, even if it’s just making a new batch of something we’ve already done.

In honor of it being winter, we made our indoor snow again!  See our original post for more details!

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We added in our Arctic Toob animals and guys, which she LOVED!

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After a few days, we added more shaving cream and baking soda to it, to freshen it up some!

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Sensory-and-Messy-Play-Pinterest-Boa[2]


All By Myself Preschool Boxes

I didn’t create new boxes this week, she had the option of going back in the previous boxes and bins.  That’s her “snow” on the top of the boxes.  She didn’t necessarily like this plan, but I wanted to try going every 2 weeks instead of every one.

All By Myself Preschool Boxes

She spent much of her afternoon time reading, we have a big box of books in the living room, and she loves to sit and read by herself.

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She asked for her bead box and made bead spirals on glittery pipe cleaners.

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One afternoon she built with her blocks and added the Minecraft characters in!

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See all items that rotate through our boxes here!

All By Myself Preschool Boxes


All the Rest

I got her POP for Rhyming for Christmas since she likes POP for Counting so much.  This game was a big success too!  She is no where close to mastering rhyming, so this is great, fun practice!

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She also got a Cootie game for Christmas, which we played together!

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There was lots of crafting, mostly with premade crafts like this {thanks to my Mom}.  She loves these, with the stickers and small foam pieces to dump on for color.

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See our LETTER U work here,  which was done during the same time as what you see above! Home Preschool Letter U

Visit Preschool Corner to see more home preschool families!

Learning with Ladybug ~ age 4y, 8.5m

Learning with Ladybug Home Preschool January 2014

 

Welcome to our weekly preschool at home blog feature, Learning with Ladybug!  As you probably know, I scrapped our preschool plan and built a new one based around our current needs. 

We have a few main preschool categories, you can read the entire plan here, I will break my weekly posts down by category so you can see what she did each week within a certain area. If we have a letter focus, I will do a separate post to make searching easier.  I will do the same for any themes we do.

See our entire Home Preschool Plan here!

{disclaimer: affiliate links are used in this post}


Spielgaben ~ Play Based Learning

 

We moved on to box 5 in Spielgaben, which contains cubes and triangular prisms.  When we start a new box, I always let her explore first.

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She wanted to make a bed for her “squirmy wormy” so we did! 

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VERY pleased with the bed we made!

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The next day we began the first lesson, which was exploring cubes.  She followed my lead to put together the prisms in different formations.Home Preschool -3138

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FYI ~ I am not being paid at all to continue to share about Spielgaben, I was given the set to review and write one post {this one}.  What you will see from here on out is just because we are loving it so much!

Jim from Spielgaben saw my blog posts and emailed me to say thanks and offer my readers a deal on the pre-orders now being taken!  If you contact Jim from Spielgaben, he will give you a discount if you mention my blog!  Regular price to pre-order is $405, and my readers can pre-order for $355 {AUD 355 is equivalent to USD 320 including shipping to USA currently}.  Shipping is free. Contact Jim with any questions!


Messy Fun

We have always had lots of messy fun but I am making it a more intentional part of our plan.  Almost all of my ideas are pinned here on my Sensory play board.  I am trying to have one planned messy creation experience per week, even if it’s just making a new batch of something we’ve already done. 

I didn’t have it in me to create something truly messy, so I opted to bring back out the sponge/water bowls!  She was THRILLED!  I used warm water, and the big bowls are from Dollar Tree.  It is filled with assorted sponges and eh squeezes and plays for a very long time!

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Sensory-and-Messy-Play-Pinterest-Boa[2]


All By Myself Preschool Boxes

She spends about an hour in the afternoon playing with her boxes. Usually this hour starts right after lunch, but if she wants to play messy stuff first, I let her.  I am basically requiring her to float between her boxes or the messy play table, or if she wants to be difficult, she can take a nap.  I sneak in to snap photos, but mostly she plays alone.  Sometimes she comes to get me to show me something too.

We haven’t been able to do school on the 5th day recently in the afternoon {when she has her box time} so I only make 4 boxes now.

In her four sensory boxes this week ~ colored wheat berries, mini erasers, lentils, and pom poms.Weekly Sensory Exploration Boxes

 

Her boxes always have 3-4 books in them each day, and I often find her like this.

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See all items that rotate through our boxes here!


All the Rest

Integrity Time Letter G for GENEROUS!  The object lesson was to share a graham cracker fairly. I got an iPad Mini for Christmas and it has loads of storage, so I now have room to keep my manuals there!  SO much easier!

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Realizing that she was the one who got MORE bunnies in her bag. 

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Being GENEROUS with her brother so he can have the same amount.

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Krash is exploring rocks and minerals in science so of course she joins us for the fun stuff!

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See our LETTER T work here,  which was done during the same time as what you see above! Home Preschool Letter T

 

Visit Preschool Corner to see more home preschool families!

