Saturday, August 10, 2013

Apple Picking Sensory Bin Kit

It looks simple and, yes, a bit Christmas-y instead of fall-like, but, oh the sensory and learning it can inspire!  (Read to the end and I think you'll agree.)

While planning for the Sensory Bin Swap we hosted the other day, I had many ideas about what to put in the bags we gave out.  A pumpkin patch theme.  A stuff-your-own-scarecrow one.  An apple orchard one.  And more.  In the end, I decided to recycle and re-use to make an apple picking themed bin, since apple picking is one of my family's favorite fall activities.

Making the bin became a family affair.

Nina and Jack helped me make the coffee-scented dirt that would be used at the base of our bin.

Then, the kids helped me cut soft evergreen garland to become "grass" for the orchard.

Nina then busied herself taking remnants of toilet paper off toilet paper rolls before the kids colored them brown to be "tree trunks", while I got to work cutting some red "fallen apples" off holiday bouquet ornaments I had tucked away and funding some holly decorations to become "tree branches, leaves and apples on the trees.

Meanwhile, Luke decided that each bin should have people, so he set to work drawing families of five, plus a dog and a picnic blanket for each family.

Daddy was enlisted to help cut some of the people, dogs and blankets out and Jack helped me stuff all the bags.

Finally, I typed up an info. sheet to go into each bag, the text of which is copied below in case you'd like to replicate it or tweak it to suit your needs.  (NOTE: Should anyone want a printable of the insert, leave a comment and I will get one up here or send you one via email.)

Apple Picking Sensory Bin Kit


  • tactile and olfactory stimulation
  • imagination
  • fine motor skills
  • concentration
  • story telling
  • potential calming

  • Activity Directions
    Place kit materials in a shoe-box sized bin and let child explore. 

    Bag Includes
    • 1 baggie of Coffee-Scented Play Dirt
    • 1 baggie of “grass”
    • 1 baggie with apple tree parts (trunk, leaves and apples and 6 loose apples)
    • 1 baggie of hand drawn family figurines (which can be colored by your child)

    (1)   Add more props – a small container for collecting apples, a toy tractor, little people, more “trees”, more “apples” etc. Encourage imaginative story telling.
    (2)   Use the Coffee-Scented Play Dirt for other bins. For example, with small play trucks it can be part of a construction-themed sensory bin.  With small containers it can be used for filling and dumping.  With little coins hidden in it, it can be part of a treasure-hunting themed bin. With the “grass” and some plastic flowers and bugs, it can become a spring or summer theme bin.  With the “tree trunk” tube and other open objects, it can be used for filling, shaping and molding.
    (3)   Place loose apples in the “dirt” or in the “grass” in the bin with nothing else in the bin, and have child search for them.  .
    (4)   Use the “grass” as part of a Christmas or evergreen-theme bin.
    (5)    Practice counting and other basic math skills using the loose apples and the ones on the tree.

    Source Inspiration
    • materials we had on hand
    • fall season

    ALLERGEN NOTICE: The “dirt” in this kit contains whole wheat flour, coffee grinds, corn flour, salt, vegetable oil and water.  Be aware of possible allergens.

    WARNING:  Although intended for children to use somewhat independently, this

    activity includes plastic bags (which may pose a suffocation hazard if used inappropriately), small parts (which can pose a choking hazard if swallowed) and covered wire (which can pose an injury hazard if used inappropriately)  Adult supervision is required.

    What fun sensory bins have you put together lately?

    This post is being shared at Montessori Monday.

    1 comment:

    Angela @ Teaching Mama said...

    Hi! I am so sorry for taking forever to write back to your comment on my blog! The bins we use are 12 quarts and I think from Walmart. The bins you use (from the above pictures) are probably about the same size. I think I used those in my classroom a few years ago. Hope that helps!!


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