This idea came from watching Instagram stories- easy (and inexpensive) sensory bins! Nothing fancy here- 5lb bag of rice ($3.99 from Target), 16 oz bag of beans ($1.99 from Target) and a small plastic bin with lids (99 cents from Target). We spontaneously ended up coloring the rice at the end of the night- see recipe below!
For the first activity, we hunted for puzzle pieces. Just took four of the kids’ puzzles and hid the pieces in the bin. My two year old just LOVED this game. My four year old liked it but did end up getting her Shopkins, Hatchimals, etc. and hid them in the bin after my son was done playing- this was much more fun for her!
Coloring the Rice
At the end of the night, my daughter suggested coloring the rice for some added fun! The recipe is easy enough. In separate containers add 1 cup rice, 1 tsp vinegar, and food coloring of your choices. Seal the containers and shake until rice is covered. Let dry over night on paper towels. Easy enough, right?
Another easy and inexpensive sensory bin ideas is to use water beads. I bought our water beads on Jane.com ($1.99 for 10,000 beads) as a stocking suffer, however, Amazon has a plethora of water bead options. Making the water beads are simple- place in a large container with water and let the beads soak until they have swollen. At this point you can hide any fun items like in the rice and bean sensory bins. Note that these are water beads so do not put anything that is easily damaged with water. Honestly, the kids just like to run their hands in them so not many stuffers are needed!
All in all these activities cost us under $10 and the kids played for about 2 hours before bedtime. It is so much fun to watch them use problem solving skills along with their active imaginations! Other ideas with this sensory bins is to hide dinosaur bones, animals, or genie gems (my 4 year old’s idea)!