Learning with Ladybug ~ Age 4y, 6.5m part 2

Home Preschool Nov 2013

Welcome to our weekly preschool at home blog feature, Learning with Ladybug!  As you probably know, I scrapped our preschool plan and built a new one based around our current needs. 

We have a few main preschool categories, you can read the entire plan here, I will break my weekly posts down by category so you can see what she did each week within a certain area. If we have a letter focus, I will do a separate post to make searching easier.  I will do the same for any themes we do.

See our entire Home Preschool Plan here!

{disclaimer: affiliate links are used in this post}


Spielgaben ~ Play Based Learning

 

We continued our work with set 3 {cube blocks} from Spielgaben this week.  We worked on the Empty Space lesson…

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She loved making “flowers” with me and played with them for about a week after we made them!

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Here she was making shapes on the worksheets in our dry erase activity center and matching the designs to real world examples.

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Home Preschool -0370 Home Preschool -0371

 

FYI ~ I am not being paid at all to continue to share about Spielgaben, I was given the set to review and write one post {this one}.  What you will see from here on out is just because we are loving it so much!

Jim from Spielgaben saw my blog posts and emailed me to say thanks and offer my readers a deal on the pre-orders now being taken!  If you contact Jim from Spielgaben, he will give you a discount if you mention my blog!  Regular price to pre-order is $405, and my readers can pre-order for $355 {these are AUD prices but the conversion is similar, it actually favors USD right now so your price will be lower than AUD}.  Shipping is free. Contact Jim with any questions!


Messy Fun

We have always had lots of messy fun but I am making it a more intentional part of our plan.  Almost all of my ideas are pinned here on my Sensory play board.  I am trying to have one planned messy creation experience per week, even if it just making a new batch of something we’ve already done. 

Sometimes I regret my messy play decision.  This was one of those weeks.  We made “soft play dough” and it was awful.  Could have been the conditioner I chose to use, who knows, but I could not get it to not be insanely sticky.  I got the recipe here, the specifics of what we used is pictured below.

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Pac took some pictures as Ladybug and I were making it together, you can see how sticky it was from the beginning!

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Although a total mess, she loved it.

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The final moment this stuff lived in my house.  I threw it away after one play session.

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We will NOT be making this one again!

Sensory-and-Messy-Play-Pinterest-Boa[1]


All By Myself Preschool Boxes

She spends about an hour in the afternoon playing with her boxes. Usually this hour starts right after lunch, but if she wants to play messy stuff first, I let her.  I am basically requiring her to float between her boxes or the messy play table, or if she wants to be difficult, she can take a nap.  I sneak in to snap photos, but mostly she plays alone.  Sometimes she comes to get me to show me something too.

We haven’t been able to do school on the 5th day recently in the afternoon {when she has her box time} so I only make 4 boxes now.

In her 4 small sensory bins this week: lentils, colored macaroni noodles, colored wheat berries, flower leis.

The lentils were a BIG hit!Home Preschool -0293

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She is MUCH better at cleaning now than in the beginning. 

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Never fails, every time beads are near, she makes a “snake.”

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She LOVED the rainbow wheat berries!

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Favorite items this week: colored wheat berries, wooden beads, lentils

See all items that rotate through our boxes here!


All the Rest

Reading happens a LOT!

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Candy Construction…her first time following the instruction manual and building the swing herself!

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We continue to slowly learn cursive letters using the salt box and Logic of English Cursive.

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We always have some free play in the tray after and during letter learning!

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See our LETTER Q work here, it was done during the same time as what you see above!

Home Preschool letter Q

Visit Preschool Corner to see more home preschool families!

Colored Wheat Berries for Sensory Play

Colored Wheat Berries

{disclaimer ~ affiliate links used in this post}

It’s been many years since I have colored pasta or rice for sensory play, but the process hasn’t changed!  The materials have though!  I was inspired by this post on dyeing barley for sensory play.  We didn’t have barely but I am obsessed with wheat berries {and order them in bulk from Amazon} so I gave it a try!  The results were awesome!

There are a few methods to dyeing stuff, but I chose to use the method I had used years ago as a teacher. All measurements are totally guesses, I didn’t actually measure anything.

  1. put uncooked wheat berries in Ziploc bag {approx. 1 C}
  2. add about a teaspoon of white vinegar
  3. add a drop of food coloring
  4. seal bag and shake/mix it up
  5. add more coloring if desired.
  6. mix well
  7. put parchment paper on cookie sheets {not necessary, but what I did}
  8. dump damp colored wheat berries onto trays
  9. allow to dry {we left ours overnight}

Here’s a bit of a visual version…

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You can see I did some macaroni noodles on the same day…

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She played on the trays the day after they dried, I just forgot to take any pictures!  The next week I surprised her with her new mini sensory bin for her All By Myself Preschool Box time!

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She loved her rainbow wheat berries and played with them for hours!  They will now be put in the sensory item rotation for her boxes each week!

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See more sensory play ideas on my Pinterest board!

Sensory and Messy Play Pinterest Board