I have discovered this thing called "sensory bins." For those of you who have not discovered it, I urge you to read further. They are wonderful! A sensory bin is a bin that has some kind of material inside it that allows for playing with the senses. Hence the name sense-ory bin. You can make a bin from any size bin and fill it with whatever your heart desires. I have given you a cheap example that will get you started. Usually a sensory bin is a bigger success if you theme it and try to stick to that theme. Notice my sensory box is Halloween colors and contents. You could do a pirate bin with fake coins, beaded necklaces, maybe a fake treasure chest, and teaspoons as shovels in blue gravel or sand.
Plastic bin of some size: I used a shoe size box from Walmart or Dollar Store. $1Dried Beans for filling: 1 lb bag from Walmart $2 (I rounded this price)
Fun objects: I bought a bag of small Halloween objects at the Dollar Store $1
Spoon(s) for playing: I got these out of my kitchen, but you can buy a set of teaspoons at the Dollar Store $1
Grand Total: $5 for a fun afternoon activity that will keep your little ones occupied.
Dollar Store Halloween objects
My little ones playing with bins.
WARNING: Please be warned that this activity is messy and probably not a good choice for small children unsupervised as it is a choking hazard.
TIP: Notice in my picture that my kids have blankets underneath them. This is a requirement as it makes clean up so much easier. I set rules that they are only allowed to play with the bins if they stay on the blanket. When they are done, we simply pick up the blanket and dump the contents into the bin.
Other ideas for sensory bin contents:
Other dried beans such as Pinto, Lima, or Garbanzo
Clear rocks (GemStones)
Ice water or just water
Cheerios or Fruit Loops
Ideas for fun objects:
Small plastic animals
Any small party favors
The possibilities are endless.