101 Sensory Bin Fillers

Sensory bins are lots of fun for kids, but thinking of new sensory bin fillers can be difficult. This post will share 101 different fillers for sensory bins so you will always have something new and interesting to use in your sensory bins!

Sensory Bins

Sensory bins are absolutely wonderful for children. They allow kids to expose their senses (in particular the sense of touch). They also allow for open-ended play, which is one of the best ways for kids to learn and explore their surroundings.

There are a few sensory bin standards. Rice, sand and water are pretty generic sensory bin fillers.

Although sensory bins are lots of fun, using the same fillers over and over again eventually becomes a little more boring for your kids.

Adding a different kind of filler can renew a child’s interest in a sensory bin and allows for a brand new exploration of materials.

 

 

Raibow oobleck
Rainbow Oobleck (click for recipe)

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Sensory Bin Extras

We’ll get to the big list of sensory bin fillers in a minute, but for a sensory bin that really captivates your child, you’ll need to also add in tools for your child to use.

What kind of tools should you use? It depends on what you have. When we started using sensory bins, I would use whatever was available in my kitchen. Lots of measuring cups and spoons, ladles, strainers and funnels. It left my kitchen drawers pretty empty though!

If you’re wanting to buy some dedicated tools for sensory play, I’ll list some of my favorites below. You’ll want to switch up the tools, just like you do with the fillers

The Big List of Sensory Bin Fillers

So here are over 100 ideas for sensory bin fillers! I hope this gives you some ideas to give new life to your sensory bins!

Edible Sensory Bin Fillers

 

Edible sensory bin fillers are a great way to use up old, stale, or spoiled food. They have unique textures and some even have smells for children to experience.

Most edible sensory fillers are also taste-safe, making them excellent options for babies and young toddlers. Do be cautious about choking hazards for little ones! For more ideas on taste-safe sensory bins, click here.

Many edible sensory bin fillers can be saved and used over an over again. Another option to reduce food waste is to clean out your pantry and used expired ingredients as sensory bin fillers.

Taste Safe Sensory Bins: Rice Bin

  • Rice
  • Beans
  • Chia Seeds
  • Oatmeal
  • Dried Pasta
  • Cooked Pasta
  • Seeds
  • Cornstarch
  • Flour
  • Water
  • Ice
  • Tapioca Pods
  • Chickpeas
  • Jello
  • Milk
  • Cranberries
  • Popcorn (unpopped)
  • Sprinkles
  • Lentils
  • Yogurt
  • Quinoa
  • Pudding
  • Whipped Cream
  • Carrot Peelings
  • Pumpkin Guts
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Spices
  • Frozen Veggies
  • Potato Flakes
  • Garden Herbs (parsley is a good one)
  • Powdered Milk
  • Dried Fruit
  • Baking Soda (add vinegar)
  • Graham Crackers (chopped in food processor)
  • Cereal
  • Chia Seeds (soaked in water)

Gooey Sensory Bin Fillers

These ideas really take sensory play to the next level! Let your child get their hands dirty experiencing these ooey-gooey textures!

Nature Sensory Bin Fillers

Nature sensory bin fillers are great because they can be collected from outside and are generally waste-free. Most can also be returned to the outdoors once you are done using them, so they are not filling up land-fills

  • Leaves
  • Mud
  • Birdseed
  • Rocks
  • Sand
  • Dried Corn
  • Straw
  • Sticks
  • Grass
  • Flowers
  • Acorns
  • Pine Cones
  • Pine Needles
  • Potpourri
  • Sea Shells

Craft Sensory Bin Fillers

If you’re like me, you have tons of leftover craft supplies from projects you’ve never gotten around to finishing. Creating sensory bins out of craft supplies is a great way to get some extra use out of items you might otherwise throw out.

  • Pom poms
  • Yarn
  • Fake Flowers
  • Fake Jewels
  • Buttons
  • Pipe Cleaners (cut up)
  • Feathers
  • Tissue Paper
  • Pearler Beads
  • Ribbons
  • Felt Scraps
  • Q-Tips
  • Tinsel
  • Raffia
  • Fabric Scraps
  • Styrofoam Balls
  • Sequins

 

Recyclable Sensory Bin Fillers

Re-using materials that would otherwise be tossed into the garbage is another great, earth-friendly way to fill your sensory bin.

Even More Sensory Bin Fillers

  • Fake Snow
  • Coins
  • Water Beads***toxic if ingested, do not use if babies or toddlers are in the house.***
  • Crystals
  • Kinetic Sand
  • Marbles
  • Beads
  • Lego
  • Mini-erasers
  • Aquarium Gravel
  • Small Foam Blocks

I hope this post gives you some great ideas on how to fill your sensory bin! If you’re looking for more sensory bin ideas, check out my post on 20 no-prep sensory bins for toddlers and preschoolers. Good luck!

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Author: Cindy

Cindy is an kindergarten teacher and former district Literacy Lead who feels passionately about play-based learning. Cindy has a Master's Degree in Education, with a focus on Curriculum Studies. She is the mom of two sweet girls and a big old doggy. In between playtimes, she enjoys chai tea and a good book.

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