Sensory Bin

By CDDH Consultant, Amy Nunez, B.Ed

Child: Oskar - 1 year old

When I arrived, your brother asked me what I bought and opened up the sensory bin as soon as I set it down. When Shiela put you down, you came to explore with us. The bin had paper grass, fabric rose petals, paper clips, feathers, buttons, gems, magnets, little containers and a variety of other items. I let you explore for a bit before handing each of you a magnetic wand.


Here you are having fun exploring the materials.

Once I gave you the magnetic wand, you saw your brother put it into the bin and pick some items up with it. You decided to give it a try yourself!

Exploring with the magnetic wand. What's this attached to the magnet?

You were having lots of fun exploring with the different materials and textures. I was surprised at how well you played with the other children. At one point, you had taken another magnetic wand that your friend was not using. When he realized you had it, he grabbed it out of your hand and took it back. You didn’t fuss or try to take it back from him and were content with the magnet you already had.


Will this stick?

You seemed to enjoy the different textures of the materials and exploring their different properties. When you found a new object, you would hold it out for me to see.


The paper grass seemed to be your favorite. You took it out of the bin to play with and even decided that you would like to sit in the bin to play with it!


Look at the paper attached to my magnet!

You are such a good helper. When you were finished, you decided to help clean up and went to put the paper into the garbage. Shiela told you that it was not garbage and that it could go back in the bin. You are a great listener and followed her directions.


Learning Dispositions

I Play

-Invent, create & imagine

-I am playful

I seek

-Explore with all my senses

-I am curious, I wonder

I participate

-Engage with others

-Listen and observe

I care

-Care about me, my family and others

-I can help

Curriculum Connections

From the Early Learning and Child Care Curriculum Framework;

Well being

Emotional Health and Positive Identities

Sense of Self

Sense of Others

  • Being curious and questioning (very curious about all the different materials
  • Experiencing trust and compassion with children and adults (played well with the other children and interacted with myself and the provider as well during play)


Sense of Place

Respectful and Responsive Relationships

  • Negotiating new spaces (playing inside the bin)
  • Forming close relationships with a range of adults (showing me new items he found, listening to provider and following her instructions)
  • Participating in group initiatives (playing with the other children. When they finished with the sensory bin and moved over to the kitchen center, you followed)

Physical Health

Body and Movement

  • Increasing bodily awareness, control, strength, agility, and large motor coordination (taking the paper out of the bin and throwing it up in the air. Kept your own personal space, not intruding on others)
  • Increasing fine motor capacities (picking small items up, taking items off the magnet)

Play and Playfulness

Imagination and Creativity

Flexibly and fluid thinking

  • Seeing people, places, and things in new ways (seeing paper, magnets, paper clips, etc as items to play with)
  • Making their own words, marks, and movements (taking the paper out of the bin and throwing it in the air, sitting in the bin to play)

Playful Exploration and Problem Solving

Experience properties of objects

  • Playfully exploring and investigating the properties of objects
  • Experimenting with action and reaction, cause and effect (exploring with the magnet, throwing paper in the air and it coming back down)
  • Developing a sense of fair play (sharing materials with others, not fussing when your friend took his magnet back that you had)

Dizzy Play

Pleasure in sharing the joy of laughter

  • Experiencing exhilarating physical release (happy throwing the paper into the air)
  • Making nonsense (no specific way to play with the items, exploring different ways)
  • Clowning and physical humour (laughing with others, throwing paper into the air)

Now What?

Questions for the provider:

How can you extend this activity?

1. Metal puzzle pieces are placed in the bin with other non-magnetic/metallic objects.  The children will use a magnetic wand to find and pick up all the puzzle pieces.  Then they would complete the puzzle.

2. After the children explore the materials, they can use the materials for decoration, to make a triple layered cake craft. Especially the time my theme is about "baking and cooking".  This kind of materials is good for decorating the cake craft.

What are some of Oskar’s favorite things to play with in the dayhome?

- Carpentry- he likes to insert the nails through the holes, he likes to hammer in the nails.

- Square blocks, he can stack five blocks.

- Boxes' he puts his body in the box

- Dinosaurs

- Transportation

- Doodles/scribbling

- Painting/gluing

- Snow he likes sliding in the snow

- Marching band music

- Animal toys

- Balls, he enjoys putting the ball in the basketball hoop.

- Enjoys playing in the water

- Listening to music

- He likes climbing

- playing the telephone

- Likes to put things together

- House keeping area, pretend to cook,eat, and plays with the dishes

- Crawling in the box tunnel

- Enjoys sitting on his favourite chair

- Likes putting things inside the critter clinic

- He likes observing lights and more

What do you think Oskar enjoyed most about this activity?

He enjoys most in finding new things like texture of new objects or seeing how things work.  Finding something new things excites him, especially when the shredded tissue paper was sticking to the magnetic wand.  He later tries to find out if another object would stick to it.

For Oskar:

I wonder why you were most attracted to the paper grass in the bin.

I wonder what you would do if there was no paper grass. How would you play with the other items?

I wonder what made you decide to sit in the bin.

I wonder what you would do with some yarn.

I wonder what would happen if you were given a magnet and some magnetic and non magnetic items

Questions for the parents:

Is there anything that surprised you about the learning story?

Oskar has always been an inquisitive and curious little man who cooperates well with other children. He loves new experiences, and loves textures.

What are some of Oskar’s favorite things to play with at home?

Oskar loves things that you can stack, or put things into. He loves experimenting with what can fit into what and how high a tower he can create. He also loves Duplo Lego and baking supplies (bowls, spoons, spatulas).

Do you have any questions or comments?

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