Hey there, fellow moms and teachers of energetic 2 year olds! Today, I want to dive into the wonderful world of sensory bin ideas and why they are an absolute game-changer for your young children’s development. If you’ve been looking for a fantastic way to boost fine motor skills and create a ton of fun for your little ones, you’re in the right place.
Sensory bins are like magic portals to a land of endless exploration for toddlers. These themed sensory bins, sensory trays, or even a simple sensory table can be filled with a wide range of materials that invite your little adventurers to dive in. Think pom poms, kinetic sand, water beads, cotton balls, and even things you can find at the dollar store like plastic eggs and black beans.
Create Your Sensory Activities from Your Pantry
But today, we’re focusing on a unique and fantastic material: aquafaba. Yes, that’s the liquid you usually pour down the drain when you open a can of chickpeas. Who knew it could be the secret ingredient for creating a great sensory bin experience, right? The best part is that it’s safe for toddlers to put in their mouths, it’s easy and cheap to buy, and the clean up is a breeze!
In this blog post, we’ll explore the benefits of sensory bins, particularly when it comes to open-ended play, fine motor skill development, and exposure to different textures. We’ll also delve into how to whip aquafaba into a foam that’s safe for sensory play.
So, if you’re looking for something safe for toddlers or just something new, aquafaba might just be the answer. Stick around to learn how to whip up the best sensory bins and create a sensory experience that your 2-year-olds will absolutely love.
Why Sensory Bins Are Important and Fun for Toddlers
Let’s dive into the exciting world of sensory play for 2-year-olds and explore why it’s an essential part of their development. Sensory bins, filled with an array of textures and materials like pom poms, cotton balls, and kinetic sand, offer a great way to enhance your little one’s growth while having so much fun. We have an entire guide here!
Sensory activities aren’t just about fun and games; they play a pivotal role in your child’s cognitive, fine motor, and sensory development. They are engaging in an enriching experience that stimulates their brain, hones their fine motor skills, and heightens their sensory awareness.
Imagine your child scooping, pouring, and feeling the different textures with aquafaba foam, for example. It’s like a mini science experiment that fascinates their curious minds. And don’t forget the sensory materials like water beads or cloud dough, which introduce them to a world of different textures, colors, and shapes, nurturing their creativity.
The best part? Sensory bins offer open-ended play, allowing young children to use their imagination and problem-solving skills. It’s more than just play; it’s a journey of discovery and learning that keeps them engaged and entertained for hours.
In this blog post, we’ll delve deeper into how these sensory bins can be a perfect tool for your child’s growth and why they’re a must-try for moms and teachers of 2-year-olds. So, let’s keep exploring and uncover the remarkable benefits of sensory play together!
Another exciting aspect of sensory bins that toddlers absolutely adore is the element of messy play. It might seem like a bit of a cleanup challenge, but it’s all part of the fun and learning process. As your little ones dive their hands into aquafaba foam, squish through cloud dough, or explore sensory materials like shaving cream and food coloring, they’re not just making a mess; they’re developing their sensory and tactile awareness.
Messy play is a great way for kids to experiment with cause and effect, experimenting with textures, and getting in touch with their senses. So, don’t be afraid to embrace the mess – it’s all in the name of learning and having a blast
Making Aquafaba Foam
Aquafaba is the liquid you usually pour down the drain when you open a can of chickpeas. But today, we’re going to discover why it’s an ideal base for a sensory bin table and how you can whip it into a fantastic foam.
Aquafaba sensory bins offer an effective tool for enhancing hand-eye coordination, math skills, and literacy skills while encouraging imaginary play. By incorporating different items, you create a sensory experience that keeps young kids engaged and excited to learn.
Firstly, what makes aquafaba stand out is its safety. It’s completely edible, which makes it perfect for younger kids who might be tempted to taste-test their sensory play materials. And it’s a great opportunity to teach your kids about the use of food items for purposes beyond cooking.
It’s a safe, affordable, and fun way to bring a world of sensory fun right to your classroom or home!
How to Make Your Own Foam
Creating aquafaba foam for your sensory bin is a breeze, and I’m here to guide you through the simple step-by-step process. Here’s how you can turn the liquid from two cans of chickpeas into a fluffy and delightful foam, perfect for sensory play:
Gather Your Ingredients
To start, you’ll need the liquid from two cans of chickpeas. This liquid is often referred to as aquafaba. It’s a versatile and budget-friendly base for your sensory foam. You’ll also need 1 teaspoon of cream of tartar, which helps stabilize the foam and give it that wonderful, airy texture.
Before you begin, make sure your standing mixer or hand mixer is clean and dry. Any moisture or residue can affect the whipping process.
Combine the Ingredients
In a mixing bowl, combine the aquafaba from the two cans with the cream of tartar. This will be your magic mixture that turns into a fantastic sensory material.
Whip It Up
Now, it’s time to work your magic. Place the mixing bowl with the aquafaba and cream of tartar into your standing mixer or use a hand mixer. Start at a low speed to avoid splattering, then gradually increase to high. Let it mix for 2-4 minutes.
