12 Fun Winter Sensory Bins for Preschoolers (2024)

Sensory bins are a great way to keep your little ones engaged, learning, and busy this Winter. Included below is a list of 12 fun winter sensory bins that will help occupy your little ones during the long cold winters.

Sensory bin ideas that are included below range from snowy sensory bins, to arctic animal sensory bins, book-themed winter sensory bins and more.

Many of these sensory bins your will already have the necessary items on-hand and around the house so you shouldn’t have to go out and buy extra supplies for some of them which is a bonus when it is cold and showy out.

For other fun sensory bin ideas be sure to also check out these spring themed sensory bins as well.

This post may contain affiliate links and as an Amazon Associate and a member of other affiliate programs, I may earn a small compensation from qualifying purchases. All opinions and recommendations are my own.

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Winter Sensory Bins for Toddlers and Preschoolers

1. “The Mitten” themed sensory bin

This adorable book themed sensory bin goes with the classic children’s book “The Mitten” by Jan Brett. It includes a free Mitten themed template, uses a colored pasta sensory filler base, and includes other snowy or wintery themed items to make a fun storytelling sensory bin. It is easy to throw together and great for learning sequencing and retelling skills.

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2. Arctic Sensory Bin

This arctic animal sensory bin from Little Ladoo uses styrofoam, colored water, plastic arctic animal figurines, and more to create a fun arctic scene. It uses lots of different sensory experiences to teach all about arctic animals and their habitat. Children will love splashing, playing, and exploring this fun arctic sensory bin.

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3. Snowman Winter Sensory Bin

This fun and easy to throw together winter snowman sensory bin uses all things snow themed to make the perfect snowy sensory bin for preschoolers and toddlers. Using white rice, cotton balls, wooden snowman figures, and more, create a fun sensory bin that is perfect for making pretend snowmen, scooping and pouring. Head on over to Simplyfullofdelight for directions.

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4. Winter Ice Castle Sensory Bin

This winter ice castle sensory bin by littlebinsforlittlehands includes directions to make a fun sensory bin from kinetic sand and blocks. Make a fun winter ice castle or igloo with this sensory bin and head over to check out the free printable on the benefits of sensory play.

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5. Snow Dough Sensory Bin

This fun Snow Dough Sensory Bin from Two Pink Peonies includes a recipe to make snow dough. Using cornstarch and baby oil, make cornstarch, add it to a bin with a few snowman themed items like carrot noses, buttons, and fabric for a scarf and you have the most fun snowman dough themed sensory play activity.

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6. Hot Cocoa Sensory Bin

This super fun hot cocoa themed sensory bin is the perfect Winter themed sensory bin for a cold day. Using chocolate cereal, marshmallows, candy canes, and more, kids will love pretending to make their own hot chocolate. Print out the free recipe cards to help little ones practice direction reading and number recognition while playing as well.

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7. Baking Soda Snow Sensory Garden Tray

This fun sensory garden tray uses nature based items found outside like sticks and pine needles, to make a fun snowy garden/winter tree themed sensory play scene. Using baking soda as the snow base, kids will love playing with this winter scene over and over. Head over to barleyandbirch for more directions.

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8. Snow and Ice Rainbow Sensory Bin

This super fun winter sensory bin by lifeovercs uses snow and rainbow ice to create a fun and inexpensive rainbow sensory bin. Children will be able to practice and learn colors and color mixing skills while feeling the different temperatures and learning about the properties of melting ice and snow.

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9. Construction Winter Sensory Bin

This super fun construction themed winter sensory bin uses a snow base, letters, and construction vehicles. It practices letter recognition skills, allows for pretend snowplow play, and children will love the tactile feel of the baking soda and conditioner sensory snow. Head over to themindfultoddler for directions to create this winter snowplow sensory play.

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10. Arctic Ice Igloo Sensory Bin Play

This awesome tutorial on how to make ice igloos for sensory play by Simplyfullofdelight is a great way to get in some sensory play this winter. Head over to learn how to make igloos from ice and containers, pair them with arctic animals, and some droppers with warm water for a fun and engaging winter sensory play idea.

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11. Polar Bear Sensory Play

This sensory bin uses foam beads, pom poms, and gems to look like snow and ice. Add in some polar bears and it makes a great winter sensory pretend play bin. Learn all about arctic animals while exploring different textures. Head over to livinglifeandlearning for more directions on how to create this fun polar bear sensory play.

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12. Simple Snowy Sensory Play

This super easy to make sensory bin uses real snow and whatever plastic toys and scoops you have around the house for some fun snowy play indoors. Grab fresh snow from outside, put it in a pan or bin, put a towel underneath, and add scoops and plastic toys for hours of fun without having to go out in the cold. The perfect snowy winter sensory play idea!

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For some of these activities, you can use materials found around the house. Some need basic craft materials that you can buy at a craft store or Dollar Tree. For others, you can find plastic arctic animals, cotton balls, white sensory bases like rice, beans, and more, at a local store or online below.

