Now that summer is winding down and the trips to the beach are becoming less frequent, I thought it was a good time to “bring” the beach to us during sensory play.
We read a lot of beach books this summer, like Stella Star of the Sea, which really inspired us to get a little creative and make a sensory bin at home.
Related: Shark Week Sensory Bin
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My toddler loves sensory stimulation — it gives him a chance to learn through play and engage his imagination. I also love how calm he becomes when he is able to focus on a simple activity like pouring water, digging dirt or squishing gelatin.
Ocean Beach Sensory Bin
Here’s what we used to create a beach-themed world:
- Blue Jell-O
- Trail Mix Cookie Crumbs
- Green Food Coloring
- Variety of Sea Shells (the toy kind or the real kind)
- Miniature Sea Creatures (this nicely sized set of 6 or a smaller assorted set for ages 3+)
Here’s what we did:
To create the blue ocean, I used a small storage bin and followed the directions for blue Jell-O. The bin I used was a bit deep, so would suggest using something less tall. Once the Jell-O had set overnight, I added plastic palm trees retrieved from our toy box.
Next, I took some stale (trail mix) cookies from the pantry and crumbled them over one end of the bin to create the sand. The trail mix was great for creating that chunky texture we got.
For more excitement and vivid colors, I decided to add “seaweed” by cooking a handful of spaghetti pasta. Once the pasta was cooked and dried, I combined it with a few drops of food coloring and shook it in a plastic ziplock bag. We set the color with some vinegar and rubbing alcohol and let the pasta sit for a few hours before laying out to dry.
To complete the beach, I added various size seashells and plastic sea creatures (shark, dolphin, starfish, sting rag, lobster etc.) purchased via Amazon.
I love how vibrant everything turned out…really did “bring the beach home” for us!
It provided an assortment of textures and shapes to explore, and at the same time was a perfect way to let my son engage in small world play with the sea creatures. He especially loved making the sting ray and shark dive into the water, hehe!
Although there was a bit of a sticky mess to clean up once play time was over, we had fun squishing the Jell-O around and spraying it with a hose!
What type of sensory bins have your children explored this summer?
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Ana, a mom to three rambunctious little boys, has supported hundreds of thousands of women throughout their pregnancy and motherhood journey since 2012 as a blogger and maternal health advocate at MommysBundle.com.