Children learn best through PLAY! Sensory bins provide the opportunity for children to play oblivious to the fact that learning is taking place.

Optimal learning happens when all 5 senses of the child are engaged. Sensory bins provide much feedback to the child’s brain as they see, hear, feel, taste and smell new things. They also provide opportunities for children to practice and develop their fine motor, language and visual perceptual skills and add to sensory learning and dramatic play. Sensory bins are easier to make than you might think and you can keep it simple by using what you have in and around your house.

Since the world celebrated International Farm Animals Day on Sunday and its currently World OT week, we decided to create a fun farm animals sensory bin. It was quick and easy to set up - all the products we used are Grow products and available from our website (find the links below). The little ones had tons of fun exploring and digging!

The children played with and felt the various textures of the sand and animals. They built fences, used different tools and moved the sand between their fingers (fine motor development). They heard the names of the animals, named the animals and made animal noises (language development). They followed adult instructions (listening skills) and showed good imagination and understanding of the world as they were allowed the opportunity to personally direct the play taking place (dramatic play.) They placed animals inside or outside a fence and grouped similar animals together (Visual perceptual and Mathematical Skills.) As a parent/teacher/therapist it was super rewarding to see how all of these developmental areas were covered through this fun, simple-to-create play activity.

What we used:
*Be innovative, keep it simple and affordable by using what you have in your home e.g. fill a large plastic Tupperware with rice, popcorn, seeds or beans OR complete the activity in an area in your garden. 

We started by letting the little ones put the farm animals in the sand.


Once all the animals were in, they put in all the other toys and picked up the rakes.

The little ones moved the animals to be either “IN” or “OUT” the fenced areas we’d made from the linking gates.


They had loads of fun, digging, sorting, pouring and exploring.


Even the older children got involved.



In case you want deeper insight into why sensory play is so important to children check out this useful article:

We hope you enjoyed reading this as much as we enjoyed putting it together. We love to hear from you- leave a comment below or pop us an email if you have any questions or ideas to add.

Have fun!!

*PROVIDE CAREFUL SUPERVISION AT ALL TIMES. Keep in mind that many sensory materials are only appropriate for children 3 years and older. Set limits for safe play. Do not allow the children to throw sensory materials outside the table or containers. Grow Learning Company will not compensate you in any way whatsoever if you ever happen to suffer a loss/inconvenience/damage because of/while making use of information in this article.
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  • October 06, 2016
  • Khadija

Great idea … recently had a little princess and my son has been troubling a little… so I’ve been giving him a small bucket of water and some animals… and he baths them and is occupied for almost 2 hours … and he loves it …
I must get some sand and try this one … sure he will love it … Great post