Additional Winter Activities and Crafts for Kids

Are you in need of additional winter themed activities for kids? Check out some of the fun winter themed arts and crafts activities below that you can find on the blog.

    • These arctic animal crafts use a fork and acrylic paints to make fun arctic ox, snow rabbit, polar bear crafts and more. Includes free templates as well.
    • This ice skating craft for kids makes the perfect hanging ornament for a Christmas tree or a fun ice skating themed craft for kids.
    • These cool salt painted snowflakes use salt and liquid glue to make a fun and sparkly snow themed craft for kids.

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12 Fun Winter Sensory Bins for Preschoolers (2024)

FAQs

What are the learning outcomes of sensory bins? ›

Sensory bins support your child's development in several ways: Improve fine motor skills. Digging, pouring, stirring, and scooping can strengthen your child's hand muscles and improve their fine motor skills.

Are sensory bins good for 4 year olds? ›

Sensory bins are great fun for young children, they love to scoop, pour, dig and explore many different materials. But a successful sensory bin experience often includes engaging tools kids can use to explore the materials.

How are sensory bins developmentally appropriate? ›

Sensory bins provide children with the opportunity to explore and learn through hands-on tactile play that engages their senses. These bins encourage and support various types of development and are great activities to have in your home. Sensory bins can be themed for holidays, seasons and academic skills.

What are the benefits of sensory activities? ›

Why is sensory play important?
  • Helping children understand how their actions affect what's around them.
  • Supporting brain development, enhancing memory, complex tasks and problem solving.
  • Developing fine motor skills through tactile play (useful when children want to hold a pen or use scissors for example).
Feb 10, 2022

What is a sensory bin preschool? ›

Essentially, a sensory bin is a container filled with materials specifically chosen to stimulate the senses, allowing the child to explore and interact with the items as they choose. Sensory play is a great way to expose your child to a variety of textures, facilitate communication, and actively engage with your child.

Why use sensory bins in preschool? ›

A sensory bin is a great way to introduce sensory play, allowing children to explore objects and develop sensory skills through tactile play. They also promote the development of other crucial skills for a child's development. The best part is that they have unlimited use.

What containers are best for sensory bins? ›

You could also use dish tubs or shoebox storage containers. Water tables would be perfect outside if you are using messy materials and want easy clean-up. You can even find sensory tables that have two side-by-side tubs that would be good if more than one child at a time is using it.

How do you fill a sensory bin? ›

You have a good variety of filler ideas here! Our regular sensory bins have Easter grass, blue rice and lentils in them. We have also used wheat, sand, dirt and water beads and I made green jello for a sensory bin once.

Are sensory bins necessary? ›

Sensory bins promote imaginative skills.

Pretend play is so important for children because it helps them grow in all areas of development. It can especially help develop their social and emotional understanding of their world.

Do 3 year olds like sensory bins? ›

Short answer: yes. Creating sensory bins for toddlers allows them to build skills and understanding through play-based, hands-on learning. Sensory bins are easy, in-expensive, and effective for supporting toddler in their growth and development – but (spoiler alert) they don't have to be messy to be fun.

Why is sensory play so important for children? ›

Sensory play has an important role in your child's development. Not only does it help your child engage their five senses—sight, smell, hearing, touch, and taste—but it also boosts their language skills and motor skills. Sensory play also promotes exploration, creativity, curiosity, and problem-solving.

What age should you start sensory bins? ›

At the toddler stage, from ages 2 to 3, kids are typically ready to engage with more toys. A great place to start are sensory bins—literally, a bin or box filled with various materials meant to stimulate the senses.

How do you introduce sensory activities? ›

It's simple for children to enjoy sensory play when you create a sensory bin for them to explore. To create a sensory bin, simply fill a small tub or container with objects from nature such as leaves, rocks, and sand that have different textures for your little one to explore.

What is the objective of the sensory bin? ›

Sensory bins promote self-regulation.

This also includes awareness of motion and balance. Playing in a sensory bin can help a child to organize their feelings of where their body parts are in relation to other things. Sensory bins can also be a technique for calming an upset child.

What is the purpose of sensory bins? ›

Essentially, a sensory bin is a container filled with materials specifically chosen to stimulate the senses, allowing the child to explore and interact with the items as they choose. Sensory play is a great way to expose your child to a variety of textures, facilitate communication, and actively engage with your child.

What are the goals of sensory learning? ›

Learning Intentions of sensory stories include:
  • Improved Focus and Engagement. The sensory inputs help capture students' attention and keep them focused, even those with limited attention spans. ...
  • Enhanced Comprehension. ...
  • Development of Communication Abilities. ...
  • Promoting Social-Emotional Development.
Jun 24, 2023

What is the objective of sensory learning? ›

Sensory play can be used to meet learning objectives in a multitude of categories. Activities like picking up objects with tongs, pouring, and scooping encourage physical development of fine motor skills and measuring concepts.

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