Watch for Peaks
As you whip, keep an eye on the mixture. You’re looking for stiff peaks to form. This means that when you lift the mixer out of the mixture, the foam should hold its shape and not collapse. It’s like making meringue!
After 2-4 minutes, stop the mixer and check the consistency of your aquafaba foam. It should be light, fluffy, and resemble the texture of shaving cream.
Use in Your Sensory Bin
Your aquafaba foam is now ready for action! You can use it as the base for your sensory bin, adding different colors, materials, and items to create a truly engaging sensory experience for your little ones.
The best thing about this process is its toddler-friendly nature. It’s safe, edible, and easy to clean up. So, gather your supplies, follow these steps, and get ready to introduce your child to the magic of aquafaba sensory foam in your next sensory bin adventure!
What Else to Add to the Sensory Bin
Here’s the fun part: enhancing the sensory experience with a wide array of materials that cater to the interests and development of both younger children and big kids alike. When it comes to sensory bins, variety is the name of the game. So, let’s dive into the world of sensory elements and materials that will make your sensory bin the best part of your child’s day.
Don’t underestimate the power of kitchen utensils in your sensory bin adventures. Spoons, measuring cups, and ladles can transform the aquafaba foam into a hands-on learning tool. Children can scoop, pour, and mix the foam, developing their hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills in the process.
The best part is that these utensils offer a unique sensory experience, as the foam responds differently to each movement and interaction. So, encourage your little ones to experiment with these everyday tools, turning your sensory bin into an exciting and educational kitchen of their own!
Colored rice is one of the best sensory bin fillers around. It’s safe, easy to make at home using food coloring and dry rice, and it offers a lot of fun for little hands. Children can run their fingers through it, scoop it with little bins or containers, and even practice pouring and transferring skills.
Including textured objects like pine cones or even plastic animals in your sensory bin adds a whole new dimension to the experience. These items encourage sensory exploration and provide a sensory idea for open-ended play. As kids touch and feel these different materials, they stimulate their sense of touch and fine motor skills.
Child-safe toys are fantastic additions to your sensory bins. They not only add an element of fun learning but also provide opportunities for independent play. Toys like small cars or figurines can spark imaginative and open-ended play scenarios.
Dry beans are another excellent option for sensory bins. They’re safe, inexpensive, and readily available. Children love running their fingers through the beans and using them to bury and uncover little treasures.
Importance of Variety
The best sensory bins offer a mix of different materials, textures, shapes, and colors. This variety is not only a lot of fun but also plays a crucial role in promoting language development and independent play. Children are naturally drawn to the assortment of items, making each day’s sensory bin a new adventure.
So, whether you’re creating a sensory bin for younger children or big kids, remember that the possibilities are endless. Sensory bins encourage open-ended play and messy play, making them the best tool for engaging, educating, and entertaining your child. What’s your favorite sensory bin filler? Share your sensory bin adventures with us and let’s keep the sensory fun going!
Setting Up a Designated Play Area
The first step in the sensory adventure is to designate a specific play area for your little one. It’s the easiest way to contain the sensory fun and keep it somewhat organized. The easy way is to do sensory play outside.
But that’s not always possible if you don’t have a yard or you have a cold winter like us or a very hot summer. But don’t worry, you can still do this inside! Lay down a plastic tablecloth (from the dollar store) or an old sheet to define the play space. It also makes cleanup a breeze.
Importance of Supervision
While sensory play is all about open-ended exploration, it’s crucial to emphasize the importance of supervision. Young children might be tempted experiment in unexpected ways. Being there to guide and interact with them not only ensures their safety but also enhances the sensory experience.
Even though this sensory bin filler uses all safe materials that are safe to eat and harmless to get on clothes, we always recommend adult supervision.
Sensory Bin Fun
So, parents and caregivers, I encourage you to take the plunge into the world of sensory bins with your toddlers. These moments of sensory fun are not just about play; they are precious opportunities for learning, bonding, and making memories. Whether you’re a seasoned sensory bin enthusiast or trying it for the first time, there’s a whole universe of sensory exploration awaiting you and your child.
As you witness the wonder and excitement in your 2-year-old’s eyes, you’ll find that sensory play with aquafaba is more than just a fun activity. So, embrace the mess, savor the laughter, and explore the sensory bin world together. Your child’s development and your shared moments of joy will be all the reinforcement you need to keep coming back for more.
Make Your Own Sensory Table
For all of your sensory bin fun, make your own sensory table the easy way for all your own sensory bins! Here’s our easy step-by-step guide to making your own sensory table from PVC pipes. This table can be used in so may different ways and collapses for easy storage.
Check Out More Sensory Bin Ideas for 2 Year Olds
Another great idea for 2 year olds that is safe, inexpensive, and relatively easy to clean up is water play! Water makes a great, versatile base for sensory bins and is definitely one of the favorite sensory bin fillers for little hands. Check out our ocean themed sensory bin here!