How to Make Sensory Bins for Toddlers (2024)

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Entertain your little ones for hours and help build cognitive skills with these sensory bins for toddlers. Using dollar store supplies, they are inexpensive and super easy to make.

Samantha here again, bringing you more fun crafts for your kids. Since my boys range in age from pre-teen to toddler, I am always trying to find different crafts to suit their levels. My cactus rock painting craft was perfect for my pre-teen, and while we are doing more crafts like that, I need to keep my toddler busy. Insert sensory bins for toddlers!

How to Make Sensory Bins for Toddlers (1)

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Sensory bins for toddlers are so easy to make and don’t need to cost a lot of money. I have seen stores selling sensory bins for $30 each. Crazy! Using supplies from the dollar store, you can totally put multiple bins together for under $15. Half the price of what the stores sell it for and you can make three sensory bins. That’s what I will show you how to make today, three sensory bins your toddler will love.

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How To Make Sensory Bins for Toddlers

It’s easier than you think to engage your toddler in play that also promotes cognitive development. Those little ones are always growing and learning. These sensory bins are easy and inexpensive to make, and you will enjoy watching your toddler play with them.

What You Need:

Here’s what you’ll need from the store. The exact amounts are in the printable craft card at the bottom of this post.

Supplies Needed:

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What is the purpose of sensory bins?

Sensory bins are the perfect way to allow your toddler to explore the world around them through their senses. They are compact and easy to clean up, just throw the lid on the bin. They are a great way to engage your little one in hands-on play that can help focus and calm them.

Sensory bins provide entertainment for your toddler, while you unload the dishwasher or fold some laundry. Just make sure your child is in sight of you when using any sensory bin. They are still at the age of learning through putting items in their mouth.

Benefits of playing with sensory bins

Sensory bins for toddlers are fun to play with, but also help build cognitive skills. Toddlers can have fun and be entertained while gaining some of these benefits:

  • Aid in development of fine and gross motor skills
  • Help build nerve connections in the brain
  • Encourage problem solving and logical thinking
  • Support language development
  • Enhance memory
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What do you fill a sensory bin with?

What’s great about sensory bins is that you can fill them with so many different items. Rice and pasta are very popular bin fillers. Water or soapy water can be fun. Your little ones can add boats and pretend it is a pond.

During the winter, bring snow in from outside and let your child play with toys in that.

You can also use sand. Sand has a unique texture and using it in the sensory bin may provide a good opportunity for your toddler to get used to it.

Although my toddler has been going to the beach since he was three months old, this year he was not a fan of the sand. It appears he forgot what it felt like on his feet from last summer. Maybe if I created a sand-filled sensory bin this past winter, he could have become more comfortable with it.

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Tips for great sensory bins

Have other items on hand that you can switch in and out of your bins. You know your toddler’s attention span is dismal, so you need to change things up to get them excited. Keep the base of your bins the same, the pasta, the rice, the cotton balls…. but change up the items you use for play. Some fun items to use in the sensory bins are:

Sensory play ideas

Need just 10 minutes to complete a household task? Then what are you waiting for?! Create these sensory bins for toddlers and you may find they are playing with them for 20 minutes to even an hour. Imagine 30 minutes of engaged toddler time that is not in front of the TV. It’s possible!

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Print RecipeSave

How to Make Sensory Bins for Toddlers

It's so easy to make sensory bins for toddlers – here's how!

Cook Time5 minutes mins

Total Time5 minutes mins

Servings: 3 bins

Author: Samantha Root

Cost: $13


  • 3 plastic bins
  • 2 bags of cotton balls
  • 1 bag of rice
  • 1 bag of pasta
  • 2 bags of mini rubber ducks
  • 1 bag of army men
  • 1 bag of foam letters


  • Place the 3 plastic bins with their covers off on a table.

  • In one bin, dump out the two bags of cotton balls.

  • Then arrange the rubber ducks in the cotton balls.

  • In the second bin, pour in the bag of rice.

  • Then set up the army men in the rice.

  • In the third bin, pour in the bag of pasta.

  • Then add in the foam letters.

  • They are now ready to use. Place on the floor for your toddler to play with. Recommend one sensory bin at a time for play.


Cover the sensory bins with their lids when not in use.

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More Fun Kids’ Crafts Ideas

If you enjoyed these sensory bins for toddlers then you will love these other toddler craft ideas:

  • Edible Play Dough Recipe
  • Recycled Egg Carton Boats
  • Seahorse Tissue Paper Beach Theme Craft
How to Make Sensory Bins for Toddlers (2024)


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