This is the second year I include seasons-themed sensory bins in my lessons, and I’m really happy about the way they work in the classroom. My kids have fun playing with them while developing their language and fine motor skills. Also, I´ve been reading about the importance of providing kids with sensory stimuli, so I plan a sensory play lesson for every season (autumn, winter, spring and summer) with my 3-year-olds.
This time I prepared two winter-themed bins. The first one was filled with cotton balls, cotton filling, different-sized porexpan balls, some white stones and a few animal figurines (penguins, polar bears and seals). I also put some clothespins in there in case they wanted to use them for moving the cotton balls around.
The second bin was filled with Epsom salt. You can see animals and some glittery strips in the picture here, but I took them out later as they were a bit of a distraction from the sensory experience I wanted it to be. Kids just loooved burying their hands in the “snow” and making “snow castles”. Epsom salt is a great material for this as it has a very pleasant touch and the colour is just like real snow. You can store it and use it again later, as long as you put several net pouches (the ones used for small gifts) with rice in it to absorb the humidity.
We have 25 kids in each class so you have to plan and organize this kind of activities really well. My kids played in each bin in groups of five for about 10 minutes. While 2 groups were playing, the rest were doing something else with another teacher.